Maker in Residence

We are excited to be hosting Ruby Childs, a new Maker in Residence at Machines Room. >more We had a little Q&A with her to find out what’s in store for her residency!


Can you tell us a bit about your background as a maker, and your practices and areas of interest?

I’d consider myself an artist who went off track and into the world of Mathematics at 18. I began working in finance, then led into further study of computer science and programming. I felt and still feel so empowered by programming as you can create anything digital with it, and that entrepreneurial spirit has stuck with me. After completing my masters, the world pulled me into being a Data Scientist working on making recommendations based on your personal data. Over the last few months, I’ve really realised I want to be in a place where I can combine my love of digital with the world of making and art, which is where Machines Room comes in. At this time, I’m most interested in how we can create physical data artworks, to allow people to explore their data and have tangibility with it. I’m also really interested in how we can push creativity with Artificial Intelligence to a new realm and era. As its often been said, nothing is new, but what if we can make something new? Beyond the digital world, I also have an avid love of traditional printmaking and how to look into new techniques to continue on the tradition. I also spend a lot of time with a compass and ruler working on geometrical patterns.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been working on, and what you will be working on, at Machines Room?

Right now I’m looking at a simple concept of bar charts that can move in real time and vary according to data input. This uses origami to compress and extend, so I’ve been trying to use the vinyl cutter to assist in making origami as it can etch the folds needed. It works to an extent, but depending on the thickness of your paper can crumble or be too rigid, so it’s not quite working the way I hoped.

Has having access to the machines, expertise and community at Machines Room influenced your work and practice, if so then how?

The Machines Room community is outstanding in how there are so many ideas and designs floating around. Here people are executing on their dreams and ideas and its inspiring to see it.

What have you found most challenging?

I think when my origami is failing and its not quite working as expected. Its applying a new technique to an old method, so there has to be some patience and understanding when things aren’t working to try something else.

What is next for you now? Are you planning to continue this stream of work or start a new project?

I will be continuing on this stream of work. Originally the concept of origami, was going to be connected to real time streaming data so it changes shape over time. But I’ve realised its the concept that is important in this to me, as opposed to the data itself. It’s key when working with data, it is comes first. But right now I have this beautiful idea, and am trying to cram data into it. So I’m thinking about making it a touchable interface, so you can push the origami and it will return to its fully expanded position.

RUBY CHILDS was born in London and graduated from Imperial College of London. She is currently exploring concepts of physical data, whilst also an avid pattern lover, artist and data scientist. She has a great interest in how art can be combined with machine learning techniques to push human creativity forward so it becomes a partner, rather than a threat to traditional art processes.