AWED are an informal group of researchers and artists comprising Liz McFall, Sapphire Goss, Darren Umney and Simon Phipps and David Moats who work – time, budget and occasion permitting -on a range of projects with other academics, artists, musicians, photographers, sound and software engineers. AWED were brought together by accident and a shared interest in making films, installations, texts and other web-based artefacts, that explore the use of new forms of ‘big data’ and old forms of archival data in how places are imagined, represented and planned. Our aim is to explore how different sorts of data and representation produce different places. When we look at places what we see is literally a function of where we stand and the tools we use.
Our most recent project is the film Closes and Opens: a history of Edinburgh’s Futures.
In 2018 we started work on a film about how an old infirmary was regenerating as an institute for the future. The Edinburgh Futures Institute is, just like the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh before it, meant to be open to everyone. While the Infirmary was built to isolate one kind of contagion, the Institute meant to promote another, a contagion of ideas to help us live with the future. But how do you see the future or, for that matter, the past? To read more about how the film links to links the Data Civic Observatory, EFI and the history of Royal Infirmary https://efi.ed.ac.uk/closes-and-opens-a-screen-test-for-efis-data-civics-programme/.
The sequel Opens and Closes: the future of Edinburgh’s Histories is currently in production and will launch in the opening programme of the new EFI building.
A series of other films about the history of planning, the slave trade, gig work, medicine, culture and economy in Edinburgh, Milton Keynes can be found on AWED’s Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/@areweawed8955 AWED’s initiatives and approaches are captured in this 2023 conversation between Sapphire Goss and Darran Anderson in the Yale Review about the sublime potential of video art.