Rough Cut Nation

I feel very honored to be involved in Rough Cut Nation, a brilliant show that’s happening right now at the Nation Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

In a nutshell, the Rough Cut Nation project is a bunch of Scottish artists who took over the Portrait Gallery, which is closing for renovation at the end of the summer. They covered the walls with their work, which looks absolutely brilliant. I got involved by making an interactive temporary paint installation!

Check out the video I made, featuring music by the one and only Handface.

Together with Kristina Johansen, we also made a glove using conductive thread and embedded LEDs to make the interaction a bit more natural:

I originally got in touch with Richie Cumming, the organizer of the show, to help him set up a sensor system for switching on some UV lights. The idea was that they would light up every so often to reveal hidden textures on the walls that were painted with UV-responsive paint. Long story short, we ended up not going with that plan, and instead I built something that was a lot more interactive and loads of fun to play with…I got some UV LED’s from Patrick Hickey at Nipht Technologies and turned put them into jars and boxes with little buttons. When brought near the walls they made the phosphorus paint glow in lovely magical way.

The jars and boxes felt a lot like futuristic spraypaint cans…I started thinking that maybe the different types of containers I put them in each represented what spraypaint cans will become in various divergent futures. Hmmm.

In any case, the UV LED things fit really well with the whole show, because it gave people the opportunity to paint the walls themselves in a fun and temporary way. It went down a storm at the opening on Friday!

Rough Cut Nation will be open to the public until August 30th, and it’s free! It’s also your last chance to visit the Portrait Gallery for a couple years, so get in while you can. There’s also a nice little café they’ve set up just for the show. You can find out more on the Rough Cut Nation Page of the National Galleries of Scotland website, and on the National Galleries Blog!

Comment (1)


Really, really cool! next is to get more colors to glow! + Handface still sounds pretty darn good.


15 years ago

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