Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders

An exhibition from Fast-uk and folly.

4 new commissions and 18 existing works

Examples of works that blur the conventional boundaries of art and design practice using digital technologies.

The ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ (PBB) activities included an exhibition comprised of four new commissions and eighteen existing works, a public symposium, and a free one-day workshop.

In 2006, we partnered with Fast-uk and folly to present the exhibition, ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders, ‘ which explored the possibilities afforded to artists, architects, designers, and others for the creation of new types of objects, buildings, and products stemming from the increasing use of and integration between digital technologies for design and fabrication. The growth in ownership of relatively powerful, cheap personal computers had transformed how we communicate, carry out work, and entertain ourselves. However, the discourse surrounding these developments had primarily focused on the benefits this has brought for productivity and had only very recently touched upon the possibilities for how practitioners work. Architects, artists, craft-makers, designers, engineers, and others were now using a common digital toolset that could be used for multiple purposes and were radically changing how objects were conceived, produced, and consumed.


We curated a public exhibition at CityLab, Lancaster exploring art and design practice using computer-based design and fabrication tools.

For the exhibition, four new works were invited commissions. These were ‘Holy Ghost’ by FutureFactories (Lionel T. Dean), ‘What’s Cooking Grandma?’ by Human Beans (Mickael Charbonnel and Chris Vanstone), ‘Watermark’ by NIO Architecten, and ‘Wifi Camera Obscura’ by Adam Somlai-Fischer, Bengt Sjölén, and Usman Haque. The other works in the CityLab exhibition were selected from an open call. Five additional objects from the .MGX  line of computer-manufactured designs for lighting and decorative objects were loaned by Materialise, a company that offers rapid manufacturing services to the industrial, medical and dental sectors. These were displayed in the window of Arteria, a store offering unique crafted pieces around the corner from CityLab. Several of the participants from the exhibition were also invited to present at the symposium.


Many of the works we commissioned or presented for the first time were subsequently shown or acquired by prestigious venues. For example, ‘What’s Cooking Grandma?’ by Human Beans was included in MoMA’s Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition. John was subsequently hired to plan the ‘inter_multi_trans_actions Symposium’ for Napier University on Thursday, 26 June, 2008. This event brought together several leading practitioners from the fields of art, architecture, and design, who each share a common desire to exploit the latest computing technologies in their creative practice. The invited speakers revealed their work that blurs the traditional boundaries of the creative disciplines. Participants included Moritz Waldemeyer, HeHe (Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen), Usman Haque, the POOCH, TROIKA (Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki, and Sebastien Noel), Greyworld (Andrew Shoben), Jason Bruges Studio, The Owl Project, and Lucy Bullivant. This event was documented in the book Digital Blur: Stories from the Edge of Creative Design Practice, Rodgers and Smyth (eds.) Libri Publishing. ISBN: 978-1907471018.

See also: MARSHALL, J.J. 2008. An exploration of hybrid art and design practice using computer-based design and fabrication tools. Robert Gordon University, Ph.D. thesis.




Date: 2006
Location: CityLab, Lancaster, UK
Client: Fast-uk (Fine Art Science & Technology in the UK)

Design: 2004-2006 (Exhibition)
Completed: 2008 (Publication)
Exhibition: 29 September – 21 October, 2006

Arts Council England, Manchester Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD), Lancaster City Council

Fast-uk (Fine Art Science & Technology in the UK), folly

Cézanne Charles (rootoftwo)
John Marshall (rootoftwo)
Keith Brown (Fast-uk)


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