Digitalis Arts and Libraries Project

The original Digitalis Project was about new and exciting ways to promote literature and reading through digital development and was funded by Arts Council England’s “Libraries Fund”. The 2017 phase of Digitalis offers digital adventures between March and September 2017.

Digitalis: Digital Adventures 2017

Digitalis Logo Banner

This new Digitalis project offers exciting digital adventures from March 2017 to September 2017.

Join us in the city designed in 1967 for the future. Fifty years on, we look forward…

Get curious in your city, exploring through electrifying experiments, hands-on workshops and illuminating talks. Discover how we see the city, the world, understand our place in the universe, and how we can shape our future now.

This season of digital adventures will reimagine the city through exciting arts experiences of all kinds. Expect electrifying experiments, intriguing exhibitions, hands-on workshops, creative talks and activities for all. Experience the Central Library and city through new eyes, exploring this Future City with Digitalis artists. Make, see, do, discover and more!

The schedule of activities and events can be found along with full information on this project by visiting the Digitalis website.

The Original Digitalis Arts and Libraries Project

Digitalis Part of the Art in Red

Project Timescale : Summer 2014 - December 2015

Library Word Banner
Library Word Banner

The Knitted eBook has arrived!

Digitalis Knitted eBook

The final piece of the Digitalis puzzle has been well worth the wait. You can now download a copy of the Digitalis Knitted eBook by Sam Meech and Milton Keynes Libraries' Knitters!

The Knitted eBook has also been published in print format as a paperback and each of the Milton Keynes Libraries has a copy for you to see.

You can also purchase your own copy of the paperback eBook soon by visiting Amazon (search for Milton Keynes Libraries or Sam Meech in the Books section).

The Digitalis Showcase

We hope you enjoyed the Digitalis Showcase Event on 8 October 2015 at Central Library.

We had a fantastic time and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who joined us and made the evening a success. We would also like to thank Pestiferous for disrupting the lending library so completely (twice) and all the artists who came along and shared their enthusiasm and talents.

You can view a slideshow of the official photographs from the Showcase evening on our You Tube channel.

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The Pestiferous Librarians

Pestiferous Librarians Banner

For the Showcase event, those Pestiferous Librarians wrote us a poem. You can download and print the poem (PDF, 1.9MB) or just enjoy it here!

DIGITALIS POEM by Pestiferous

Here at MK library it’s time for Digitalis,
An event which mixes technology with exciting UK artists

A drawing extravaganza with a robot made by stanza,
Sam Meech is getting knitty here in the heart of MK city,
Crash, wallop, pow, bam, try Jade Sarson’s comic jam,
A robot made from things of old, Paul Granjon’s here, so get involved!

What is it that you’d like to see, printed out in real 3D?
Christ on the cross or candy floss, print them both with Helen Goss,
Dom Williams is a mystery man, what is a makey makey, tell us if you can.
Folding paper, shaping sound, Naomi Kashiwagi’s around.

Sculpture, workshops, technology and more, there’s lots Digitalis has in store,
Oh and if you want a library tour, we’ll be back at half past four.

That’s it from us we’ll get out of your hair and hand you over to the MK mayor.

8 October 2015

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The Reader

The Reader by Stanza for Digitalis

Standing at the heart of Milton Keynes Central Library, The Reader is a large six foot sculpture of the artist Stanza wearing a hoodie and reading a book. The artwork is a metaphor for the engagement of reading in the digital age.

The sculpture has taken over one year to design and construct and acts as a focal point for the identity of the library and for community and public engagement. The sculpture is based on a 3D scan of the artist’s body and is made from transparent Perspex with 100 mini text displays and custom made electronic systems. It reads texts from all the books published since 1952.

The Reader by Stanza for Digitalis

The data body acts to represent a future view of ourselves, when embedded technologies will become part of our everyday lives. The Reader becomes a pulsing algorithmic heartbeat fed by custom made digital software and hardware generating live events inside the sculpture.

The artwork explores new ways of thinking about life, the emergence and interaction within public space and how this affects the socialization of space. It uses open data and new technologies to question audiences’ experiences of real-time events and creates visualizations of life as it unfolds.

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Mind Map

Digitalis Mind Map

Mind Map is an online visualisation of data - a piece of net art - and can be found on Stanza's website as an interactive system.  

The artwork represents the paths travelled by all the books taken out of Milton Keynes Libraries over the last five years. It appears as a 3D space, a hybrid map of the movements of books to their destinations. The books travel down roads and paths to roundabouts and people’s houses. The books are shown travelling to the destination postcodes.

This massive data visualisation covers 160,000 books and moves organically, orbiting around the library at the centre of activity. It’s a hub of knowledge spreading through the town, creating a new world.

This is a piece of net art, a poetic interpretation made using custom made computer code to create a software system that can been seen online through the Chrome browser. This software has been written in Three.js.

Visit the Mind Map

(Please note that this system has specific graphics requirements to run and older computer equipment may have difficulties.)

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Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation Robot on Canvas

Internationally renowned digital artist, Stanza, has created a unique installation in Milton Keynes Central Library. “Lost in Translation” is a custom made robot which responds to your voice and makes drawings unique to each reader. The artwork questions not only the meaning and interpretation of text but also who controls our understanding and, indeed, what is lost in translation.

This is a very playful, user friendly work and actively engages the audience. Readers are invited to step up to the lectern and  read to the robot, which then interprets the text and voice, creating a drawing of the results on canvas.

This artwork is currently back with Stanza, the creator, pending new exhibitions.

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Worlds of Knowledge


Worlds of Knowledge TV Screens
Copyright Stanza

The Worlds of Knowledge artwork began as a group of people faced with a library filled with books: a world of knowledge. Group discussions against the theme of Privacy : Security : Identity then led to books and texts being chosen; each book emitting its own personal resonance. Those words were transformed into a digital representation as a morphing, moving archive of our own personal Worlds of Knowledge.

You can see more about the artwork on the Worlds of Knowledge page of Stanza's website.

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The Measure of Us

Measure of Us Digitalis

The Measure of Us is a large sculptural tower made of digital computer components which measures the environment and local activity in the library. The internal computer system triggers in real time as events change in the library such as pollution levels - CO2 & NO2.  As they are monitored and changes are recorded a visual interpretation is reflected on the surface of the sculpture through the coloured lights.

The sculpture acts as a countdown system, a babel tower, measuring data at the heart of issues around climate change and environmental monitoring. The sculpture is in effect taking the “Measure of Us”.

This responsive piece stands six foot tall and engages audiences to think about events being played out in the spaces we occupy and how our actions can have an impact on these spaces. 

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Digitalis is on Facebook

Scan the code to be taken to our Facebook page.  "Like" the page to receive the latest information and events.

Black QR Code for Digitalis Facebook Page

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The Chosen Ones!

Milton Keynes Libraries welcomed the first digital artists in Summer 2014.

Stanza and Jade Sarson have been talking to staff and customers at Milton Keynes Libraries and drawing inspiration to create digital works of art.

STANZA Digitalis Datadatadata
Copyright Stanza

Stanza and Burning Bridges

Working alongside digital producer Burning Bridges, the internationally recognised artist Stanza has been gathering ideas for artworks on the exterior and the interior of the Central Library based on data generated by you.

STANZA Digitalis reading man
Copyright Stanza

Stanza is an internationally recognised artist, who has been exhibiting worldwide since 1984. His artworks have been exhibited with over fifty exhibitions globally and won twenty international art prizes and art awards including:- Vidalife 6.0 First Prize. SeNef Grand Prix. Videobrasil First Prize. Stanzas art has also been rewarded with a prestigious Nesta Dreamtime Award, an Arts Humanities Creative Fellowship and a Clarks bursary award.

STANZA Digitalis Sensity
Copyright Stanza

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Recurring themes throughout Stanza’s career include the urban landscape, surveillance culture, privacy and alienation in the city. Work has centered on the idea of the city as a display system and various projects have been made using live data, the use of live data in architectural space, and how it can be made into meaningful representations.

Stanza is an expert in arts technology, CCTV, online networks, touch screens, environmental sensors, and interactive artworks. His mediums include; generative artworks, paintings, installations, software systems and public artworks.

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Jade Sarson

Jade Sarson Cafe Suada artwork

Jade Sarson is an illustrator, writer and comic artist who specialises in digital techniques to create and publish her work. Jade graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2011 with a First Class Honours Degree in Illustration. She describes her style as “a fusion of British roots with Japanese influences” combining digital and traditional techniques.

Jade's work has been featured in Kerrang!, Neo Magazine, Electric Bloom Webzine, Non Repro and in anthologies such as Ink+Paper, Leek and Sushi, Nami and Parallel Lives.

Reluctant Reeda Comic

In 2013 Jade was nominated for Best Emerging Talent in the British Comic Awards, and in 2014 she won the Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel competition. She is now working on her graphic novel For the Love of God, Marie! alongside the Digitalis project and her weekly webcomic Cafe Suada.

Reluctant Reeda Comic: Jade has delivered comic making workshops and she has published a comic for Milton Keynes called Reluctant Reeda (PDF, 2.9MB).

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Sam Meech

Sam Meech is an artist and videosmith who explores ways of combining knitting, computers and digital systems.

Sam Meech Digitalis Knitting Workshop
Knitting Workshop with Sam Meech

Sam presented a series of workshops based around knitting and digital systems. Visit Sam's website to learn more about his work.

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Irini Papadimitriou

Irini is a Digital Programmes Manager at the V&A and Head of New Media Arts Development at Watermans. Her responsibilities include the promotion, presentation and development of innovative digital/media arts and design processes.

Irini participated in the Digitalis project to speak about women and technology: being empowered by new technology and engaging in diverse art practice relating to privacy, identity and data. This added to the Worlds of Language installation.

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Helen Goss

Helen is a communicator, teacher and maker and joined the Digitalis project to empower us all with The Maker Revolution. Through workshops, Helen had a strong focus on using and learning practical skills before applying them creatively. The workshops experimented with inventing 'things' and using 3D printing to bring them to life.

Helen's company, Wayoutmedia, combines the knowledge of 3D printing with pushing the boundaries of modern technology to release the inner maker, innovator and communicator in all of us.

Paul Granjon

Paul's talents include the building of robots  and machines for shows, performances,  art galleries and festivals. For Digitalis, Paul worked towards The Learning Machine artwork installation. In workshops entitled "Is Technology Eating My Brain?" Paul used obsolete technology and worked his magic on old electronics, computers and e-waste.

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Naomi Kashiwagi

Naomi is a poet and award-winning artist who produces works on paper, installations, performances and sound works that draw upon a fusion of English and Japanese cultures.

Naomi contrubuted to The Worlds of Language artwork and ran workshops entitled "Big Bangin' Origami" - exploring sound and acoustics in the library and creating unique and noisy collages using origami techniques.

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Arts Council National Lottery Logo

Lucy Bedford
Arts Development Officer
Milton Keynes Council


Last Updated: 24 April 2019