Jeremy Keenan – Physical Computing Specialist

Jeremy Keenan
Jeremy Keenan

Tell us a little about your job. 

I work in the physical computing lab, with students that need bespoke electronics, or code, or both. I work specifically on projects that need a physical component. People come to us from all departments – Fine Art, Product Design, Textiles and even Fashion. A really wide variety of stuff goes on in the lab. 

What projects have you been working on recently? 

One recent project was a light that used a real-time clock to chart the time and translate that into a representation of the sun at a given point of the day. It used a few hundred LEDs, creating the image using the circle of light. 

In another project, a student on the Material Futures course made an eight-foot fan. It had a large, powerful motor to change the speed of the blades that had an iridescent property and a spectrum of colours was then projected on the blades to produce a psychedelic visual effect.  

What did you do before Central Saint Martins? 

My background initially was in audio engineering – the conventional recording of bands and music. I then did a PhD in studio composition, which is essentially electronic music composition. Through this I got into doing a lot of sound installations, using a lot of electronics and programming. 

What personal projects are you working on? 

I work with a curatorial organisation in south London, called Call & Response. We put various sound-based works on, and are currently working with Jacob Kirkegaard on a new show. The exhibition will be based on the metal pipes installed in Victorian London to release sewer gas. Jacob has been recording sounds from those. 

I just got back from showing at the International Symposium on Electronic Art in Vancouver. Later this month, I’ll be presenting work in Lithuania in collaboration with the UK Crafts Council and a textile artist, Myrto Karanika. I’ve also been commissioned with Call & Response to create a large-scale work in Bangladesh, at the Dhaka Art Summit. 

How do you find working at Central Saint Martins? 

Great. It’s mutually beneficial for me and the students. The projects they bring to me are often quite challenging – outside of my specific area of expertise, or things I haven’t done before. In helping them, I’m also increasing my knowledge and my ability to help other students. I’m not only an educator, but also learning myself. 

What would you tell prospective students? 

The facilities are great and, most importantly, the environment is inspiring – even sometimes verging on manic, in the most positive way. Between myself and others in the lab, there’s plenty of expertise to cover any project. The degree shows are also something to look forward to. It’s very impressive, the standard of work.