New Ipswich Town Hall exhibition fuses art and technology

The first Pop My Mind exhibition at Ipswich Town Hall. Photos: Jamie Boswell

The first Pop My Mind exhibition at Ipswich Town Hall. Photos: Jamie Boswell - Credit: Archant

If you’d told maths graduate Oliver Squirrell he’d end up managing an arts project, he’d have called you insane. When chronic fatigue syndrome cut short his teaching career that’s exactly what happened.

The first Pop My Mind exhibition at Ipswich Town Hall. Photos: Jamie Boswell

The first Pop My Mind exhibition at Ipswich Town Hall. Photos: Jamie Boswell - Credit: Archant

“I was getting stronger but not well enough to go back to work, my dad said ‘why don’t you start an internet project because it’ll give you a focus, you can work from anywhere you want, you can go at your own pace, be your own boss...’

Wanting to create a platform that inspired people to make new content rather than hosting or monetizing existing work, Pop My Mind, at Ipswich Town Hall, 10am-4pm, to October 31, started as the grassroots music platform Soundshoots where Oliver would set a theme and people would post a demo in response. Soon, artists and poets wanted to get involved.

“It got to the point when I was starting to look for investors, together we pivoted the concept so instead of being just for music it’s for any form of expression. We’ve got paintings, illustrations... What’s really interesting is when you get one medium inspiring a completely different medium - like when a musician is inspired by a piece of artwork.

“That’s reflected in a lot of the pieces here at the exhibition which are interactive. You can see a piece of artwork, scan these codes with your smartphone so you can hear the sounds that inspired them. It’s truly multi-media.”

The first Pop My Mind exhibition at Ipswich Town Hall. Photos: Jamie Boswell

The first Pop My Mind exhibition at Ipswich Town Hall. Photos: Jamie Boswell - Credit: Archant


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One example is a piece by a sound engineer specialisting in sonification, the use of non-speech audio to convey information or perceptualize data.

“He’s scanned the artwork, which you then get a sound from. He’s used these sounds to create tracks so you can literally hear the painting. He’s done it as an animation, He’s put the audio waves back over the painting so you can see where each piece of the sound has come from,” says Oliver.

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There are around 30 pieces on display including paintings, illustrations, sculptures and photographs with more than 100 others at www.popmymind.com.

Oliver believes the company, based at UCS’ Atrium Studios, says he’s seeing the online world returing to the tangible one - especially with artwork.

“You can always get the gist when you look at in on your computer digitally, but there’s always something a bit lost as well; things like texture, colour. We’ve proven the concept, you’ve only got to look at the range and quality of the work here. There’s potential, we need to take it from a prototype to something that’ll get in the public’s imagination.”

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