Jackie Calderwood tells us more about innovation project “e-merge”

Jackie Calderwood tells us more about innovation project “e-merge”

Jackie Calderwood is the successful media artist behind ‘e-merge’  A film-making mediascape, one of the six inspiring innovation events happening at the Birds Eye View film festival this year. Jackie will also be showing her work and supporting Constance Fleuriot at the training session Pervasive Media Studio presents: Mediascapes for Beginners on the 8th March at 1pm.

Handheld i-paq

Handheld i-paq

e-merge is an interactive exploration of landscape through walking, music, artist’s moving image and mobile technology, and will be available to experience throughout most of the festival (for days and times please see the event page here). We asked Jackie to explain a little bit more about her project and what we might expect…

“I’m making a mediascape for the festival.. with media drawn from and linked to the landscape, and experienced by walking around. How does that work? Easy! Collect an i-paq (hand-held computer) from the ICA , plug in headphones, and listen to the instructions… you’ll be asked to choose some music, made especially for e-merge by three different women composers/bands. Then it’s over to you for a walk in the park.

St James’ Park is right opposite the ICA and perfect for a stroll, run, or to meet the wildlife – from pelicans to squirrels that’ll take nuts from your hand! – you choose where to walk, how far, how fast – the music may encourage you to twist and turn as you meander the paths around the lakeside. When you’re ready, find a comfy place to watch your film – with images taken from the places you’ve walked, you may find a few surprises too! Make one long film, or several short films, and when you’ve finished we’ll upload a selection of films to the e-merge website so you can watch again, show your friends, and compare films.

The making process has been ticking away since November when I met Sarah Mosses, BEV’s innovation programmer, whilst visiting another interactive project. In one of those synchronistic conversations where I told her about my work using mscape to make short films, she told she was looking for a woman mscaper to create a piece for the film festival.

Discovering the festival base would be at the ICA was a real bonus – with St James’ Park on the doorstep, perfect for a film-making walk. I’d made a similar mediascape last summer – Transitions – as part of extended practice completing my MA Media (Interactive Arts) at UWE, so would base e-merge on that, and create new content from and for the park.

Map of St James Park, being used in the mscape

Map of St James Park, being used in the mscape

How did I get involved with mediascapes? I started working with moving image 12 years ago within a sculptural environment, moving into short film and community media arts facilitation. 2 years ago, during my MA, I began to work with HP’s mscape software and love the freedom to make work that moves people in an outdoor environment, placing the user, context, work and artist in dynamic equilibrium.

Mediascape offers an exciting new medium to explore my interests of contrasting relationships: movement & stillness, audio & visual, time & timelessness, limitation & choice, ultimately the way we respond to choice, how we interact with the world around us. The commission for BEV is a great way to bring mediascape to a new audience, and for me to contrast rural and urban environments, and contribute to the discussion about film and mobile technology. Mediascapes often seem to be used for gaming, information, and education. So bringing e-merge for women in film, and the general public, feels very enjoyable! As part of ongoing research, it’s just fun to have the opportunity to work alongside more creative people, develop ideas and test out work in new situations – and hopefully get some interesting and useful feedback!

Making it… So, in brief, the process to date has included meeting BEV and working out logistics of equipment, audiences, and all those things… a successful application to the Arts Council to support e-merge, commissioning music, meeting with the Royal Parks and photographing and filming in the park, researching historical images, editing still and moving images, building and adapting a structure for the mediascape with hp labs’ mscape[www.mscapers.com] software –( imagine it like a map of time and place, with media content dropped in.) Testing and more testing, ‘iterative’ is the essential-word for this kind of work!

Coming from a fine art and community media practice background, I think it’s really important for innovative work to be well documented, accessible to the general public, and visually presented, so I’m keeping a project blog – www.e-merge-walks.blogspot.com – and designing postcards to promote the website which will go live with films made during the festival:


Challenges? Inherent in using a mobile device is the small screen and small quantity of film that it can play, so it’s a constant balance of what’s going to work well within the technology. Also how to be interesting and engaging to a wide audience, and the good old question of interactive design – how much freedom and choice can the end-user really have? Let me know when you’ve tried it!”

So what do you think about this new form of moving-image story-telling? COMMENT BELOW and share your thoughts…


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