The group was founded in 1991 by Matt Adams, Niki Jewett, Will Kittow and Ju Row Farr. The group is currently led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj. Other members include the film maker John Hardwick and performer Jamie Iddon. Over its history, Blast Theory’s work has explored interactivity and the social and political aspects of technology through a multitude of forms – using performance, installation, video, mobile and online technologies.
Currently based at their studios in Portslade, UK, Blast Theory tours nationally and internationally, working with a number of Associate Artists on different projects. The group has collaborated with The University of Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Lab since 1998. Works created collaboratively with the MRL include Desert Rain (1999), Can You See Me Now? (2001) and Rider Spoke (2007). Blast Theory’s work has been shown at NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Biennale, National Museum in Taiwan, Hebbel Theater in Berlin, Basel Art Fair, Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Sónar Festival in Barcelona, and Palestine International Video Festival. Recent commissions include You Get Me (2008) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for Deloitte Ignite '08, and Ulrike and Eamon Compliant (2009) for the De La Warr Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale.
Blast Theory’s artists describe their work as collaborative and interdisciplinary. With early works such as Gunmen Kill Three (1991) and Chemical Wedding (1994) fitting more in the category of live and performance art, Desert Rain (1999) saw a shift towards work that aims to question performativity, site and presence. Works such as Can You See Me Now? (2001), a game of chase through real and virtual city streets, have seen Blast Theory mix video games and performance, with Can You See Me Now? and You Get Me (2008) being open to a worldwide audience via the internet. Recent work uses mobile technologies such as text messaging, MMS messaging and 3G phones with the aim of "exploring how technology might be considered to create new cultural spaces in which the work is customised and personalised for each participant".
- Urike and Eamon Compliant
- You Get Me
- Soft Message
- Day of the Figurines
- Single Story Building, Tate Online
- Energy Gallery, The Science Museum
- Light Square
- I Like Frank
- Can You See Me Now? – Installation
- Stay Home Read
- Single Story Building
- Can You See Me Now?
- An Explicit Volume
- Choreographic Cops in a Complicated World
- Sidetracks : Light Sleeper & Body Chemistry IV
- Desert Rain
- 10 Backwards
- Route 12:36
- Architecture Foundation
- Atomic Installation
- Invisible Bullets (video)
- Atomic Performance
- C'mon Baby, Fight! Fight! Fight!
- Something American
- Internal Ammunition
- The Gilt Remake
- Invisible Bullets
- Chemical Wedding
- Gunmen Kill Three
- 2008 – Winner of The Digital Collaboration Award at DiMA:S
- 2007 – Honorary Mention, Prix Ars Electronica for Day Of The Figurines
- 2006 – Winner of The Hospital Award for Interactive Media
- 2005 – Winner of the Maverick Award, Game Developers Choice Awards, USA
- 2005 – Interactive Arts BAFTA Award, nominated for Uncle Roy All Around You in two categories: Interactive Arts and Technical & Social Innovation
- 2004 – Net Art Award, the Webby Awards, nominated for Uncle Roy All Around You
- 2003 – Winner of the Prix Ars Electronica 'Golden Nica' for Interactive Art for Can You See Me Now?
- 2003 – VIPER Basel International Award, nominated for Can You See Me Now?
- 2002 – Interactive Arts BAFTA Award, nominated for Can You See Me Now?
- 2002 – International Fellowship Award, Arts Council England
- 2002 – Innovation Award, Arts and Humanities Research Board, awarded for Uncle Roy All Around You
- 2001 – International Media Art Award, ZKM Centre for Arts and Media, Karlsruhe, nominated for Kidnap
- 2001 – Transmediale Awards, Berlin, Honorary Mention for Desert Rain
- 2000 – Interactive Arts BAFTA Award, nominated for Desert Rain
- 2000 – Breakthrough Award for Innovation, nominated, Arts Council England
- 1999 – The 18 Creative Freedom Awards, nominated for Kidnap
- 1996 – Winner of the Barclays New Stages Award, for Something American
- Steve Benford, Rob Anastasi, Martin Flintham, Adam Drozd, Andy Crabtree, Chris Greenhalgh, Nick Tandavanitj, Matt Adams, Ju Row-Farr, 'Can You See Me Now?’, Pervasive Computing, No.3, Volume 2, July/September 2003, pp. 49–51
- Blast Theory, Desert Rain (A Virtual Reality Game/Installation), 2002, pp.1–36 (Blast Theory, London)
- Dixon, Steve ‘Digital Performance, A history of new media in theatre, dance, performance art, and installation’, 2007, pp. 616–621 (The MIT Press, Cambridge, UK)
- Giannachi, Gabriella ‘About War and Inaction: Blast Theory's Desert Rain’, Virtual Theatres: An Introduction, 2004, pp.115–122 (Routledge, London)
- Emma Govan, Helen Nicholson and Katie Normington ‘Making a Performance, Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices’, 2008, pp. 179 – 187 (Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, London)
- Arts Council England: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/
- Blast Theory on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/blasttheory
- Blast Theory on Vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/blasttheory
- IPerG – Integrated Project of Pervasive Games: http://www.pervasive-gaming.org/index.php
- Mixed Reality Lab, Nottingham: http://www.mrl.nott.ac.uk/