DATUM Workshop / Festival
Battle, Sussex, UK
Architecture, Design, Installation Workshop / Festival

BEHOLD NATURE! Gaze upon staggering skies and scan sight across placid pools. Hurtle along beneath vast canopies of green, quick footsteps placed between hole and hillock. Witness magnificent creatures bloom within these environs, lights blinking, lasers glowing, as a new fauna pervades the land. A new world is born. DATUM.
DATUM FESTIVAL is an annual celebration of the digital and natural, set in southern England. As a festival of design, Datum plays host to a growing family of exploratory interventions, situated in a Top Secret Woodland Location on a Farm in Sussex.

In 2014 we established DATUM as a collaborative workshop with the aim to explore several themes and ideas around new media and emergent technology, through working, designing and building over the course of a few months and 7 days immersed in the Sussex woodlands. The workshop started with several site visits, where a group of interested parties discussed ideas and themes that they wished to explore. In these discussions ideas were formulated around exploratory installations to functional built works and infrastructure for the festival which in turn generated several framework briefs that some projects were generated from. Parts of the site were identified for various purposes and several mappings including a 3D Lidar scan of the entire site.

Location: Boating Pond
To create a structure installed in, on or around the boating pond. One must consider the experience of being on water and how this can be enhanced or transformed. The boating pond lends itself to the use of translucency, light and mechanical manipulation as a driver. The boat itself has the potential to accommodate a lightweight structure.

Location: Cabin
To design an outdoor cinema capable of being suspended from the existing tree canopy. Consideration of how to structurally accommodate both an audience and screen, and how the conventional experience of film can be transformed by marrying nature with structure and technology. The Kino Canopy lends itself to the use of gauze as tensile cladding material for starlit night-time viewing.

Location: Family of Tree Trunks
To create a folly within the tree canopy capable of accommodating 1-3 persons, with a view to generating outward contemplation of the woodland and to provide a unique perspective from which to view other projects and participants. The Canopy Platform lends itself to the use of sound, potentially in connection with other locations onsite.

Location: Everywhere
To create a datum line across all visible trees as viewed from a specific location onsite. Means of accessing the viewpoint must be considered and can be a design intervention in itself.

The workshop culminated in the inaugural DATUM festival to celebrate, exhibit and inhabit the products of the previous months of planning, designing and building. In amongst the outlined briefs, lighting, audial and experiential projects were generated across the site which revellers were drawn towards or stumbled across through the duration of the festival.

The DATUM Workshop and Festival was the result of collaborative effort of hard work and talented individuals over the course of many weeks and months. None of the work displayed here could have been possible without the tireless efforts of;
William Gowland,
Thomas Wing-Evans,
Michael Ramwell,
Laura Gaskell,
Harry Kay,
Frankie Loam,
Hannah Durham,
Claire Holton,
Hannah Burn,
Samantha Lee,
Joe Magri,
Thomas Longley,
Rupert Rathbone,
Jake Alsop,
Tim, Rachel & the rest of the Gowland family for being such amazing hosts, and putting up with us creating a workshop and festival on their farm!
All the musicians and DJ’s who played until we had to shut off the power,
And all the guests who came to the festival and made it such a success,
And many many more I have temporarily forgotten….

Check out one of the DATUM installations and subsequent cross platform game produced by Universal Assembly Unit by clicking HERE