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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Towards an Internet of Glass Things: Glass Artworks as Digitally Communicating Objects

Waugh McManus, Elizabeth (2024) Towards an Internet of Glass Things: Glass Artworks as Digitally Communicating Objects. Doctoral thesis, The University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


The research explores the combination of digital technologies with glass art to generate interactivity, animacy and playful experiences. From the mid-nineties artists and designers started blending digital technology with crafted artefacts to enable interaction between artwork and audience, at times mediated through the Internet. The last two decades saw the development of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), web-connected devices that are environment-sensing and communicate with each other independently of users. The contextual survey revealed that to date there are few projects or papers exploring the potential of integrating glass as an artistic medium with interactive digital media. My aim was to use a multiple-methods practice-based methodology to investigate the creative possibilities of incorporating digital interactivity in glass art.

A series of artworks selected from my recent practice using physical computing for digital interactions are described, demonstrating methods and narratives that expand possibilities for storytelling. The thesis investigates how novel interactive technologies embedded in glass may engage viewers and communicate content. A number of ways that glass lends itself to blending with computational materials were explored.

Investigation into embedding conductive traces in glass by adapting glass-making processes to create circuitry for smart interfaces was undertaken. Blending IoT technology with glass enables connectivity between artwork and audience offering the potential for telepresence. Research carried out during the COVID-19 global pandemic explored networked working methods and also applied research into the effects of COVID lockdowns on touch in the generation of digitally-augmented artworks.

Projects in this study contribute to the expansion of the contemporary glass field in the 21st Century. Combining glass and digital technologies including IoT offers potential for expression and expansion of artistic ideas. These are articulated for practitioners working with glass, curators, academics and designers interested in embedded computer systems. An ‘Internet of Glass Things’ is proposed as a term to describe interactive glass artworks.

Elizabeth Waugh McManus PhD thesis.pdf

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Depositing User: Delphine Doucet


Item ID: 17819

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2024 14:15
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 14:15


Author: Elizabeth Waugh McManus

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Glass and Ceramics

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