Ken Byers


Swan Hunter’s Charcoal Drawings

Byers’s interactive-art background stems from an interest in apocalyptic, futuristic landscapes. He also explores the use of alternative structures, both symbolic and machine orientated. In 1994 Byers began producing charcoal drawings of Swan Hunter’s cranes which were based on the Tyne. Swan Hunter, an internationally renowned ship builder, was in existence for 130 years and at one time provided 14,000 jobs. In 2006 it was announced that the business was effectively finished and the iconic Wallsend Yard cranes, which are depicted in Byers’s work were put up for sale. The cranes were sold to Bharati Shipyards, India’s second largest private sector ship builders. In the 20 years that Byers produced his charcoal images there has been a huge contrast in the landscape around the Tyne. What was once a busy industrial hub now in comparison seems quite motionless. Byers decided to use charcoal for these images as he was particularly interested in looking at black, white and the sublime. There exists a relationship between the charcoal images of the cranes and Byers’ interactions in that he uses quasi-engineering structures in his interactive audio-visuals.

Artist Statement

Ken Byers is a multi-media digital artist from the UK. His interests lie in  the Arts, Science and Technology, New Media Philosophy, Cyberage Technology, Human Machine Interaction and embodiment. Byers has exhibited both in the UK and internationally, including Russia, Eastern and Western Europe. In 1990 he achieved an MA in Fine Art at the University of Northumbria and in 2005 completed an MA in Media Production (TV and Video) at the University of Sunderland. He is currently working on a PhD in Body-Movement Interactive digital audio-visual installations.

Byers is influenced by the exploration of alternative spaces and experiences in cyberspace and how interactive art, body-movement and embodiment can engage the participant. He also produced research drawings on ‘inner movement’ states of mind, spirit and psyche, which contributed to his exploration of movement in art/animation. In addition, Byers experiments with film, sound, new media electronics, sensor technology, environments and subjective perception, including that of the urban environment and the virtual world.