Paul Higham is considered a pioneer of early computer sculpture combining conceptual paradigms with computational technology in his art for over 30 years. In the early 70's he studied Sculpture at Goldsmiths College of Art in London under the direct mentorship of Carl Placman; the godfather of Brit Art. With this legacy Higham's endeavor has remained consistent as such to propagate a new form of conceptual art. In the mid 1990’s he developed several concepts and bodies of work including ‘DataSculpture’, 'SpaceSampling' and 'AutoTecture'. These seminal ideas offered up at exhibitions, panels and lectures at ISC Conferences and The Computer Sculpture Forum have now been widely adopted overtime. His recent series of work 'Thought Forms' utilizes Real Time Data Acquisition and Brain Machine Interface Technologies. His work has been shown internationally in over 100 exhibitions from China, to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India, Turkey, Senegal, France, Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, Germany, Austria, England, Scotland, Wales and across the USA. He has received several prestigious awards such as the McKnight Fellowship for his VR Opera ‘ Metarune Clipper’ in 1996.
Higham is one of the first in a small group of international artists and academics who advocated the use of rapid prototyping, cnc and digital technologies in sculpture. He first exhibited interactive VR sculpture and real world rapid prototype sculpture, also cast in metals in 1995 as seen at the Body Builder Gallery, Chicago. Also since '95 he has been a member of Ars Mathematica, Paris, France an international organization devoted to promoting digital sculpture founded by Alexander Vitkine and Christian LaVigne. Higham will be featured in the Ars Mathematica book on the history and early pioneers of digital sculpture soon to be published in Europe.
As an independent Higham has held several academic teaching and visiting artist positions. He has undertaken many artist residencies and presents his work internationally through exhibitions, lectures, and panels at Conferences, Universities, Museums, Galleries and Art Fairs.
Paul Higham’s work is driven by the concept of data and deals with the commodification of information and dynamics of data itself. He harvests grains of data from digital streams mined from population in real time revealing organicity, hysteresis & turbulence within our culture, visualizing in shape and form the flux of societal transformations such as the freeze and crash of the dollar. Retrieving real world data from sources such as the Dow Jones Index, the Statue of Liberty, The Texts of Malthus, Gold Futures, as well as GPS, weather and satellite streams. He synthesizes sets of data with coding & genetic algorithms, perturbs them with viruses & noise in order to generate automata in series thus creating new three dimensional fractal forms; a process he calls ‘Autotecture’ that in turn produce his ‘Data Sculpture’ works.
Paul Higham has extensive knowledge regarding the history and context of computation in art and conceptual digital sculpture. Of particular note from 1995 - 98 he was awarded the position of International Research Fellow in Electronic Arts at the University of Minnesota. Initiating several projects he carried out reasearch at the Babbage Institute, linking otherwise disparate disciplines in technology and art. At this time he also independently initiated a unique collaboration with Stratasys Rapid prototype Corp. USA. He was invited to join the Advanced Visualization Lab as part of the Human Machine Design Lab team at the University of Minnesota developing and building his own data gloves for interacting with VR worlds and early use of holography, haptics, mo-cap, 3d scanners and coding.