This project was a 2016/17 collaboration between Poetical Machines, Andrea Hadley-Johnson at Derby Museums and Karl Bock of Limelight Events Ltd.

The exhibition featured a fascinating variety of drawings, from Henry Moore to David Shrigley, Maggi Hambling and Frank Auerbach. Also featured were commissioned works by Stephen Carley, Tim Shore, Susan Kester, Liz Atkin, Steve Chapman and Nick Parker in the gallery and adjacent spaces.

The co-produced exhibition of drawings began with a sequence of creative acts by 100s of participants, building on the notion of drawing as a tool to improve wellbeing.

The Telephone was sat on a plinth next to drawing materials and visitors were encouraged to pick up the receiver and press a button. Random music tracks created by Poetical machines were then played through the earpiece as though the visitor was on hold and then they would begin to draw doodles. Pressing other buttons would trigger randomised pre-recorded comments from an imagined “inner critic”, some positive, others less so. The playback technology utilised Arduino technology and was engineered and programmed by Karl Bock. The telephone was a charismatic and playful provocation and a lot of fun to co-produce.

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