SODA (1997 - 2002 - 2008)
Co-Founded by Neal White, Lucy Kimbell, Fiddian Warman 1997.
We met on the MA in Digital Arts at Middlesex University in 1996.Our original aim was to:
"steer the development and funding of our own areas of practice. Although this practice covers a broad range of individual interests, the group is held together by common views on technology and art."
After a year, we were joined by Julian Saunderson and a year after that, Ed Burton, both formerly our lecturers at Middlesex.
Soda created many artworks, some of which are selected here between 1997-2000. In this period Soda actively funded and supported the work of its members, whilst also showing internationally in galleries and alternative spaces. We also worked on commercial projects.
In 2000, the group came to widespread noteriety, winning numerous awards (BAFTA etc), for Sodaplay. Sodaplay was created by our soon to be R&D Director, Ed Burton to entertain himself whilst he was learning Java. Sodaplay was picked up virally two years after its creation when we redesigned the Soda website. It expanded rapidly. The approach to user driven content, community, design and interactivity have featured highly in its success, and can even be considered as a precursor to the web 2.0 concept of user driven content ( we tred to explain this to many clients - they didnt see the point!). Sodaplay has been included in many exhibitions and publications since (see below for some of these).
Apart from being an addictive and brilliant experimental project, sodaplay steered much new activity at Soda, increasing our scope for more commercial developments in play and learning, and new markets such as mobile. Alongside this, the develoment of software architecture enabled Soda to rapidly develop digital screen based artworks for commercial projects and commissions.
In order to deal with all this increased activity, we expanded the group by bringing in additional trans -disciplinary artist/programmers and designers, to bring the group up to nine members by 2001.
In October 2002, I resigned from Soda and my position as Creative Director. My interests took me on another path of enquiry, away from the increasingly commercial structure.
Summary of Sodaplay related arts activities and exhibitions during my last year. 2001 - 2002
Art Bit, Institute of Contemporary Culture, Tokyo
DigiFest, Toronto, Canada
Austin Museum of Digital Arts, Texas, USA.
MOCA, FCMM Festival, Montreal, Canada.
Great Expectations - New York and touring USA.
Sonar Music Festival, Barcelona, Spain.
BAFTA Award - Sodaplay for Interactive Arts.
Interview with the brilliant Ed Burton, creator of Sodaplay, in Cabinet Magazine with friend Margaret Wertheim of the The Institute for Figuring