Matt reaches out to world from garden

PREMIERING at Lovebytes digital arts festival next weekend is Advanced Beauty, the first fruit of an ongoing collaboration between creative computer programmers, artists, animators and architects around the world.

A collection of visual sound sculptures made in high definition sound and 5:1 surround sound, it has been masterminded from a garden shed in Nether Edge.

"Well, it's a bit more than a shed, it's a purpose-built studio," corrects Matt Pyke whose company, Universal Everything, has curated the project.

He invited 18 artists to contribute to Advanced Beauty.

"Many of them are people I work with regularly on commissions who welcomed the opportunity to do a more gallery-based project to explore how you can use visuals and music together," explains Pyke.

The brief was to create a visual sound sculpture in response to a composition by sound artist Freenoise, alias Pyke's Brighton-based brother.

Many of the pieces have been created using Processing, a highly flexible free software tool that works like a sketchbook, allowing creative people to learn the fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context.

"We use a background of pure white as a starting point to give a sense of cohesion, so they look as though they have come from the same virtual gallery space though they may be from Argentina, Russia, Japan or New York," says Pyke.

This is the nature of the work undertaken in the Universal Everything studio in the Nether Edge garden, aptly called Universal Everything. "We collaborate with people all over the world on different projects which can involve an animator in Argentina, say, or a programmer in London and a sound artist in Brighton."

After eight years working for Designer's Republic in Sheffield, Pyke set up Universal Everything in 2004 and has built up a portfolio of big-hitting clients.

In America they were responsible for the stage design and animation for the MTV awards in Hollywood and have also worked with the Apple corporation.

"We have just finished a programme for Nokia's giant video wall in Heathrow Terminal 5 and we were also involved in the discussion about the branding for the London Olympics. We seem to be drawn to controversial projects," he smiles.

It is more likely the case that they are involved in exciting new developments. Others include working with the Manhattan Loft Corporation on branding for the new hotel at St Pancras and the V & A's first digital art commission.

"Some of what we do is art-based and some more obviously selling a product. We strike a delicate balance between art and commerce.

"The one thing we always strive for is to push things in an innovative direction rather than following the zeitgeist," he asserts.

Advanced Beauty will be premiered at the Showroom on Friday May 9, followed by a multi-screen exhibition in the Millennium Galleries.