The Neural String Network: an interactive collaborative drawing ‘machine’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


An interactive collaborative drawing ‘machine’ designed on the concept of a neural network, allowing participants to experience a shared creative process, using the principles of open-source and social networked communication through an analogue string system. The underlying concept of the String Neural Network is to introduce participants to the idea of collaborative-shared drawing practice, as a dispersed collective that alludes to Roland Barthes ‘The Death of the Author’ (Barthes 1967) whereby each participant plays an equal role as both viewer and artist. Played out like a surrealist ‘Exquisite Corpse’ game of consequences or as a piece of Haiku poetry, the drawing participants contribute marks, signs and signifiers to an open-content drawing, akin to the development of open-source software. The string network consists of five drawing table ‘nodes’ within a room/ studio space measuring eight by eight metres square. Each node is linked to the other four via pulleys and washing lines, making it possible to peg a sheet of A4 paper to a line and winch it across to any one of the other nodes. The network system uses 10 string connections between the five drawing tables, creating a pentagram within a pentagon neural network design. Representing the interconnected synapses and neurons of the brain, the role of each participant is that of cause and effect. A single instruction initiates a series of consequences that unfold in drawings, marks and patterns that are created whilst being hoisted simultaneously across the room in quick succession. The Neural String Network project was first set up in March 2012 to coincide with ‘DecodeRecode’, a telematic art project undertaken by students at MediaCityUK Salford University, as part of the centenary celebration of Alan Turing. Each participating student was given a single word drawn from the Turing theme, such as machine, brain, code and apple that were interpreted and communicated as a drawing by a collective consciousness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Proceedings of the 2012 Drawing Research Network Conference
Place of PublicationLoughborough University
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2012
EventThe Proceedings of the 2012 Drawing Research Network Conference - Loughborough University, 10-11 September 2012
Duration: 11 Sept 2012 → …


ConferenceThe Proceedings of the 2012 Drawing Research Network Conference
Period11/09/12 → …

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