Older people are often marginalised by technology. Younger people are not. Active Energy is a project developed by SPACE which uses imagination, digital technology, engineering and the spirit of invention to bridge rather than divide a group of older men and younger boys.

Read an article on Active Energy, Unique collaboration brings alternative energy to local community here

Students at Bow Boys Secondary School worked alongside a group of East London senior men, The Geezer Club, with support from an artist, engineer and ex-rocket scientist, to create designs for wind and water turbines. Small scale working prototypes were developed under expert guidance through a series of workshops. The most successful design was chosen to power a temporary public artwork aimed at drawing attention to potential applications of renewable energy sources. ‘Geezer Power’, a wind powered light installation, was exhibited on the roof of Age Concern in Tower Hamlets for three weeks and will tour Tower Hamlets, going next to Bow Boys Secondary School.

The Geezers are currently developing ideas they have for a water turbine that will drive another temporary lightwork, harnessing the tidal power of the Thames and using facilities at University of East London’s MAGICbox.

In addition to its technological and artistic outputs, the Active Energy project takes an intergenerational approach to addressing a number of key issues facing local communities in one of London’s poorest boroughs. Underachievement amongst boys has been addressed in two ways that would otherwise not be on offer through the school curriculum. Firstly, participating young people were mentored by senior men from their own community, who were keen for their voices to be heard on issues that mattered to them, using their lifetime experiences to feed back into society. At the same time master classes at the university with one of the country’s leading control engineers and an artist provided inspiration and fostered skills, creativity and innovation.

Renewable energy is often seen as the remit of statutory institutions or those wealthy enough to afford the significant cost of the equipment involved. However, there is growing interest in the technologies involved amongst ordinary people living in East London. In focusing public attention on these issues, Active Energy aims to address local authorities and housing developers to encourage greater incorporation of renewable energy into residential accommodation in this area.

Part of SPACE’s Learning and Participation programme, Active Energy has involved a multi-discipline collaboration between artist Loraine Leeson, Stephen Dodds, Professor of Control Engineering and Toby Borland, design engineer and manager of the MAGICbox prototype lab at the University of East London.

Geezer Power
Phase 1 – Wind powered temporary public light-work
April 2010 Appian Court, Parnell Road, Bow, London E3 2RS
May – June 2010 Bow Boys Secondary School, Paton Close, London E3 2QE

Phase 2 – Tidal powered temporary public light-work
River Thames

Active Energy is funded by:
Arts Council, England
Leaside Regeneration Ltd
The Woodland Trust.

With thanks for their kind support:
Gateway Housing Association
Age Concern Tower Hamlets
University of East London SMARTlab
Environmental Sustainability Team, London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Programme collaboration contents from SPACE here

SPACE

129 — 131 Mare Street
London E 8 3RH

SPACE supports over 600 artists in 17 studio buildings across London as well as providing dynamic environments where individuals and communities can engage in creative processes. SPACE provides ‘space to create’: supporting the creation of art through the provision of creative environments; ‘space to engage’: programmes that widen engagement in artistic practices; and ‘space to develop’: supporting the development of creative individuals and communities.

www.spacestudios.org.uk

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A group of men put years of their lifetime experiences to good use to mentor secondary school boys and help create energy saving devices for an older people’s centre.

Members of the Geezers Club worked with Bow Boys School, artist Loraine Leeson, engineerToby Borland (SMARTlab, MAGICbox) and former rocket scientist Professor Steven Dodds to explore alternative means of energy production.

Together they created designs for wind turbines and developed small scale working prototypes under expert guidance. And the most successful design was selected to produce a wind turbine, which was launched at Appian Court, a centre for older people in Bow.

The Active Energy project takes an inter-generational approach to tackling some of the key issues facing communities in the borough. It addressed under-achievement amongst boys by giving them mentoring, master classes, providing inspiration and fostering their skills, creativity and innovation.

Ray Gipson, 70, a member of the Geezers Club and a former governor of Bow Boys School, said the project also energised club members who were able to reminiscence about the activities they used to do.

“We suggested the production and use of a windmill as we thought they hadn’t been used to their full potential,” Ray said.

“Now, we want organisations to adopt some of our methods to help people save on their energy bills.”

Also involved in the project was the arts charity SPACE which helped bring the different people together.

Spokeswoman Fiona Feber said: “Renewable energy is often seen as the remit of statutory institutions or those wealthy enough to afford the significant cost of the equipment involved. However, there is growing interest in the technologies involved amongst ordinary people living in east London.”

The Geezers meet on Tuesdays from 1.30-3.30pm at Appian Court, run by Age Concern Tower Hamlets, in Parnell Road, Bow. Call 8981 7124 for further information.

By Jessica Odubayo (29 March 2010)

(Original article from News at eastendlife at Tower Hamlets Website)

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Active Energy is a new intergenerational project involving an artist and engineers from UEL, a gallery, a local school and a group of senior citizens. Taking an exciting and fresh approach to issues facing the local community, students from Bow Boys Secondary School and members of the Geezers Club, a social society for older gentlemen, have got together with UEL and SPACE Studios to take advantage of both the university’s expertise and facilities to address the increasingly high-profile issue of alternative energy.

In collaboration with artist and Director of cSPACE Loraine Leeson and using UEL’s MAGICbox prototyping laboratory and design engineer Toby Borland and Professor of Control Engineering, Stephen Dodds, the inspirational partnership of young and old has designed and built a wind turbine to power a temporary light installation which will be fitted to the roof of Age Concern at Appian Court in Bow. The turbine will be officially launched on Tuesday 23 March at 1pm.

Loraine Leeson said: “What is really exciting about this initiative is that it is able to tackle important environmental issues from a range of perspectives, with the potential to effect change on many different levels. It also demonstrates how the world-class talent and facilities at UEL are not the exclusive preserve of our students but can be used to bring positive change to our local community.”

For further information, press or media queries contact: The Press Office,
University of East London

SPACE

129 — 131 Mare Street
London E 8 3RH

SPACE supports over 600 artists in 17 studio buildings across London as well as providing dynamic environments where individuals and communities can engage in creative processes. SPACE provides ‘space to create’: supporting the creation of art through the provision of creative environments; ‘space to engage’: programmes that widen engagement in artistic practices; and ‘space to develop’: supporting the development of creative individuals and communities.

www.spacestudios.org.uk

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Toby Borland and the MAGICbox team have been busy yet again facilitating and enabling students from across UEL – especially the AVA students in product design, architecture and fashion – to create their graduate prototypes and final collections.

The MAGICbox, SMARTlab’s rapid prototyping research and development centre, is located in the MAGIC PLAYroom at UEL. It explores the capabilities of desktop manufacturing, with its directive specifying R&D around access to design tools, and equipment availability to a wider cross-section of communities.

MAGICbox is widely used by the UEL student community and the centre has been instrumental in facilitating the development of students work.

Take a look at some of the creations that have been facilitated by MAGICbox located in the MAGIC PLAYroom at UEL:

Catwalk shows can be viewed as follows:

Shireen Erfani-Shomaly – East London Fashion BA graduate 2009: www.catwalking.com/GRADUATES/GRAD_09/BA_shows/shows/East%20London/shows/03-Shireen%20Erfani-Shomaly/pages/ELON_09_BA_0199.html

Sam Hoy – East London Fashion BA graduate 2009: http://www.catwalking.com/GRADUATES/GRAD_09/BA_shows/shows/East%20London/shows/01-Sam%20Hoy/index.html

Lucy Bryan – East London Fashion BA graduate 2009: http://www.catwalking.com/GRADUATES/GRAD_09/BA_shows/shows/East%20London/shows/15-Lucy%20Bryan/index.html

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Weekly Event – Every Wednesday: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

This workshop explores the capabilities of desktop manufacturing to enable fabrication. Once a workshop participant is introduced to the capabilities of the machines this enables them to familiarise themselves with the tools on their own computer in their own time and return with preliminary or completed designs. Book here >>>

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Digital Art,
Wearable Technology
and Extra-Sensory Media

Where: MAGIC PLAYroom, SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, University of East London

Monday 16th February 2009, 3-8pm
This informal event brings together leading designers, scholars and artists to explore artist-created non-verbal communications, sensory, visualisation and performance based technologies that encourage creativity in new ways.

Dr Diana Domingues (Brazil), Sara Diamond (Canada), Elena Corchero (Scotland/Spain), Dr. Daria Dorosh (USA) and Camille Baker (Canada) will join Professor Lizbeth Goodman (SMARTlab/Futurelab) to present and discuss some of their highly progressive work. Keynotes will be followed by a wearable technology/fashion show & tell with some of the SMARTfashion team who will demonstrate some work in progress. This is very informal and should be great fun!

The evening session will be preceded by a BBC R&D sponsored MINDtouch workshop in the afternoon, open to all and led by Camille Baker. Bring along your mobile phone to take part in a relaxing and meditative global art project which will help generate imagery towards a larger, mobile networked, performative and collaborative and non-linear montage!
WORKSHOP 3 – 6pm:
BBC MINDtouch workshop with Camille Baker: Mind Media & Mobile Sensory Experience
Sponsored by BBC R&D, MINDtouch is led by Camille Baker and explores the concepts and sensations of ‘liveness’ and ‘presence’ in uncovering new applications for mobile technologies and wearable devices. The research involves the use of biosensor devices, interacting with mobile phones as the main computing technology, while studying performers and other participants with the device, in order to understand which interactions and bodily sensations are meaningful and when they occur. Read More (PDF)>>

(Bring your own mobile phone to take part in this relaxing and meditative experience)
RSVP: stany@smartlab.uk.com
EVENING SEMINAR 6-8pm:

Keynotes by Dr Diana Domingues (University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil) and Sara Diamond (Ontario College of Art and Design, Canada), followed by a wearable technology/fashion show & tell with Elena Corchero (of Distancelab, Scotland), Dr Daria Dorosh (Fashion Institute of Technology, New York) and the SMARTfashion team at UEL. Chaired by Professor Lizbeth Goodman.

Dr. Diana Domingues is an artist, professor, senior researcher and coordinator of the NTAV Laboratory New Technologies in Visual Arts – University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil. Diana is developing art/science collaborative practices, focusing on the biological and artificial systems potentials in order to create artistic projects. She explores interactive and immersive environments and complex living systems, caves, networked installations, augmented reality, multilocal and mobile connections.

Sara Diamond is President of the Ontario College of Art and Design and was the Founder and Artistic Director of Media and Visual Art the Banff New Media Institute. Sara has developed the CodeZebraOS conversation visualisation tool to serve as a bridge technology between online social interaction and live events, including the use of wearable technologies in performance, club experiences and fashion. She will discuss screen-based, wearable and multi-modal interaction projects inspired by CodeZebraOS as well as future research.

Keynotes will be followed by a wearable technology/fashion show & tell with established designer Elena Corchero, fashion design professor Daria Dorosh of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and current work in progress with the SMARTfashion team and MAGICbox.

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Toby Borland, MAGICbox Researcher/Manager has linked-up with ecoLogicStudio this autumn to support their project ecoMachines: “the making of artificial ecologies” for the 11th International Architecture Exhibition ‘Out There: Architecture Beyond Building’, running in Venice from September 14th to November 23rd.

About ecoMachines: “the making of artificial ecologies”:

“In an age of unprecedented interaction between the natural and the artificial realms we are confronted with the necessity to develop instruments of transformation equipped with an embedded capacity of constant adaptation and self evaluation. As nature is becoming more and more hybridized with embedded artificiality, the ethical paradigm of natural conservation is progressively losing its value and needs to be replaced with more adaptive mechanisms of management and direct evaluation of the effects of human transformation of natural ecosystems; we call this mechanism ecoMachines.

ecoMachines provide a material and operational framework to deal with change and transformation, the two main defining qualities of our new understanding of urban ecology; moreover they support interaction between heterogeneous systems, such as social, infrastructural, architectural and environmental ones; they allow us to sense, register and manipulate in our daily life the unfolding processes defining our cities, our houses and our artificial environments.

ecoMachines turns us all into ecologists in the most operational sense of the term.”

Project by ecoLogicStudio with support from MAGICbox.

For further information on MAGICbox visit:
http://www.smartlab.uk.com/2projects/magicbox.htm

For further information on ecoLogicStudio visit:

http://www.ecoLogicStudio.com
http://www.labiennale.org/it/
http://blog.tropicalondon.co.uk/blog

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Dozens of students from local London schools descended upon the MAGIClab in June for a one-day immersion into entrepreneurial product research, design and manufacture. Students spent the morning comparing board games already on the market and brainstorming innovative ideas to develop into new unique games over the course of the day.

Through a series of intensive workshops the students refined their ideas and developed a prototype design, logo, name and marketing strategy, balancing concepts with costs. The highlight of the day was a chance to build a prototype game using CAD/CAM technology in the MAGICbox workshop, lead by MAGICbox manager Toby Borland. The event culminated in a series of lively elevator pitches in which groups presented their new products, marketing strategies and budgets to potential buyers, with prizes up for grabs for the most convincing presentations. All participating students took home their very own MAGICbox game at the end of the day.

Many thanks to the students and staff at all the schools involved:

Bishop Challoner Boys School
Brittons School
Ellen Wilkinson School
Gaynes Language College
Gaynes Language College
Langdon School
Langley Park School for Girls
Morpeth School
Plashet School
Richard Challoner School
Sarah Bonnell School
St Angelas Ursuline School
Sydney Russell

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