MediaWall – Bath Spa University

MediaWall was born as a place to experiment, create, and challenge the boundaries between art, space, and technology.

MediaWall can trace its origins back to California. 

Inspired by the large-scale media and interactive experiences created by Moment Factory for the Los Angeles Tom Brady International Airport, Bath Spa's Academic Developer and designer, Neil Glen, saw an opportunity to create a space for staff and students to collaborate, experiment and develop large-scale digital media works.

Julian Opie's 'Lily' – in conjunction with his exhibition 'Collected Works' at the Holburne Museum – caused a "fluttering of the eyelashes" at the official opening of Commons in June 2014.

Lord Puttnam CBE remarked:

“Having walked around the Commons, the facilities are absolutely stunning. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to be 18 years old again and going to university. This is the sort of facility that any university anywhere in the world would envy.”

Over five years MediaWall hosted more than 50 projects from international artists and researchers, and created spaces for students and staff to learn through creation; blurring the boundaries between bodies and space, between movement and dimensionality. 

Victor Explains the Mysteries saw Bath Spa Dance, Music, and Photography students team up with the award-winning dance company Earthfall for a residency exploring technology and dance, culminating in a promenade performance to over 120 guests. World-renowned land artist Richard Long opened a week-long interdisciplinary creative education research project 'Lines of Desire' in which Art, Geography, Creative Media and Film students responded to the multi-layered experience of place.

Enabling such collaborative learning experiences to sit alongside work from international artists, including Bruce Munro's first truly digital piece, Between Worlds II, and Larry Cuba's unique reworking of Two Space (1979) – a formative work in the field of computer-generated arts – is in the DNA of MediaWall. The fact that these artists were inspired to create unique installations for MediaWall underscores how special it is.

MediaWall is for everyone

Creating a community of activity around large-scale, public-facing, digitally-mediated work, MediaWall's curated programme of artworks, research outcomes and socially mediated interventions sit alongside learning and teaching activities within three key themes:

  • creativity, design and exploration
  • teaching and learning
  • curation, exhibition and display.

Our technology

Screens

MediaWall consists of thirty HD display panels arranged in a 3x10 grid extending over two storeys of the atrium in Commons building.

The overall size is 7.35m high x 3.75m wide. Static images can be presented in incredible 10800 pixel high detail, and moving image work is specially authored at 3600 pixels high by 1920 pixels wide.

Technical information

MediaWall artworks are hosted on a Windows PC and created using any medium artists feel comfortable with. Artworks ranged from static images and video works to custom coded works using MaxMSP, Pure Data, HTML 5, Unity, Processing, Python and OpenFrameworks.

Want to know more?

You can read more about the history behind MediaWall in our SPACE Magazine feature.

A curatorial committee with oversight of the programme of works collaborated with the events team to create engagement both within the wider University and with external audiences, with appropriate circulation and support via social media.

The flexible architecture allowed a range of formats or programming environments to encourage wider cross-disciplinary support for the work, in alignment with the University vision and strategy.

Running the programme several months in advance enabled testing, artistic and technical developments, and communications to ensure projects were reliable. The unique format often inspired the development of unique work, responding to the format of MediaWall and the 24/7 nature of the open atrium space in Commons.

Below is a summary of these works, representing the breadth of creativity from our staff and students to our global community of partners and alumni. You can also take a look at the Project Archive.

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