Thomson & Craighead

BEACON and Template Cinema


6 December 2016 – 11 January 2017


To accompany Observations, the second part of the four part exhibition Looking at one thing and thinking of something else showing in our Eastcastle Street galleries from 2 December to 23 December, Carroll / Fletcher Onscreen presents two works by Thomson & Craighead: BEACON and Template Cinema. A projected version of Template Cinema is being exhibited in Observations.


Automated BEACON, Thomson & Craighead, 2005, website, unique, not for sale

The work can be viewed here.

BEACON first began broadcasting online at midnight on January 1st 2005. It was instigated as an act of silent witness: a feedback loop providing a global snapshot of ourselves to ourselves in real-time.

BEACON exists in three versions of the underlying concept: a website, a projection in a physical space and a mechanical railway flap sign sculpture. In each version live web searches are continuously relayed at regular intervals – endless concrete poems rhythmically testifying to our everyday concerns.




Projected BEACON, Thomson & Craighead, 2006, digital projection, computer, edition 5 plus 2 AP, POA


Sculptural BEACON, Thomson & Craighead, 2007, modified railway flap sign, computer, 34 x263 x9  cm, edition of 5 plus 2 AP, POA




Template Cinema (2004 – ongoing)

An online multi-plex cinema continuously screening three ever-changing films: Lone star, A short film about nothing and Five ghosts. Each film is an open edition of unique low-tech networked movies generated in real-time from data appropriated from the World Wide Web – the template for each film is based on the familiar structure of our cinematic experience – leader, titles, film, soundtrack, inter-titles, credits, etc. – and uses material found on the internet – a live webcam feed, a soundtrack appropriated from a website, text grabbed from bulletin boards and online manuals, etc.

Visit the cinema online here.

Template Cinema has its origins in Short Films about Flying (2002), a gallery-based networked installation featuring movies generated in real-time from live webcam feeds from Logan Airport, Boston, USA combined with randomly loaded net radio and text grabbed from online message boards. The result was a coherent yet evocative combination of elements that produce an endlessly mutating edition of low-tech mini-movies. The project now exists as a simulated archive, because some of the resources used to make the films are no longer available.


Visit the cinema online here.


The artists’ page at Carroll / Fletcher here.

The artists’ website here.