Active Ingredient heading for 20 years old next year!!

August 8th, 2015


Rachel and Matt in Amsterdam (probably about 2005)

Rachel and Matt in Amsterdam (probably about 2005)

Aside from the horror of how old the team must be after running an arts collective for 20 years - Active Ingredient are preparing for our 20th birthday on January 6th 2016…

To do this we are looking back at the interactive work we have made, reviewing and tracking down the traces of artworks and interactive experiences that may or may not be art and were mostly ephemeral, and live, and so live on as crazy and beautiful photographs, bad quality and tiny yet exciting real media files, documents, sketches, glitchy flash files and stunning generative contributions from our audiences, visitors and participants (including an archive of 100s of drawings by anonymous web users from our AI World website in the early 2000s – many of which involve pictures you’d expect to see on toilet walls, much to our delight).

Through doing this we hope to recompile some of the key works we made and reflect on them from the perspective of a world where smart phones, GPS, video streaming and mobile gaming is now common place. We are very excited to revisit the work and see how some things have not moved on at all, yet others are very much embedded now in the world. We are also keen to reflect on if our dreams of magic, communication and moving beyond the screen have come true and consider why we made work in this way,, what we and others might learn and where to go next…

We will be blogging and reviewing as this happens over the next six months – whilst deciding how to celebrate our 20th birthday and what to do with the things we discover.

Keep Watching…


The Prediction Machine

August 8th, 2015

The Prediction Machine, the Promises Machine and information exhibited at Nottingham Contemporary

Since developing The Prediction Machine in Loughborough in 2014 the project has gone from strength to strength, touring to Nottingham Contemporary in March, Mayfest in May (obviously) and FACT, Liverpool in July.  To find out more about the project, the participatory activities and the research going alongside it visit the website:

Alongside this new touring artwork Rachel has been involved in a research project with the Mixed Reality Lab/Horizon Digital Research Institute where she is based part time looking at the concept of ‘performing data’ and contributing to the development of toolkit for artists sensing environmental and physiological data – for more information visit the research website:

Presenting an award winning paper at CHI

April 24th, 2013

Rachel will be presenting a paper about our project A Conversation Between Trees which has won a Best Paper Honorary Mention Award at the top level Human Computer Interaction conference CHI 2013.

The paper abstract is:

A study of an interactive artwork shows how artists engaged the public with scientific climate change data. The artwork visualised live environmental data collected from remote trees, alongside both historical and forecast global CO2 data. Visitors also took part in a mobile sensing experience in a nearby forest. Our study draws on the perspectives of the artists, visitors and a climate scientist to reveal how the work was designed and experienced. We show that the artists adopted a distinct approach that fostered an emotional engagement with data rather than an informative or persuasive one. We chart the performative strategies they used to achieve this including sensory engagement with data, a temporal structure that balanced liveness with slowness, and the juxtaposition of different treatments of the data to enable interpretation and dialogue.

She will BLOG about her week in Paris with computer scientists here.