Digital invention studio
Even Westvang and Simen Svale Skogsrud are principals of the Oslo-based digital invention studio Bengler. Central to their practice is the continuous exploration of communicative and expressive affordances of technology. In their 20-year collaboration, they have worked in television, museum audio-visuals, mobile games, social media, and installation artworks.
Arguing to make more public data available, Westvang built a series of experimental data visualisations. This spawned a long-term focus on data analysis and visualisation within Bengler, and they are currently exploring the use of deep learning in describing and organising the collections of the Norwegian National Museum. Skogsrud is the original creator of Grbl, the “industry standard” motion control system for maker-grade 3D printers, milling machines and laser cutters. Bengler have also developed a radically simplified design for 3D printing.
A series of more traditional publishing commissions turned Bengler’s interests towards exploring the future of publishing, with its challenges of facilitating fluid collaboration when manipulating complex data structures. Tasked with creating the new web presence for the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, to provide a highly connected archive of their architectural oeuvre combined with post-occupancy imagery from social media, Bengler saw the need for a new kind of content curation tool. The system, called Sanity, aims to make complex, connected datasets enjoyable, and facilitates reuse of the material in multiple forms.
In collaboration with the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, West Virginia University, and supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, Bengler are developing Vega, an open source publishing system for open access science, slated for public release in 2018.