[spectre] Turing Centenary 2012: Invitation to New Media Artists

Paul Brown paul at paul-brown.com
Thu Jun 16 00:34:32 CEST 2011

Turing Centenary 2012: Invitation to New Media Artists 


2012 is the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician, code- breaker and computer pioneer. This will be marked by an extensive series of events, which is being coordinated by the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee (see http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/turing2012/). As Turing worked at the University of Manchester for the last six years of his life, Manchester is one of the two main centres of this events programme – the other being London, where he was born. MOSI is represented on the TCAC's Manchester Subcommittee.

MOSI context

Turing came to Manchester to direct the University's planned Computing Machine Laboratory, which became home to the Ferranti Mark I computer, the world's first commercial computer, in 1951. The Ferranti Mark I was made at Moston in Manchester and MOSI holds the Ferranti Collection, which includes objects and archives relating to the Mark I. MOSI also has a working replica of the 'Baby' computer, the world's first stored-program computer and the inspiration for the Ferranti Mark I.	The Manchester computing story is told in two of MOSI's galleries, the Revolution Manchester Gallery and the Computing in Manchester display within the Electricity Gallery.

MOSI plans to celebrate the Turing centenary through its annual events programme in 2012. The two key events will be a Computing event during the summer half-term period (2-9 June) and the annual Manchester Science Festival during the October half-term period.


As Turing was a great innovator, MOSI is keen for its events to feature innovative creative works inspired by Turing and utilising the digital media made possible by the achievements of the early computer prioneers. However, MOSI is not proposing to achieve this through a direct commission. In our experience, public grants for creative works are more likely to be awarded directly to artists and other creative practitioners than to venues that commission and host such works. Therefore, our wish is to support potential exhibitors by providing a high-profile venue and assistance with grant applications.

Our track record for hosting innovative artworks goes back to 1993 and MOSI has continued to prove to be a fantastic setting for artworks where the contrast of historic building fabric adds a dimension distinct from the neutrality of the classic gallery 'white box'. New media artworks have been particularly successful in this respect. Now, in addition to this immersive character, MOSI can offer a unique platform for digital media – the 50-screen curving media wall in its Revolution Manchester Gallery (see http://www.mosi.org.uk/explore-mosi/explore-galleries/revolution- manchester-gallery.aspx) , which opened in January 2011.

What would qualify as a Turing inspiration? There are many angles of Turing's work that could spark the creative imagination – from his abstract concept of the computer (the Turing machine) to the computer programs that he developed to support research into morphogenesis (growth patterns in plants). The test that he devised to distinguish between artificial and human intelligence (the Turing test) could be another furitful source of inspiration.

Expressions of interest

MOSI invites written expressions of interest in this project to be submitted by 29 July 2011. The information requested is as follows:

•	Description of the nature of the proposed work, including how it links to Turing and the likely hardware requirements.

•	An indication of any technical or other support that MOSI would need to provide.

If you would like clarification of any aspect of this invitation or additional information, please free feel to get in touch.

The contact details are as follows:

Pauline Webb Collections Manager MOSI Liverpool Road Castlefield Manchester M3 4FP
Tel: 0161 606 0114 Email: p.webb at mosi.org.uk

Paul Brown - based in OZ February to August 2011
mailto:paul at paul-brown.com == http://www.paul-brown.com
OZ Landline +61 (0)7 3391 0094 == USA fax +1 309 216 9900
OZ Mobile +61 (0)419 72 74 85 == Skype paul-g-brown
Synapse Artist-in-Residence - Deakin University
Honorary Visiting Professor - Sussex University

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