Experimental digital artists AT Coastal Currents Festival 2019

‘Watching’ by Judith Ricketts

‘Watching’ by Judith Ricketts


MSL Discover, our Hastings-based not-for-profit digital R&D agency, has commissioned new exploratory work by three local and regional artists, Judith Ricketts, Kevin Grist and Rosanna Lowe. The work, funded by the National Lottery via Arts Council England, was featured first on 7 September during the Coastal Currents Festival via the town WiFi and is still principally accessible to audiences via mobile phones or tablets. The artists met interested members of the public at Rock House, Cambridge Road on the day and then went out into the America Ground to experience the works in situ.

Building and sending live, the digital artists’ commissions will be reported on at a one-day event called ‘Is this for everyone?’ to be held on 23 September at St Mary in the Castle, also part of the MSL Discover and Arts Council England funded activity. The event will welcome discussion and debate from national experts on community broadband and local contributors, too. 

The artists commissions are also funded by Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex Arts Partnership, with additional sponsorship from the RSA.

The digital artists

Beneath Water – by Kevin Grist 

In 2119, a curator rediscovers the America Ground and finds it under the sea. Uninhabited and forgotten, how will its story be rewritten? Inspired by the 'choose your own adventure' novels of the 1980s, Beneath Water will pilot a text and audio experience for mobiles, set in the America Ground. Audiences will engage in alternative story paths, unlocking soundscapes that give thought-provoking glimpses of the future.

Kevin is Co-founder and Director of SparkedEcho CIC. He is an experienced community musician and arts producer, focusing on music technology as a tool for live performance and composition. He previously worked at Arts Council England, Musical Futures and AudioActive, and on projects with Glyndebourne Opera, BBC Radio 1 and Ideas Test. Kevin has a degree in Music Production, a PGCE and is an Arts Award Advisor. He is a trustee for Sound Sense, the UK body for community musicians. 

Tweet @SparkedEcho| Insta @sparkedecho| Web sparkedecho.org

air time – by Judith Ricketts

air time uses encoded visual markers as sensors in the geo-tagged location of the America Ground to tell an unfolding story from data. Firstly, the markers are designed to reveal immediate parts of the story in up to 60 seconds of Augmented Reality media triggered by audiences. Secondly, the placement of the markers at intersecting points in the space leads us through map coordinates to other places in the urban space where, concealed in the bungaroosh, are other unremembered stories, untold.

Judith is an exhibiting artist, researcher and visiting lecturer in creative coding. She uses the city’s immaterial patterns and inter-dependencies to tell stories from data that are related to surveillance, migration and the bio-metric aesthetics of the body. Past projects were created using combinations of facial detection, motion detection, QR codes, photography, sound, and moving image. 


Ordinary Extraordinary – by Rosanna Lowe

This sound project for mobile phones will introduce unusual people and curious tales from the streets around us. "Everywhere 'ordinary' people are being or doing something a little 'extraordinary’. This is a celebration of tiny tales of local wonder folk," said Rosanna.

Rosanna is an award-winning writer and theatre-maker. Her travel writing has won awards with The Times, The Observer and the Royal Geographical Society. She is a co-writer of Brighton: The Graphic Novel and was on the writing team for three series of BAFTA award-winning Horrible Histories. Her ecological radio plays have won an IRDP prize and the Radio 4 Young Sci-Fi Writer’s Award. She has written and directed shows for theatres including West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northampton Royal and Polka Theatre. 


Artists photos by Rikard Österlund, Judith Ricketts and Alex Brattel.