SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

September 2011

Urban Picnic on the Screen

Sermon, P & Gould, C 2011, 'Urban Picnic on the Screen', exhibited at: University of Nottingham for Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts 2011, Ningbo, China, from 04/09/2011 to 07/09/2011.


This installation was originally exhibited between the Bluecoat Liverpool and Shanghai University as part of the Liverpool Biennial on 23rd October 2010. Our proposal is to present a new version of Urban Picnic on the Screen for DRHA 2011 between the Ningbo China and Salford UK.

The original proposal for the Liverpool Biennial follows:


Following the success of ‘Picnic on the Screen’ presented at the Glastonbury Festival 2009 ( Charlotte Gould and Paul Sermon have been invited to develop a new version of this interactive public video installation for Picnic in Arcadia ( used to link public audiences between the Bluecoat Gallery Liverpool and the Museum of Folk Art Shanghai, for the first time via a telematic videoconference connection.

Utilising the latest blue screen and HD videoconferencing technology the installation will bring public participants together within a shared telepresent urban picnic scene. Merging live camera views of remote audiences together and placing them within a computer illustrated environment, together with computer animated elements that are triggered and controlled by the audience through a unique motion tracking interface integrated within the installation. When a member of the audience discovers their image on screen they immediately enter the telepresent space, watching a live image of them selves sitting at a picnic scene next to another person. They soon start to explore the space and understand they are now in complete physical control of a telepresent body that can interact with another person in an illustrated enchanted ludic scene, complete with animated characters that respond to the their movement and actions.

This artistic proposal, for Picnic in Arcadia has been developed by Manchester based artists Charlotte Gould and Paul Sermon, and brings together twenty years of experience in interactive media arts practice. Paul Sermon is a leading pioneer of telematic art and performance, bringing remote participants together in shared and immersive telepresent environments. His numerous awards include the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica “Golden Nica” for interactive art (for Think about the People now, 1991) and the Los Angeles Interactive Media Festival “Sparkey” Award (for Telematic Dreaming, 1994). He has been an Artist in Residence at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, a Guest Professor in Performance and Environment at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria, and is currently leading research in immersive and expanded telematic environments at the University of Salford, UK. Charlotte Gould has developed a series of projects icluding Urban Intersections, at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast for ISEA 2009, Picnic on the Screen for the BBC Village Screen at the Glastonbury Festival 2009, Ludic Second life Narrative for the BBC Big Screen in Liverpool for the MOVES09 Festival and Ludic Narrative, an installation using Bluetooth technology and mobile phones shown at the Futuresonic Ftival in May 2008 - on which she delivered a paper at ISEA 2008 Singapore.

Further collaborators on this project include Alastair Swenson who is developing the motion tracking and Flash programming in this installation and have also worked on the Ludic Projects above. This project will represent a fusing together of previous projects and will allow for the further development of the artists practice.


Publication Details

Exhibited Name
University of Nottingham for Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts 2011

Ningbo, China

From 04/09/2011 to 07/09/2011.