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Nigel Johnson: A.E.S.O.P

A.E.S.O.P (An Enhanced Sense of Place)


Reception: Friday 31 October, 5.00 - 6.30pm, coinciding with the preview of William Latham: Mutator 2 in Centrespace.

Exhibition: 20 October - 13 November 2014 , Monday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm


Exhibitions at DJCAD are delighted to present A.E.S.O.P (An Enhanced Sense of Place) by Nigel Johnson in Level 2 of the Entrance Galleries in the Matthew Building.

A.E.S.O.P is an interactive installation comprised of nine autonomous rotating units, displaying moving messages in red LED lights. Acting like a compass, each message display points at different global geographic positions whilst collecting news data from that location. These changing texts are drawn from real-time, global RSS data news feeds, broadcasting truths and untruths, drawing attention to the distortions of mediated information through unfolding news events from around the globe.

The underlying premise of the installation is related to the interpretation of information and as the recipients of that information, how the reading of the 'spaces' in between unrelated news events leads to new but fictitious narratives emerging. The work is equally playful and challenging for audiences in their interpretation of the ‘received’ information and its veracity as a news story. Unlike Aesop's fables these stories may develop seamlessly or suddenly fracture, creating new temporal and spatial associations in the recipients mind, producing cognitive shifts and 'an enhanced sense of place' within the context developing global events.

This will be the first time Johnson’s A.E.S.O.P. installation is displayed in the UK since its inaugural exhibition at the European Media Art Festival in Osnabrück, Germany 2013. 

Nigel Johnson A.E.S.O.P, DJCAD, 2014 Reception

A.E.S.O.P, Nigel Johnson, Matthew Entrance Gallery, DJCAD, 2014. Photos: Malcolm Finnie


Nigel Johnson, A.E.S.O.P, DJCAD, 2014

A.E.S.O.P, Nigel Johnson, Matthew Entrance Gallery, DJCAD, 2014. Photos: Kathryn Rattray

This video was originally posted on Art in Scotland TV, which is a contemporary arts-news site run by the Summerhall TV team. 

Background & Context

This particular interactive art work stemmed from a much larger collaborative research project to develop 'intelligent media' monitoring services (press, broadcast, on-line media) utilising a novel approach exploiting natural language ‘argumentation-based’ reasoning techniques, developed by colleagues at the School of Computing, University of Dundee.

The basis of this installation project began through Johnson's exploration and investigation of these electronic media monitoring services, particularly news feeds that analyse and report on news and current affairs content. These are exemplified by services such as those provided by Google News Alerts, Meltwater, Moreover or Newsgator for example. These standard online monitoring services utilise ‘spiders’ to scrape information from websites (Magenta / Meltwater) and RSS aggregation (NewsGator) to organise syndicated feeds provided by publishers. This led to the development of A.E.S.O.P. (An Expanded Sense of Place) which utilises real-time, global RSS news data, fed to a network of 9 rotating led message displays within an interactive installation context. The novelty of the project resides in the notion of “a mash up”, the reading or combination of two or more sources of information to create a new context.

The exhibition in Matthew Entrance Gallery is programmed to coincide with Williams Latham's exhibition Mutator 2 in Centrespace, VRC and Dundee Science Festival 2014 in Dundee. For more information on Dundee Science Festival 2014 please see:



Prof. Nigel Johnson is an artist, Chair of Interactive Arts and Director of Research Degrees at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), Scotland, U.K. He studied Fine Art at Liverpool and obtained a postgraduate degree at the Slade School, University College, London. His work focuses on the development of real-time, interactive installations and digital artworks and he exhibits his work nationally and internationally. 

His areas of practice encompass software and hardware development, as well as the application of contemporary technologies to creative visual practices. Some of these areas include the nature of artificial intelligence, cellular automata, the role of human interaction and their impact upon the development, evolution and outcomes of digital and interactive artefacts.



With special thanks to Ali Napier, Creative Technologist, DJCAD



A.E.S.O.P (An Enhanced Sense of Place), Nigel Johnson, 2013.

A.E.S.O.P (An Enhanced Sense of Place), Nigel Johnson, 2013.

A.E.S.O.P (An Enhanced Sense of Place), Nigel Johnson 2013.

A.E.S.O.P (An Enhanced Sense of Place), Nigel Johnson, 2013.