NOTE: Distance Lab became part of the Glasgow School of Art Innovation School in October 2010.
This is a snapshot of the Lab's web site around July 2010 for historical reference.
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Artful Dodgems

Richard Wilson, Iain Gildea, Hilary Grant, Chris Moule

Artful Dodgems is a creative workshop combining technology, design and art in which participants build their own dodgem car and create a flexible visual art piece that can be controlled remotely.

This workshop enables participants to design and manufacture their own miniature dodgem car using simple electronics and a nailbrush. The individual dodgems are then placed into a purpose-built arena (1m sq in size) that is constructed by the participants and provides the power source for the dodgems movement and collisions.

The random movement of the dodgems and the LED lights on their masts trace light patterns on the fabric that covers the top of the arena. The fabric is painted with a special UV responsive paint so that the movement of the dodgems produces temporary drawings of light onto the canvas. A camera situated directly above the canvas captures these traces of light. This interactive display becomes a novel addition to any exhibition or showcase.

Participants are able to control (turn on and off) the dodgems in situ and remotely (in their own homes) through a dedicated website and view the patterns being made 'live' via the webcam. A second webcam is operable from the side of the arena to allow viewers to watch the dodgems bumping into one another and moving around.

Workshop objectives

  • To deliver a sense of achievement amongst participants
  • To stimulate a sense of shared vision and teamwork amongst participants
  • To motivate individual creative expression
  • To provide points of learning at each stage of workshop
  • To demonstrate fruitful contribution to larger goal
  • To stimulate interaction and enhance participants social skills
  • To create an interesting art piece that can provoke thought
  • To have fun

Artful Dodgem workshop locations


  • Artful Dodgems website

  • High resolution project images