Launch of HistoLyrical

We decided to launch our work during the week of the UK general election – to capture another important moment in our society!

Final designs

As the project was approaching it’s final resolution there was still time for the idea to shift slightly! Instead of just having the Facebook text flow in its entirety, what if we chopped it up and made the experience interactive so the user could create their own pieces of concrete poetry from the Facebook text?

YouGov poll

It was important for us to get a visual sense of the UK into our work. We ran a YouGov poll and asked, “What view helps you think?” giving different options. Most people said from the window of a moving vehicle.

Facebook stream visualisation

During our investigations into visualising Facebook activity, we decided to transcribe all our Facebook activity from around the time of the referendum. Turning all that information into lines of text appealed to us in its simplification and homogenisation.

Focus group with young people

A really useful session with the collective of young people who had taken part in our Innovation Lab helped us focus in on Facebook as our main area of attention. The young people revealed how Facebook was their main go to platform to engage with current affairs and that they all shared a degree of social anxiety around the site.


Our fishy thinking had two main avenues: Create a fish interface for browsing the internet where the engagement with online material would be based upon the movement of fish in a tank.

Exploration of ideas

After the Innovation Lab we chose to work with Hitpoint Games after we were drawn to their playful response with the Beard of Contemplation. We liked how the idea was informed by how many people naturally contemplate but was realised with an absurd theatricality.

Lincoln Innovation Lab

We were blown away by the enthusiasm and ideas of the young participants during the Innovation Lab. They responded really well to our bizarre mix of research, we feel it really pushed their connection with the provocation and subsequent ideas sessions.

Artist provocation

Forget free speech. Our freedom of thought is under threat. Through its design, online media is affecting our ability to process our thoughts. Is it possible to make a contemplative intervention to regain control of our own headspace in the information age? Our names are Ben Peppiatt and Stephanie Bickford-Smith. We are artists commissioned by to make a new online artwork in collaboration with young people. Our provocation focus was digital but we were keen to approach the first stage of the project with as much “offline” research around the areas of contemplation that we could collect. We produced a selection of films exploring different spaces, rituals, environments and behaviours around contemplation to share at the Innovation Lab, the first time we would get to work with young people and technologists in Lincoln. For us this was the best approach to working on a digital project, to start far removed from the digital world in order to push the lateral thinking around our question. Here’s our ‘contemplation playlist’!