I’m passionate about communicating issues of technology, innovation, design, and magic to a wide variety of audiences. I’ve spoken at hundreds of international conferences including three TEDx events.
My talks combine outlandish interaction, improbable illusions, original research, and impossible insights. I’m currently having a lot of fun teaching audiences how to genuinely read each other’s minds using their sense of touch.
I advise on innovation and technology projects to both government and commercial organisations. I have been a consultant, facilitator, and assessor for various UK and European bodies, including Innovate UK and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
I have advised on innovation in a wide range of industries. Most recently in Sustainable Technologies, Locative Media, Internet of Things, Financial Tech, Wearables, A.I. & Machine Learning, Healthcare, Robotics, Design Thinking in Technology Innovation, and Film & TV Technology.
Combining stage mindreading techniques with cutting edge neuroscience I spent 2018 teaching one thousand people to read minds using their sense of touch.
Scientists at Google X. CEOs in Copenhagen. Actors in San Francisco. Game designers in Bratislava. Architects in London. Dancers in Stockholm. They all developed the ability to find hidden objects and to recreate hidden drawings.
One Thousand Mindreaders is part of an ongoing investigation into emerging mindreading neurotech and the connection between touch and empathy.
I’ve used LEGO Serious Play - as an ideation, business strategy, leadership coaching, and innovation tool - with over 2000 people including disabled artists (see video), scientists, technologists, actors, BBC writers, and young inventors appearing on the CBBC TV show Whiz Whiz Bang Bang.
I used it to help NESTA restructure in 2005 and with senior management as a board member of The Media Centre Huddersfield. I wrote a chapter on using it in learning for this book.
REACT (Research and Enterprise in Arts and Creative Technology) wanted a day where academics from classics, childhood studies, and architecture could come together together with game designers, filmmakers, and engineers to create and pitch ideas to a group of children who acted as both clients and young coaches.
I themed the day around Mystery.
IdeoBird is a friendly mindreading robot bird commissioned as a performative design fiction for NESTA FutureFest 2013. She became one of a series of genuine mindreading technologies I created as Magician in Residence at Pervasive Media Studio.
IdeoBird has performed nternationally and has been featured in The Guardian online, BBC Click’s Christmas Special 2013, US Wired’s special Connectivity 2.0 publication, Deutsche Welle, BBC Radio Bristol, and Makers Magazine.
For the Layered Realities 5G event, I created a performance exploring the promise of remote touch in low-latency communication networks for remote surgery, telerobotics, and telepresence.
The audience learned how to tell if somebody is thinking of a lie or a truth by holding their hand. They played Typtology, a game where they swipe each other’s phones to match slot machine symbols, a disconcertingly intimate action.
Typtology is a game of digital mind-reading that plays with chance, truth, and agency.
The Robot Cabaret event needed to generate debate around bias and trust in Big Data and AI. I created Parry, a superstitious AI that develops it’s own digital fortune-telling beliefs.
Parry told the fortunes of the whole audience, sorted them into personality types, and an unexpected correlation between the date of it’s creation and a number freely created by the audience suggested that Parry’s fortune-telling system is strangely accurate.
Parry is a fascinating, entertaining, often hilarious interactive experience that subtly parodies the real dangers of magical thinking in technology.
When you imagine an action clearly in your mind it causes a physical response in your body. In partnership with the University of Bristol, I created a series of devices to explore this physical imagination.
OuijaBird is a two-player game that measures your physical imagination. Some people have strong physical imaginations - actors, athletes, musicians, dancers (especially Tango dancers). I devised exercises to train the physical imagination to increase empathy, leadership, dexterity, and creativity.
I was interviewed for Lush Player’s Turning Point... the programme that asks... what was the decision or conversation that changed your life forever?
"I think there's nothing like losing something to make you fascinated by how it works."
A bit of a ramble, I blame a flu bug from Ghana. We recorded by the river near my house. If you listen carefully you can hear my cat The Jinx make a contribution at around 3'45".
I was asked to appear at the Arts Council England No Boundaries conference in both Bristol and Manchester at the same time. I performed the world’s first simultaneous interactive impossibility for two geographically distant audiences. The performance was live streamed to 1400 screens in 46 countries.
“Every organisation should have a magician-in-residence.”
“STRONGLY AGREE! I want one. In fact, I want a @StuartNolan-in-residence!”
- Tweets from conference audience.
I helped Arts Council England and Innovate UK develop an Arts and Technology pilot programme supporting innovation in art, technology and business. Then, as a mentor and facilitator, I supported the artists on the programme at MadLab. They were driven, smart, and a joy to work with.
I spent three years as an Associative Creative on Being There: Humans and Robots in Public Spaces, a £2m EPSRC project exploring how we can design social robots.
I researched the history and potential of empathic robots through labs, commissions, residencies, performances, and by making robots with some amazing artists, technologists, psychologists, and sociologists.
As an advisor on technology innovation projects, I’ve seen a lot of both genuine excitement and ludicrous hype around Blockchain. To explore these different rhetorics I created Teller, a Blockchain ledger that can store individual acts of fortune-telling and generate chains of superstition.
Teller was comissioned for a think tank of technology developers to provoke debate around our hopes and dreams for finincial technology.
The Royal Shakespeare Company and Watershed asked me to facilitate a two-day creative lab for eight exceptional artists. They saw The Tempest and had a backstage tour of the incredible technology used in the production.
I used a number of techniques I’ve created over the years to help them develop ideas inspired by Shakespere’s themes of magic, power, migration, leadership, nature, and weather.
I was comissioned to create two performances for the 2015 Venice Biennale that explored the links between mind-reading, theatrical magic, art, and technology.
Dinnerlock and Marseilles Map were exhibited as part of the Boîte-en-Valise show in the gallery of the Swiss Consulate and performed in several of the gallery gardens of Venice.
“Pareidolia, paranoia, digital sleights of hand. Conversations are a kind of alchemy. So, what happens when you put a magician and a data scientist together, and get them talking?”