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Orcon Digital Art Project: More Than Meets The Eye

Orcon’s Digital Art Project: More Than Meets The Eye

International artists assemble robots, computer-human collaborations and animations

Nine digital artists from across the globe are gathering west of Auckland next week to invent cutting-edge technology they will share online.

Thanks to Orcon, the digital artists, designers and developers from Colombia, Australia, New Zealand and the UK will congregate at Huia Lookout on the Manukau Harbour.

Each is focusing on a series of individual items, but all plan to use the occasion, dubbed Purple Spheres, to share ideas and inspire each other’s creativity.

Orcon is backing the event and the results will be posted online for people to watch, share and enjoy at

Curator Maya McNicoll, says she was inspired to compile a team of people working in creative digital industries who wanted time and space to work outside of their commercial projects.

“These people are all highly-creative, but normally work within commercially-focused briefs. I wanted to see what would happen when they were ‘let loose’.

“The location for the week, and fact we are all staying together, is expected to generate a creative hot-house. We’re sure the collective energy of all these talented people will produce some cool, crazy, new stuff.”

McNicoll shared her idea for the workshop with Orcon who agreed to sponsor the experiment, as well as provide the crucial technical support needed to make the week a success.

“Having Orcon as a partner means that not only can we fund this, but that we have an organisation that is as committed to the internet as we are. Orcon shares the same vision, and will provide the support and expertise that will help create some amazing pieces,” McNicoll says.

Already Purple Spheres is set to develop home-made robots - using a toothbrush and a mobile phone - an infra-red computer interface, a 2.5D fly-through animation that uses Huia’s natural beauty as a base, human and computer collaborative artworks and a flash/ motion detector mash-up.

Orcon’s Scott Bartlett says: “Purple Spheres is an exciting project for us. Here’s a group of artists and creative types paid to spend a week creating, with no commercial restrictions. We can share the results online with the web community – hopefully inspiring and entertaining others.

“There’s a real DIY spirit out there on the web. We are doing all we can to encourage this and will be supporting the Purple Spheres artists and then share the open source files.

“Digital art is still something new for a lot of people, but there is some amazing work out there that will appeal to tech-heads, art-lovers, computer games fans and more. Who doesn’t want to see a home-made robot race?”

The activity will be posted online at, with blogs, Flickr accounts and other social media also in the mix.

McNicoll says word about the site will spread organically, but this will be aided by the placement of 10,000 purple bouncy balls around Auckland, all stamped with the project’s URL.


Notes to Editors:
Brief bios of some attendees:

Raphael Hernando Barragan, Colombia

Raphael has developed a range of computer interfaces that respond graphically to human interaction. He invented the ‘wiring board’ and language which facilitates computer interaction with the real world.
Some of the projects people make with wiring can be seen at:
Other work:

Steven Santer, Australia
Steven has working in photography, flash animation, web design and 3D modelling. He has worked on dozens of commercial accounts, including major projects for Hoyts, Australian Radio Network, Heritage Office of NSW Subaru, Pioneer, AMP, Sunbeam and ING Investment Management.

His work is online at:

Maya McNicoll, New Zealand
Maya is one of the originators of Purple Spheres. She has been writing code since she got her first computer back in 1981. She studied digital art at UC Berkeley. Her work has been commissioned by large corporate clients and private collectors alike. She says she has a fascination with computers and doesn’t really like people much at all.

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