Hacked! Games Re-designed

13 September – 21 December 2019 How are artists and innovators changing the way we play computer games? From the DIY movement of controller hacks, modz and instructables to artists ingenious creations and Xbox’s own Adaptive Controller, we invited audiences to experience some of the cutting-edge game-changing devices that offer radically different ways to interact beyond fingers and thumbs. On show at Hacked! were some of the latest innovations in adaptive design, from the mighty Microsoft corp’s accessible controller, to low-fi hacked alternatives and arcade machines and instruments re-invented by artists. This exhibition was co-curated by blogger and gamer Vivek Gohil and it captures a unique moment in time when games designed from alternative all ability perspectives could lead us towards an altogether more immersive future. Titles included Blackbox – an arty puzzle game, solvable without touching the screen – one-button game Bubbles the Cat, the falconry platformer Eagle Island, and exquisite visuals of Horizon Zero Dawn. The exhibition also showcased the innovative work of organisations such as OneSwitch, an online resource for controller modifications, gaming charity SpecialEffect, and digital instrument makers Human Instruments, who are all pushing boundaries in hardware design. Hacked! was also the world Premiere of “Mood Pinball” by BOM Fellows Ben Neal, Edie Jo Murray and Harmeet Chagger-Khan – a Virtual Pinball machine that allows players to explore noise data from a Neurodiverse perspective as they travel around a futuristic and alien Coventry.   Hacked! Games Re-designed was supported by Arts Council England and Culture Central’s Birmingham Weekender in Digbeth. Mood Pinball was commissioned by the Open Data Institute (ODI) in partnership with the University of Southampton DataStories project, supported by the EPSRC, grant number EP/PO25676/1.

Make Believe

7th June – 31st August 2019

Our Summer exhibition Make Believe was a playful, interactive space for all ages. Four international artists present colourful immersive experiences, that gave us a glimpse into the creative mind of a machine! The exhibition featured work by Gene Kogan, Violet Forest, Will Pappenheimer and Sofia Crespowho all use the latest technologies to create colourful experiences that delight and entertain.

Visitors could make 3D paintings in Virtual Reality, that hung in mid-air using Google’s Tilt Brush. Artificial Intelligence combined scenes from Alison in Wonderland with famous paintings in Gene Krogan’s “Why is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?“. Will Pappenheimer’s “Drawing Constellation” allowed visitors to add their own doodle to a giant constellation of drawings, and help create a virtual sculpture that floated in space using Augmented Reality. Violet Forest’s “Tones” was an interactive musical touchscreen display. Sofia Crespo’ s  “Neural Zoo” were a series of prints showing creatures visualised using artificial intelligence.

“Tones” by Violet Forest

Read a review in this great blog written by Ruth Millington.

This exhibition was accompanied by a week-long Summer Camp (19 – 23 August) for 7 – 13 year olds, designed and delivered with magician Stuart Nolan.

We Run This

10th January – 2nd March 2019

Co-curated with Afro Futures_UK, We Run This featured the work of non-binary people, women of colour, and artists working in the digital medium. The exhibition explores intersectionality through film, animation and code. Connecting experiences of estrangement and remixed identities from across the black diaspora, We Run This raises questions around the impact of digital media on how we gain resilience through questioning existing paradigms of race, gender identity and sexuality.

The exhibition included work by Irene Fubara Manuel, Georgia Lucas-Going, Emily Mulenga, Tabita Rezaire, Sun Stephenson as well as a You Run This section where visitors were invited to contribute to the exhibition through Zine making. We are also ran two, free, public events. A coding jam and unconference discussing digital expression. 

As part of this exhibition, we commissioned two new works by Georgia Lucas-Going and Emily Mulenga. 

“Existing and Thriving Takes Preparation” by Georgia Lucas-Going


This piece explores how technology and new media will cause our bodies to adapt in the year 4080. How we communicate will change, how we move, how we live and how we prosper.

Take a deep breath. 

Those eyes aren’t brown now, you’ve spent too much time in front of the screen and now your retinas don’t belong to you. 

But your body just about does. 

“Electric Lady Land” by Emily Mulenga

Electric Lady Land is a video installation comprising CGI footage captured from the chat software IMVU, found footage from YouTube, and ‘real-life’ footage captured by the artist. 

The dreamlike sequence offers twinkling city lights, beaches, mountains; and a pink rabbit in a zebra print dress dancing, sipping cocktails and playing with a beach ball. A track of jazz plays as a backdrop. 

Playing with ideas around representation, as well as intuition, pleasure, playfulness and nostalgia, the visuals shift seamlessly from scene to scene as the shimmering sea dissolves into the neon lights of a city, and the sunset becomes a tropical blue sky which melts through the colours of the rainbow to become nightfall.


United Visual Artists

04 October – 08 December 2018

BOM was delighted to present the world premiere of Beholder, a virtual reality experience by United Visual Artists (UVA) exploring beauty from autistic perspectives.

Commissioned by BOM, Beholder seeks to re-evaluate our perception of beauty, to see it through another’s eyes. The work centres around the wonder of everyday phenomena as seen through the eyes of an autistic child, Oliver, alongside wider autistic perspectives. Oliver is the son of Matt Clark, founder and director of UVA, who has worked with his team at UVA to create the artwork.

Beholder continues UVA’s investigations into experiences that transcend the physical, and question the relativity of experience. It inquires into our ability to process very detailed information at the expense of altering our perception of time and space, a phenomenon often intensified within the autistic spectrum.

“This artwork explores — and in many ways celebrates — the alternative ways in which neurodivergent individuals perceive the world we live in. Following a research-based process with my autistic son Oliver, UVA have created a Virtual Reality experience informed by the stimuli which seem to captivate the attention of an autistic mind.” – Matt Clark, UVA

Beholder studies the movement of a flock of tree sparrows, revealing their flying patterns and other layers of information, while our perception of time and space is highly transformed.

UVA benefitted from wider autistic input during the production of the work. Particularly, through conversations with artist Sonja Zelic who helped by translating her views into the VR experience. Sonja’s new audio work, A Dream of A Safe Space, was also available in the gallery. This work, inspired by Beholder is narrated by the dreamer of the title and is inter-cut with the point of view of a particular sea bird’s lived experience. This makes it unclear who is ‘speaking’ — the voice of the dreamer and bird merge. 

“A Dream of a Safe Space” – Sonja Zelic

Through Beholder, UVA seek to reimagine a space where experience is fluid and neurodiversity is re-evaluated. It offers individuals the opportunity to temporarily enter a new existence, where one can expand or limit their own world, and perhaps be further transformed.


The Kitty AI

Pinar Yoldas

04 October – 08 December 2018

The year is 2039. War (the P-Crisis EMEA war) has ravaged West Eurasia. The emotional impact on its citizen’s collective consciousness cannot be overstated. In the aftermath, an Artificial Intelligence with the affective capacities of a kitten becomes the first non-human governor. She rules over megalopolis. Leading a politician-free life with a network of other Artificial Intelligences, Kitty lives in the mobile devices of citizens and can love up to 3 million people.

This exhibition considers AI and humanity’s relationship to this emerging technology. With The Kitty AI, Pinar Yoldas challenges the end-of-the-world narratives that have driven debates and societal concerns surrounding the technology. Instead, she poses the question, ‘Would advances in AI technology necessarily bring about the domination and destruction of humans, or does it have the potential to enhance human lives, meshing seamlessly into human social, emotional and political life?’

Drawing heavily on iconography from the European Union, and featuring many of Europe’s leading political figures past and present (Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, David Cameron), The Kitty AI offers viewers a reminder of the affective ties that can bind people and nations. In the wake of unstable political & environmental landscapes that await future generations, Kitty’s “political” message – if it can be called this – is spread not through polished rhetoric – Kitty’s childlike tone and candid manner lack the traditional markers of authority – but through a seemingly genuine love for her citizens: a message transmitted through their digital devices. Directly addressing the viewer, Kitty claims that ‘Love means care. I care about you’.

Like much of Pinar’s past work, such as Ecosystems of Excess & Distilling the Sky, The Kitty AI explores the reckless and destructive nature of human beings. Kitty’s first-person account of the P-Crisis EMEA War and its aftermath is harrowing and all too familiar. The war is used to justify the emergence of AI governance, where, as Kitty argues, salvation lies not in the hands of humanity, but in non-human intervention.

Informed as it is by the cyberpunk genre, where technology is advanced and lifeforms are low, it is left entirely up to the viewer to decide whether Kitty does indeed represent a merely benevolent force.