Hybrid Lives at FACT

2nd Jan 2014

Hybrid Lives launched at FACT last month as part of their Time and Motion Exhibition. 

The CX project Hybrid Lives, a public co-working space, opened on December 12 at FACT in Liverpool as part of their major exhibition Time and Motion. The project is the fruit of a year-long collaboration in a five strong team. We've had six formal face to face meetings with the full team, ten informal get togethers, exhanged over 400 emails and shared two trips to the pub. After heroic struggle, we conceived, designed, produced, and delivered the project on time and on budget.


Hybrid Lives features two original artworks, and output from another CX research project. Karen Ingham created a video composition that montages a live feed of the space with archive footage of machines and factories. The piece evokes an intriguing tension between what we may think of as informal or improvised computer work (that done in a co-working space) and a reading of work as highly regulated, time constrained and machine like. Some of the questions the artist prompts is: are we as controlled by our machines as an early 20thC factory worker? Where is the human located in the de-centered virtual workplace? The second artwork is an interactive light installation. John Fass and Dr Brock Craft created an installation placed on each of the four work tables. A translucent perspex tube gives an ambient indication of aggregated upload and download quantities per table. The work is intended to elicit reflection on the asymmetry of active and passive internet use. An imbalance bulit into network infrastructure from the very beginning (download speeds commonly outstrip upload speeds by a factor of 100). NetTables is designed to highlight wireless connectivity as a material. The other CX research (carried out by Ben Dalton and team) takes the form of a disply of images from Where Do You Go To? another collaborative project that connects remore workers by enabling the sharing of workplace images. 


One main function for Hybrid LIves now is to be a free public resource, open to all, with low barriers to entry. The other purpose for the space is to host a series of workshops, research activity, talks, and other creative encounters. Among many others, these include my own CX research into browser history in narrative form, a family workshop making dream-machines, and bio-data exploration. See teh FACT website above for further detail about the events schedule.


Hybrid Lives therefore has a dynamic existence long after its realisation by the project team. We hope that other researchers will make use of the space and that it will remain a public resource in the future. As a CX collaborative work the project is now finished but as a model of how collaborative design activity can help to frame and support knowledge exchange through creative experiences, we hope that its effects are long lasting and far reaching.


Hybrid Lives was a collaboration between the Royal College of Art, Bossons Group, Unwork, and Swansea Metropolitan University. Project partners are Peter Bosson, Karen Ingham, Luke Connoley, John Fass and Ben Koslowski.