Drew Smith: ethnographer, strategist and host of Rising Minds

CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Stuart Wood of rAndom International


June 2012 is a big deal for the global CreativeMornings family.

For the first time, 22 CreativeMornings chapters, in collaboration with Rhode Island School of Design, will be speaking with one voice.

The subject is one that’s close to our collective heart: the magic that occurs at the intersection of art and technology.

The CreativeMornings/London team thought long and hard about who we’d like to represent our city on the world stage and after months of frenzied research and conversation, one name kept popping up: rAndom International.

In rAndom, we found the perfect mix of the industrial and ethereal, their installations using technology to give birth to interactive experiences that are magic to behold.

That co-founders Stuart Wood and Florian Ortkrass are so adept at melding art and technology should come as no surprise. Between them, these two have had stints at serial industrial innovators like Audi, Ross Lovegrove, the BBC and Philips. They’ve also served as co-leads on the interaction design course at Ravensbourne.

It was this last point that sealed the deal for us. Part of what drives CreativeMornings is the belief that the fusion of art and technology into design has been one of the greatest drivers of progress. We can’t help but love a couple of guys who’ve helped a whole new generation of creatives get excited by the magic that happens when art and technology collide.

Read our interview with Stuart below and be sure to come along to see him (and Florian) speak at the St. Martins Lane hotel.

Stuart Wood & Florian Ortkrass will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London on Friday June 29th – sponsored by The Sanderson Hotel– at 50 Berners Street  London W1T 3NG. For more information and to reserve tickets, please go to the CreativeMornings London Eventbrite page.

Where do you go when you need to concentrate?

The toilet. No joke. I have the best ideas when I get away from my desk for 10 minutes, no distractions. That and cycling. Mainly to and from work, but it gives me time to get away from the studio. Amazing what a simple change of scenery (good and lavatory) can do for your mental well-being from time to time.

Is it about what you know or who you know?

A bit of both. Who you know grows more quickly when the what you know is interesting / applied in interesting ways. We’re always learning.

What’s been the most pivotal point in your life thus far?

Most is a bit of a personal question. However, meeting our gallery owners for the first time and understanding the need to “up our game” was a big eye opener. Blunt but invaluable advice.

Do you think there’s enough discourse between disciplines?

There is if you want it to be. In my experience, people are open to all sorts of options / ideas and as long as there something in it for everyone, disciplines and work very nicely with one another.

Can you teach innovation?

I think you can only lead, in a sense. People who truly innovate will grasp onto new things regardless of what discipline they studied or who with. It’s how they’re wired in a way, questioning minds that see opportunities.

Dollar or Yuan?

Cake? Currently Dollar but Yuan is very interesting but something we have yet to tap into.

Do you believe in an afterlife?


Negative or positive freedom?


Ideal holiday?

I find it tough to switch off. Is it holiday if I’m still kind of working? I’d love to do Burning Man, but take the studio out for the week and do an installation out there. I’ve got some ideas already. So technically not a holiday. So I didn’t answer that so you’ll just have to get over it.

Can you draw?

Everyone can draw. It’s whether they have the confidence to show other people. I have. They mainly tell me they look rubbish. But who cares, I use drawing to explain ideas.

Can you draw us a wave?

float a = 0;
float x = 0;


float lastX = 0;
float lastY;


void setup()
 lastY = height/2;


void draw()
  float y =  height/2 + sin(a) * height / 4;
  line(x, y, lastX, lastY);
  lastX = x;
  lastY = y;
  a = a + TWO_PI / width;


// download processing and draw it yourself

Individual or state (or both)?


Favourite LP?

Spotify. It’s extremely LP.

Last book read?

“High Speed Digital Design – A Handbook of Black Magic”… that’s actually a lie. I skimmed it, found the plot thin and subtitle just a lie and it’s now gathering dust on my shelf.

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Make decisions. Doesn’t matter whether they were the right decisions or the wrong decisions, but it’s paramount to life that you make decisions. – Stewart Frankel

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are?

Quit! so I don’t have more competition. it’s tough out here!


Category: CreativeMornings/London

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© Andrew Philip Artois Smith and DownsideUpDesign, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrew/Drew Smith and DownsideUpDesign with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.