boredomresearch is a collaboration between British artists Vicky Isley and Paul Smith, internationally renowned for exploring an understanding of the natural world through the medium of computational technologies. Becoming intimately aware of the vulnerability of complex systems, including those which support human life on earth, they present a daring new vision for technological innovation, centered on reuniting the presently splintered domains of art, science and society. Their work considers our strategies for coping in a world increasingly destabilised by human activity. Collaborating with world leading scientists the artists are challenging a broader concern over a tendency towards increasingly complex solutions to answer the dilemma of environmental crisis.
Since 2018, boredomresearch have been collaborating with the Arizona Cancer Evolution Center at the Biodesign Institute USA to explore shared perspectives between biomedical and ecological health. This collaborative process resulted in the artwork In Search of Chemozoa, expressing an in silico model organism, that exploits a chemotherapeutic effect from toxic algae. The artwork responds to mythical creatures documented in scientific literature to reveal tensions and interconnections between human and planetary health. Combining computer animation, filmed environments and scientific speculation, boredomresearch weave a poetic narrative that introduces new ideas emerging from cancer research.
boredomresearch art and science collaborative project AfterGlow commissioned by Animate Projects (2016) and funded by the Wellcome Trust won the moving image Lumen Prize award which celebrates the very best art created with technology. Collaborating with Dr Paddy Brock, a mathematical modeler at the Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, boredomresearch explored the bounds of current epidemiological practice considering the spatial qualities of disease transmission in this project.
In 2015, boredomresearch collaborated with Dr Vlad Vyazovskiy, a neuroscientist from the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford to create a powerful visual expression of his world leading research into the mechanics of sleep. This visual expression of the dream of a laboratory mouse entitled Dreams of Mice: Ron, 19 October 2014 at 2:48am is driven by data collected from subdermal implants revealing the intriguing beauty of slumber.
The art of boredomresearch opens channels for meaningful dialogue and engagement between public and scientific domains. For example, their work Real Snail Mail (the world’s first webmail service to use real snails) challenging our cultural obsession with speed, received worldwide attention, including: BBC, TIME Magazine, New Scientist and Discovery Channel Canada.
The artworks of boredomresearch are in collections around the world including the British Council, Southampton City Art Gallery and Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul. Recent international exhibitions/events include: Restless Balance, ASU Art Museum, Arizona 2020-21; Seeing Systems, ArtScience Museum, Singapore 2018; Artience, British Council exhibition at Daejeon Artist House, South Korea 2017; FEAT (Future Emerging Art & Technology) Exhibition, BOZAR Brussels 2017; ISEA, International Symposium on Electronic Art, Manizales 2017 & Vancouver 2015; Balance Unbalance, Manizales 2016; Bio-Art Exhibition, Gwacheon National Science Museum, Seoul 2015; TRANSITIO MX_06 Electronic Arts & Video Festival, Mexico City 2015; Soft Control: Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious, Slovenia 2012 and Gateways, House of Electronic Arts, Basel 2012.
Isley and Smith were Research Lecturers at the National Centre for Computer Animation, Bournemouth University (2005-20). In 2015 they initiated BLAST (Boredomresearch Lab of Art, Science & Technology) which celebrates, reinforces and nurtures world leading arts, science and technological interactions.
solo exhibitions 2005-21
In Search of Chemozoa, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth (2021);
Restless Balance, ASU Art Museum, Arizona (2020-21);
Paisley Pearls, Paisley Museum, Glasglow (2016-17);
Fragments, DAM Gallery, Berlin (2013);
By This Time Next Year, Georges House Gallery, Folkestone (2011);
Brilliant Cloud, DAM Gallery, Cologne (2011);
Brilliant Cloud, Millais Off-site Project Space, Southampton (2010);
Chasing Stillness, DAM Gallery, Berlin (2009);
Tumbling Dream Chambers, DAM Gallery, Berlin (2007);
Theatre of Restless Automata, Peterborough Digital Arts (March 2006); New Greenham Arts, Newbury (2005); HTTP, Islington, London (2005) and Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth (2005).
selected group exhibitions 2016-20
Mar Menor Reset, Center del Carme Cultura Contemporània, València (2020-21);
Gallery 80, Southampton City Art Gallery 80th Year Exhibition, Southampton (2019);
Event 2, Royal College of Art, London (2019);
Shenzhen New Media Arts Festival, Cultural Complex of Pingshan New District, Shenzhen (2019);
Digital Intersections, Cartavetrata Exhibition, Church of San Martino di Lupari, Italy (2018);
Nature as Data, Jing’an Sculpture Park Art Center, Shanghai (2018);
Seeing Systems ArtScience Museum, Singapore (2018);
CAS50: Fifty Years of The Computer Art Society Lightbox Gallery, Leicester (2018);
The Women of Wray Castle: Convention and Control Wray Castle, Cumbria (2018);
Both Sides Now 4 – UK Tour Phoenix, Leicester (29 March 2018); Fabrica, Brighton (27 March 2018); SOAS, University of London (9 March 2018) and HOME, Manchester (2 December 2017);
SUBMERGED SciArt Center Online Exhibition (9 Nov 2017 – ongoing);
Artience Daejeon 17 Silent Signal, British Council Exhibition, Daejeon Artist House, Daejeon, South Korea (15-24 September 2017);
Balance Unbalance Plymouth UK (21 – 23 August 2017);
Our Friends Electric QUAD Gallery Derby (1 July – 10 Sept 2017);
Future Emerging Art & Technology (FEAT) Exhibition, LifeSpace Dundee and BOZAR, Brussels (14-30 Sept 2017);
ISEA 2017 Manizales, Colombia (2017);
3rd Culture Film Festival, Loft22 in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong (2017);
Lumen Prize Exhibition, tour in 2017 includes: Winter Lights Festival, Canary Wharf London; FQ Projects Shanghai and Creative Tech Week, NYC (2017); tour in 2016 includes: Berlin Electronic Visualisation of the Arts Conference, State Museum of Berlin (2016); Caerphilly Castle, Wales (2016) and Lumen Winners Gala, Hackney House, London (2016).
Data Aesthetics Exhibition, Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam in conjunction with ACM Multimedia conference and Waag Society (2016);
Festival of Endless Gratitude, Copenhagen (2016);
Alt-w Exhibition, Edinburgh Art Festival (2016);
Science of the Unseen, SIGGRAPH 2016 Online Exhibition – Anaheim, California (2016);
Glasgow Science Festival, Scotland (2016);
Digitra Exhibition, Treviso ricerca arte, Treviso Italy (2016);
VIS Vienna Independent Shorts Festival, Austria (2016);
Balance Unbalance Exhibition, Colombia (2016);
Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Germany (2016);
Silent Signal Animate Projects Exhibition supported by the Wellcome Trust touring to QUAD, Derby; Vivid Projects, Birmingham; Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton; Wellcome Collection, London; LifeSpace, Dundee and Phoenix, Leicester in the UK (2016).
Moving Image NY, Waterfront New York Tunnel, New York (2016);
International Image Festival, Cultural and Convention Center Theater, Manizales Colombia (2016).
Transitio_MX, Festival of Electronic & Video Art, National Arts Centre, Mexico City (2015);
ISEA International Symposium of Electronic Art, Vancouver Canada (2015);
BIOART Exhibition, Gwacheon National Science Museum, Seoul Korea (2015);
ACM Creativity and Cognition Exhibition, the Glasgow School of Art (2015);
Transmission Symposium, Bournemouth University (2015);
A EYE: An exhibition of art and nature inspired computation, AISB (The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour) 50th Convention, Goldsmith University London (2014);
Automatic Art, GV Art Gallery, London (2014);
Intuition and Ingenuity: An Art Exhibition in Celebration of the Life of Alan Turing, Bletchley Park (2013).
Soft Control:Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious, Kiblix, Maribor, Solvenia (2012);
Gateways, House of Electronic Arts, Basel Switzerland (2012);
Intuition and Ingenuity: An Art Exhibition in Celebration of the Life of Alan Turing, touring in 2012 to Phoenix Square, Leicester; Robert Gordon University Library Gallery, Aberdeen; AISB/IACAP World Congress 2012, Birmingham; V&A Digital Design Weekend, London; Lovebytes Festival, Sheffield; Lighthouse, Brighton and Kinetica Art Fair, London.
Uncontainable:Broken Stillness, ISEA, Istanbul (2011);
Gateways, KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn Estonia (2011);
Current, Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston (2011);
Broken Stillness, Salisbury Art Centre, Salisbury (2011);
Electrohype Biennial 2010, Ystad Art Museum, Ystad Sweden (2010-11);
Urban Topos/Edge City, Today Art Museum, Beijing (2010);
File Prix Luz, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2010);
NETinSPACE, MAXXI, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome (2010);
El Proceso como Paradigma, Laboral, Gijon (2010);
On the Edge of the World, John Hope Gateway Gallery, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh (2010);
E-volve, DAM Gallery, Cologne (2010).
British Science Festival, Guildhall, Guildford (2009);
Pattern Recognition, The City Gallery, Leceister (2009);
STRP Festival, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2009);
SALON Exhibition, The Study Gallery, Poole UK (2008);
SIGGRAPH08, Slow Art Gallery Exhibition, Los Angeles USA (2008);
Art.ficial Emotion 4.0: Emergence!, Instituto Itau Cultural, Sao Paulo Brazil (2008);
CAe2008, Computational Aesthetics Exhibition, Lisbon Portugal (2008);
Holy Fire:The Art of the Digital Age, iMAL Center for Digital Cultures and Technology, Brussels, Belgium (2008);
Digital Media Intervention, Headquarters former Valencia University, Spain (2008);
Follyplay, Event Burnley Youth Theatre, Lancaster (2008);
NETworking, Haifa Museum of Art, Israel (2008);
Velocity, Digital Art Festival, Folly Lancaster (2007);
Digiville, Lighthouse, Brighton (2007);
CAe2007, Computational Aesthetics Conference & Exhibition Banff Centre of Arts, Alberta Canada (2007);
Digital Aesthetics 2, Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston (2007);
Enter Festival, Unknown Territories Cambridge (2007);
Web Biennial 2007, Web Based International Contemporary Art Exhibition (2007).
Natural Habitats, Netherlands Media Art Institute, Montevideo Amsterdam (2006);
TAGGED , Space Media Arts, London (2006);
SIGGRAPH06, Intersections Art Gallery Exhibition, Boston USA (2006);
Unnatural Selection, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, open exhibition (2006);
ACE 2006, Leonardo exhibition, Hollywood LA (2006);
SIGGRAPH05, Los Angeles International New Media Festival (2005);
New Forest Pavilion, Artsway Group Exhibition, Venice (2005);
Hands Free Series, Dorchester Arts Centre (2005);
Dots & Lines, BBC Online Sound Exhibition (2005);
Transmediale.05, international media arts festival, Berlin, Germany (2005);
FILE04 , International digital festival, Brazil (2004).
Data:Base , New Media Event, Dublin (2003);
Theory of Catastrophe, SCAN launch, Southampton (2003);
Aquanox, All Change, Islington, London Canal project (2003);
WinterWonderland, Lighthouse, Poole (2002);
Electrohype Biennial 2002, Malmo, Sweden (2002);
Power to the People, Contemporary Art Forum, Kitchener Exhibition, Canada (2002);
Garage, Festival for art, Music and Film, Stralsund, Germany (2002);
SoundToys, Convergence exhibition, New Media Centre, ICA, London www.soundtoys.net (2002);
SoftForm, Propeller Gallery, Toronto, Canada, www.hiveprojects.com/softform (2002);
Matter & Memory, Montreal, Canada www.mobilegaze.com/m+m (2002);
Possible not Probable, G39, Cardiff (2002);
minus20, Gasworks Gallery, London (2002).