Soda (originally Society of Digital Artists) has been producing ground-breaking, unusual and thought-provoking art since the beginning, both for clients and for ourselves.
Soda’s work has featured in many gallery shows over the years, including Sonn’et Se’quence’ for the Spacex Gallery in 1997, Corrupted Nature for the Lux Gallery in 1998, Journey at the Hayward Gallery in 2003 and Ed vs Zach at the ICA in 2005.
Site specific artworks include 4Luv, a commission for the Trossachs National Park, designed by Fiddian and Siobhan Hapaska.
Performance artworks include Fiddian’s infamous Neurotic shows at the ICA, where he and his punk band put on a show for some po-going robots.
Soda were commissioned by a major UK charity to provide 6 sculptural LED totems to entertain and inform visitors to the Olympic Park throughout the Olympics and Paralympics.
In Fiddian’s performance Neurotic, giant pogo-ing robots attend 3 punk gigs. Neurotic questions how learning develops through the empathetic responses of the brain. The robots’ own neural networks are modelled on so-called ‘mirror neurons’ in the brain which stimulate mimicry. Each robot is exposed to punk records that Fiddian collected as a youth. The intention is that the robots develop their neural connectivity through ‘listening’.
Soda worked with the Tate and British Council to produce Nahnou Together, which enabled young people in Damascus and London to exchange visual artworks that had cultural significance for them.
Ed v Zach was a collaboration between Ed Burton and Zach Leiberman, created for the Generative X exhibition of computational aesthetics curated by Daniel Brown as part of onedotzero at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2005.
Soda’s commitment to working with children in learning and regeneration contexts is exemplified by ‘Energy’ - an Arts Council/Creative Partnerships funded 30-metre-tall external light installation at Stoke Newington School, London.
In collaboration with CassonMann and Technographic Displays Soda developed the The Energy Ring, a 40-metre-long LED screen wrapped to form a ring of dynamic white light suspended in the three storey atrium of the East Hall of London’s Science Museum.
Recentevents by Ed Burton dissolved three texts into a fluid suspension of letter tokens.
‘4luv’ was a site-specific artwork by Siobhán Hapaska and Fiddian for Loch Lommond and the Trossachs National Park. It synthesised the enormously popular SMS (Short Message Service) available on mobile phones, with the long held practice of carving love messages onto trees.
To celebrate the centenary of the National Art Collections Fund, Soda created “Journey”, a digital artwork premiering at ART2003 at the Hayward Gallery, London.
The sound of sodaconstructor reverberated around the 2001 Sonar festival in Barcelona, where crowds could both hear and touch a menagerie of sodaconstructions. Powerful speakers and a large touch sensitive plasma-screen enabled the audience to grab models from the sodazoo and physically throw them around the screen to a cacophony of dynamically generated sound.
As part of the Year of the Artist initiative, Pfizer invited us to work as artists in residence at their new European Headquarters in Kent.
Druid was a commissioned centrepiece for the gallery area in the Reading headquarters of Druid (now Xansa).
For the Lux Gallery’s second show in 1998, Fiddian and Julian created ‘Corrupted Nature’. Two robots enact de Sade’s ‘Dialogue between a priest and a dying man’, an argument about the possibilities of free will and the existence of a Creator. This mechatronic tableau ironically questions our views of technology and the artificial within the natural world.
Memo was a site-specific artwork created in 1997 for the Cubitt Street Gallery office, consisting of a simple artificial-life-like program running on Cubitt’s office computer.
This group show, curated by Carolina Grau, set out to make visible the processes that are implicit in making a piece of art. An exhibition of sketches in various media, including objects, drawings, photographs and computer programs, ‘Thoughts’ questioned the boundaries of making work and specifically the point at which the artist’s job is finished. Exploring concepts and process, the show investigated the interstitial spaces in the practice of gallery-showing artists, challenging the modernist concept of the autonomous art object.
Sonn’et-Se’quence’ used digital manipulation of the codified romance of sonnets to reference early French deconstructivist Raymond Queneau’s work, and Alan Turing’s quote “only a machine can understand a sonnet written by another machine”. The installation comprised five robotic towers with rotating ‘heads’ containing small computers. Sonnets were communicated between towers and recompiled. The resulting recombinations were displayed as text over a video image of the installation. Created by Fiddian and Julian for the Spacex Gallery, 1997.
The ‘dozer Mobots installation, is a reactive artwork, concerned with subjects of communication and control within societies. It consists of five computer controlled robot bulldozers (‘dozers), moving over, and hence transforming, sculpting a terrain of earth three meters square. Users are able to subtly, influence the installation by way of a mouse click on a two dimensional density map representation of the terrain, contained within a controlling computer.