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Lost Values

HandMade

a wearable recording device for capturing handwork

Elena Corchero, Stefan Agamanolis, Richard Wilson, Chris Moule, Andrea Taylor, Matthew Karau, Cindy Jeffers

HandMade is a wearable recording device that captures what one does with their hands from a first-person perspective. Recordings made with HandMade allow audience members to immerse themselves more deeply into the shoes of artists or craft-makers than is possible in typical TV documentaries or other archival formats. Recordings can also be keepsakes, allowing users to capture ordinary moments or special techniques together with stories that can be shared with family and friends in the far future.

All over the world, unique and traditional handwork skills of artists and makers are becoming more and more endangered. This problem is particularly pronounced in many remote and rural areas such as the highlands and islands of Scotland. Younger people often leave such areas, attracted by the educational, professional, and social opportunities available in urban centres. This out-migration of young people breaks the continuity needed for skills to be passed between generations as they have been throughout time.

HandMade captures an immersive record of the way someone uses their hands. Video is captured using a wearable technology that resembles an apron and contains a miniature video camera with a wide-angle lens. Audio is captured binaurally - special microphones are worn in the ears of the participant to capture exactly what they hear during a recording session. If headphones are worn during playback, audience members can feel more immersed into the scene, like they are "inside the head" of the subject. The point-of-view camera angle allows viewers to map hand movements more directly to their own bodies, enhancing the ability to learn these techniques in the absence of the subject.

Distance Lab has made several HandMade recordings with artists from Visual Arts Sutherland in northern Scotland. These early recordings were made with an early prototype of the tool. A new high definition prototype was developed and used for recordings of artists participating in the Making Progress mentoring and business support scheme for mid-career makers, an initiative operated by Hi-Arts. The recordings were showcased in an exhibition entitled Made it! at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, 5 June - 31 July 2010.

We are interested in working with artist groups, cultural heritage organisations, and individuals to create a archives of these types of recordings. Please contact us for more information.

HandMade recordings

We wish to thank Sam Barlow and the artists from Visual Arts Sutherland that worked with us to create these initial recordings: Dorothy Dick, Ishbel Macdonald, Jennifer MacKenzie, Joan Baxter, Martina MacLeod, Norman Gibson, Richard Davies, Sue Jane Taylor, and Lotte Glob.

Click a movie thumbnail to view the recording...

An early prototype of the HandMade recording device: