Art That Makes Itself
Brown & Son

A Symposium: Saturday 16 May

Watermans Gallery. 40 High Street, Brentford, West London, TW8 0DS

Book tickets / More information

Exhibition runs Tuesday 31 March - Sunday 31 May: Watermans gallery website

Frieder Nake, computer art pioneer; Margaret Boden, Professor of Cognitive Science Sussex University; Jim Boulton, digital archaeologist; artists Paul and Daniel Brown; Maria Chatzichristodoulou, lecturer in Performance & New Media at Hull University; Douglas Dodds, Senior Curator at Victoria & Albert Museum; Nick Lambert, CAS chair and Lecturer in digital art and culture; Nico Macdonald, writer on design and innovation; artist and computer art pioneer Ernest Edmonds; Irini Papadimitriou Head of New Media at Watermans Arts Centre. This event is organised in association with the Computer Arts Society.

Symposium Programme Schedule

14:00 Introduction - Nick Lambert, Chair of Computer Arts Society

14:05 Keynote Presentation - Frieder Nake

14:50 Questions chaired by Nick Lambert

15:00 Presentations - Paul Brown & Daniel Brown

15:40 Questions

15.50 Coffee/tea break

16:20 Panel 1 - Where to now the digital revolution? Jim Boulton, Maria X, Nico Macdonald, Alex May

17:30 Questions

17.40 Panel 2 - A three way conversation about Art That Makes Itself and the challenges of creating, conserving, and finding a place in art history with Maggie Boden, Douglas Dodds, Ernest Edmonds

18:40 Questions

18:50 Book preview

Daniel Brown is co-founder of Brown & Son, a designer, programmer and artist, specializing in the fields of Creative Digital Technology and Interactive Design and Art. With a background in programming and interactive, generative and user experience design, he is acknowledged as a new media pioneer with works archived in SF Moma and the Victoria and Albert Museum London and included in the internationally touring Digital Revolution exhibition. He became London Design Museum's Designer of the Year in 2004 and was selected by Creative Review as one of the Stars of the New Millennium. He is an honorary member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Daniel designed the Brown & Son: Purveyors of Digital Images since 1968 publication.
Paul Brown is co-founder of Brown & Son and has an international exhibition record dating to the late 1960s that includes the creation of both permanent and temporary public artworks. He has participated in shows at major international venues like the TATE, Victoria & Albert and ICA in the UK, the Adelaide Festival, ARCO in Spain, the Substation in Singapore and the Venice Biennale and his work is represented in public, corporate and private collections in Australia, Asia, Europe, Russia and the USA as well as in the Victoria and Albert Museum. His work Builder/Eater is part of the internationally touring Digital Revolution show and he is also in Primary Codes, a group show in Rio de Janeiro from June 2015. Since 2005 he has been an honorary visiting professor of art and technology in the Dept. of Informatics, School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex.
Maria Chatzichristodoulou (aka Maria X) is a performance and new media practitioner. She has been a lecturer at University of Hull since 2009 and formerly taught at Birkbeck, Goldsmiths and Queen Mary, University of London (2005-9). She has also worked as community participation officer at The Albany (2003-5), and co-founded/directed the international art and technology festival Medi@terra in Athens, Greece (1997-2002). She is co-editor of the volumes Interfaces of Performance (Ashgate, 2009) and Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance (Palgrace Macmillan, 2012). She is working on the edited collection Live Art in the UK (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2016) and a monograph on Live Art in Network Cultures.
Douglas Dodds is Senior Curator in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Word & Image Department, which holds the V&A’s digital art collections. Douglas was Co-Investigator in the Computer Art and Technocultures project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2008 to 2010. He has curated various V&A exhibitions, including The Book and Beyond (1995), Digital Pioneers (2009-10) and Barbara Nessim: An Artful Life (2013). An expanded version of the Nessim show opened at the Bard Graduate Center, New York, in 2014. Douglas is also responsible for a project to digitise the V&A’s prints, drawings, paintings and photograph collections.
Bronaċ Ferran is a curator, editor and writer. Recent catalogue essays include texts on the early work of artists Liliane Lijn and Gustav Metzger and Mind Over Media in Time & Motion: Rethinking Working Life (Liverpool University Press 2013). In 2015 she curated Graphic Constellations: Visual Poetry & the Properties of Space at the Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge and a token of concrete affection, an archival show, drawn from the collections of Stephen Bann, recently shown at the Centre of Latin American Studies in Cambridge and at the Brazilian Embassy in London from June 2015. She co-curated Art That Makes Itself exhibition.
Irini Papadimitriou is Head of New Media Arts Development at Watermans, where she curates the exhibition programme. She is also Digital Programmes Manager at the V&A, responsible for programmes such as the Digital Design Weekend: an annual event exploring intersections of art, design and technology with an interest in contemporary issues and is one of the organisers for London's Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire. She is part of the Bodies of Planned Obsolescence, an AHRC funded international research project engaging with the political, sociological and ecological issues of electronic waste. She co-curated the Art That Makes Itself exhibition for Brown & Son.
Margaret A. Boden OBE ScD FBA is Research Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, where she helped develop the world's first academic programme in AI and cognitive science. She holds degrees in medical sciences, philosophy, and psychology (as well as a Cambridge ScD and three honorary doctorates), and integrates these disciplines with AI in her research, which has been translated into twenty languages. She is a past vice-president of the British Academy and past Chair of Council of the Royal Institution, and an elected Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (and of its British and European equivalents). Her recent books include The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms; Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science; and Creativity and Art: Three Roads to Surprise. She has two children and four grandchildren, and lives in Brighton.
Alex May is an artist exploring a wide range of digital technologies, most notably video projection onto physical objects (building on the technique known as video mapping or projection mapping by using his own bespoke software), also interactive installations, generative works, full-size humanoid robots, performance, and video art. He has performed art at Tate Modern and Watermans, and exhibited internationally including at the V&A, The Eden Project, Science Museum, Bletchley Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas, Venezuela, the Science Gallery in Dublin, the Rockefeller Arts Center at State University of New York, and the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris.
Nico Macdonald has been writing about creativity and digital media since the early 90s, for publications including Blueprint, Eye magazine, Creative Review, Design Week, New Media Creative, Create Online, PRINT, I.D. (US), AIGA Gain, AIGA Loop, AIGA Journal; he is author of ‘What is Web Design’ (RotoVision), and a contributor to 'New Media Art: Practice and Context 1994-2004’ (Arts Council of England/Cornerhouse) and a 'Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties’ Rick Poynor (ed.) (Laurence King Publishing). He co-programmed the first UK conference about design and the Web, in 1996, in partnership with Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, and the debate and 'show and tell’ Experience Design series, which ran from 2000-2005 and showcased much digital creativity. He is @Nico_Macdonald. More on his writing at

" While differences are clearly visible between the art of Paul and Daniel Brown, each approach centres on the same quest, a unique type of shared artistic vision in which an autonomous and self-making art is made real. "

Grant D. Taylor