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Urban Projections is the work and collaborations of Multimedia Experimentalist, Rebecca Smith. From lo-tech pieces of string and cardboard to the latest audio-visual applications and hardware; She specialises in combining hands-on creative activities with cutting edge multimedia application, to deliver stunning mixed media experiences.
Rebecca’s work seeks to discover new, and original, ways of presenting digital media for audience interaction, pushing the boundaries of creative possibility and pioneering new approaches to mixed media application. Above all, her work always remains accessible to its audience, regardless of the intricacy of its design.
Rebecca’s work has been viewed in prestigious venues throughout the UK and Europe, such as The Saatchi Gallery, Royal Festival Hall, Nottingham Contemporary and The Roundhouse. However, her work is equally at home on the streets and in unusual outdoor locations. With a heavy influence of street art culture, and love of abandoned sites and objects, she uses forgotten spaces as a canvas for much her work. From 8-storey tower block, to pedestrian underpass or forest location, Rebecca has realised an array of mobile projection systems which further her performance possibilities and allow for truly site specific application.
With over fifteen years experience as a professional audio-visual performer, Rebecca has lead high quality, cross-boundary projects, workshops, and seminars at both educational institutions and within the community. Sharing her enthusiasm and passion for arts and technology she actively encourages new and creative ways of exchanging new media practice.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
"Urban Projections is run by myself (Rebecca Smith). My background is actually in audio production. I began work when I was a teenager, in recording studios as an occasional sound engineer (tea runner), and gradually progressed into electronic music production and turntablism. I always had a strong passion for contemporary arts, and would tinker with all forms of graphic design when I was young. I toured for a while as a turntablist (scratch DJ) in early 2000, and had a few residencies in clubs such as 'The Bomb' in Nottingham".
"There seemed a natural progression with the way that technology was moving to start to incorporate audio and visual forms together".
"As time moved on, and I matured a bit, the edges of art forms seemed to melt away and merge into one…. video, animation, 3d design, projection, sound, live performance….. whatever. If you have the fundamental skills and an eye, then they are all just tools for expression. My actual education (if that matters at all) is in Audio Engineering which I have a BSc Hons, though to be honest, audio production is probably the least used skill in my day to day work. I collaborate with all different artists and work with them on a project-to-project basis, dependent on what type of skill set is needed for the piece, and the direction that we are interested in moving in. I love to work with others and share skills and ideas. It keeps me moving, and motivated".
WHERE DOES INSPIRATION COME FROM?
"Theres something in the juxtapositon of the heavily digital with the obviously natural or humanistic, which runs through all of my work. Sometimes that manifests in the idea or concept of a piece, in the technology or way its presented, or the aesthetic and use of colour, shape and form.
But quite often, inspiration comes from the really mundane things, or from the want to make someone smile. Friends and other artists that I meet, and then collaborate with, also play a big part in my creative process. I’ll see someones work, and then get a spark of inspiration for how it might collaborate into a new piece. The natural world drives the majority of my concepts. I like to question and exlpore our relationship with it and the bigger picture of how that impacts our future. Despite the name 'Urban Projections' my studio and practice is based rurally on the Welbeck Estate, at the heart of the British Countryside. I also work in many mediums (not just projection). So in that respect, I think I have developed beyond the name I chose many years ago! However, I still like the juxtaposition of it!
"Working heavily with computers can be a very isolating process. So, for me, collaboration keeps me fresh and my skin slightly less transparent!"
"I also get massive inspiration from the streets themselves. Sometimes I see an interesting space and just want to create something especially to fit in it. I love to be able to surprise people and make them break from the ordinary, just for a second, and experience something different. That’s why we built the light cycle, so that we could hop out onto the street and take our art into unexpected places. I love to collaborate, try new things, geek out at technology, make people smile, learn from others... and geology, I like geology".
WHAT'S THE PROCESS?
"Usually a piece will take several weeks to come to fruition. I tend to bounce inspiration, drawings, pictures, colour palettes etc to whoever I’m working with. We create scaled-down versions of the piece to check that something is going to work, and practice projecting. It’s important to test things out, as they can look very different projected, to how they look on screen. This usually forms the proof-of concept for what ever process or output we are developing".
"Quite often we throw a lot of material and ideas away. I think that’s a really valuable process, and I’ve learned not to be too precious with things that we make or think up. Half of the creative process is throwing stuff out and sifting the important elements that should stay. I've also learnt to only work on projects that really inspire me. The kind that make you want to hop out of bed in a morning".