Toggler – The CE Academy

Toggler is a website feature by Fermynwoods Contemporary Art allowing commissioned artists to explore, demonstrate and celebrate the potential of creativity in website design.

As websites become increasingly standardised to ensure familiarity and ease of use for online visitors, Toggler allows artists to champion the role of curiosity and creativity in exploring other possibilities for presenting content online.

Visitors are able to view our website through different lenses by toggling between styles developed by commissioned artists.

Alongside this year’s series of commissions, artist Stuart Moore has been working with students in mainstream and non-mainstream schools to develop their own Toggler styles.

The first of these designs is by Key Stage 3 and 4 students from The CE Academy, a pupil referral unit that provides alternative education for young people who are permanently excluded from school, dual registered and for school age mothers – and comes with the following sound file.

Plasma Ball

Can you explain the ideas behind your approach to Toggler?

Using a microphone connected to a computer, students experimented with a process called Fourier Transform to extract information about the frequency and phase of various gadgets such as a plasma ball, lazers, or cameras connected to Raspberry Pi computers running Artificial Intelligence algorithms.

They used this to create the 2D and 3D animations which students coded to appear on the website, alongside code-based music creation software ‘Sonic Pi’ to add the sound.

I think the exciting thing about technology in creative expression is how empowering it can be and how broad and open ended it can be. I wanted the students to work with a little bit of coding but also to see that’s just one of a million possibilities. By taking a diverse and not-too-tightly-planned (chaotic?) approach to the workshop, the students were able to find the ways of working that suited them and that allowed them a short route between aesthetic choices and realising that outcome.

From the planned and deliberate experience of coding at one extreme to the immediacy and performance-like experience that can come from interactive tech at another. On top of this, it was very interesting to see how the students responded to the questions Toggler raised about the function and usefulness of the website too!

Stuart Moore

It’s a good idea to change the website to make it more artistic, but I didn’t like the artist versions when you can’t make anything work or it makes it blank. I get that it’s art but if you can’t actually see what’s on the website then I don’t see the point! Especially Tobias Zehntner’s Toggler that fades everything out and makes it white.

I didn’t like Violet Forest’s or Luke Harby’s because the colours are too bright, but I did like Antonio Robert’s Toggler as it has a good visual impact and it’s a bit crazy and glitchy. Although I would still rather that the website actually worked more easily.

Alan, The CE Academy

Toggler screen grab – students from The CE Academy, 2020
Toggler screen grab – students from The CE Academy, 2020

To explore our website using The CE Academy students’ commissioned code select THE CE ACADEMY from the drop down Toggler menu above. Please note Toggler will not affect your visiting experience of the home page. To return to the standard website design, please select DEFAULT from the menu.