Blast Theory

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Blast Theory is a Portslade-based artists' group, whose work mixes interactive media, digital broadcasting and live performance.


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, 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.[1] 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.[2][3][4][5] 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.[6]

In 2015 the group launched Karen,[7] an app that psychologically profiles the user.[8]


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".[9]

Notable works[edit]



  • Urike and Eamon Compliant
  • Flypad


  • You Get Me




  • Single Story Building, Tate Online


  • Energy Gallery, The Science Museum
  • Light Square
  • I Like Frank




  • Stay Home Read
  • Single Story Building


  • Viewfinder
  • 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


  • Kidnap
  • Architecture Foundation
  • Atomic Installation


  • Safehouse
  • Invisible Bullets (video)
  • Atomic Performance
  • Blipvert
  • C'mon Baby, Fight! Fight! Fight!
  • Ultrapure


  • Something American
  • Internal Ammunition


  • The Gilt Remake


  • Invisible Bullets
  • Stampede


  • Chemical Wedding


  • Gunmen Kill Three

Selected awards[edit]

  • 2013 – The BIMA Awards (UK) – Nomination in Games category, I'd Hide You
  • 2013 – The People's Lovie Awards (UK) – Winner in Events and Live Broadcast category for The Lovie Award and The People's Lovie Award, I'd Hide You
  • 2012 – MUSE Awards (US) – Honourable Mention in the Applications & APIs category for Ghostwriter
  • 2011 – Sheffield Doc/Fest Innovation Award (UK) – Nomination, Ulrike and Eamon Compliant
  • 2010 – International Mobile Gaming Awards (Spain) – Winner Best Real World Game, Ulrike and Eamon Compliant
  • 2009 – Brighton and Hove Business Awards (UK) – Winner of Most Awesome Use of Digital Media
  • 2009 – 14th Annual Webby Awards (USA) – Nomination in NetArt category, You Get Me
  • 2009 – IndieCade Festival of Independent Games (USA) – Finalist, You Get Me
  • 2009 – Total Theatre Awards, Edinburgh Festival Fringe (UK) – Nomination in Innovation/Interaction/Immersion category, Rider Spoke
  • 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

Key reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Mixed Reality Laboratory - The University of Nottingham".
  2. ^ "ICC ONLINE - ARCHIVE - 2005 - Art meets Media:adventures in perception - Workshop".
  3. ^ Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. "Blast Theory:Can You See Me Now? - MCA Chicago". Archived from the original on 5 January 2009.
  4. ^ "RealTime Arts - Magazine - issue 51 - Blast Theory in Australia".
  5. ^ SonarMática Archived 29 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Ulrike and Eamon Compliant DLWP
  7. ^ Karen,
  8. ^ Karen, an App That Knows You All Too Well, The New York Times
  9. ^ "Blast Theory".
  10. ^

External links[edit]