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By Sarah Crowther on

Meet the Life Online [open source] artists: Erin Newell and Phil Bird

Erin Newell and Phil Bird’s artwork 1 and another celebrates the web’s open source spirit of sharing and collaboration.

As the Life Online opening date of Friday 30 March 2012 fast approaches, the team working on the Life Online exhibition [open source] Is the internet you know under threat? is busy installing all the artworks. The team will then begin the installation of the gallery’s design features which have been created by Manchester-based Start JudgeGill.

Reflecting the exhibition’s theme of open source culture, which enables anyone to contribute to and improve on a concept, we decided to issue an open commission call to seek a brand new artwork for [open source]. We were pleased to receive a significant number of responses of a very high standard from across the UK—from first-time artists and students to some of the country’s most famous new media artists. The interviews took place in August, and the Life Online team were joined by editor-at-large of Wired UK Ben Hammersley and Director of FutureEverything Drew Hemment.

After much deliberation we were delighted to announce that the winning artists are Erin Newell and Phil Bird.

Newell and Bird

Erin Newell graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010. She was shortlisted for the 2011 Open Prize for video painting, and recently exhibited at Eastern Bloc Centre for New Media & Interdisciplinary Art in Montreal and Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle.

Phil is CEO of an internet software development company, Perfect Channel. He has worked on projects for numerous organisations including the BBC, V&A, Specsavers, London Underground, and the Guardian. This is their first collaboration on an artwork.

Erin Newell and Phil Bird’s artwork, 1 and another, celebrates the web’s open source spirit of sharing and collaboration. 1 and another enables visitors to build a physical representation of an idea created online. The online visitor creates a pixel-by-pixel image using a grid. The pixels correlate to physical blocks in the gallery where visitors work together to build a physical manifestation of the image, one block at a time, based on its virtual blue-print without the foresight of the overall end result.

[open source] is made up of a series of newly-commissioned artworks that relate to the themes of online open source culture and net neutrality. The artists featured in the [open source] exhibition are Thomson and Craighead, Ross Phillips and Erin Newell and Phil Bird, alongside Networked, a collective of artists formed as part of the Life Online youth engagement project. Next week we will introduce Ross Phillips and discuss the concept behind his artwork.

[open source] Is the internet you know under threat? will open on 30 March 2012.

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