Conjuring - Heather Davidson / by Esaf Commitee

Tell me a bit about Conjuring?

It's an art installation which revolves around the intersections between tech and magic. The gubbins inside is Raspberry PI, a tiny little computer. There will be light show and it's mainly just to examine the mystery that people put around tech and how that can exclude people, particularly women. 

How did this all start?

About a year ago I got a Raspberry Pi because they were about £20 and I left it in a drawer for 6 months. I do a bit of witchcraft (tech) on the side. If you think about magic is general a magician doesn't reveal his tricks because then it’s obvious you could do it yourself. The same happens in tech circles where if you ask how something's done or ask for help they'll either not help you or whatever. You get rejected and I am sure it is the same when you are becoming a magician. I see a lot of interconnections between the two. I saw a good opportunity with the cheap technology that has been coming out, like Raspberry Pi, and I thought let's throw something together.

What is you favourite part of you work

Failing and then fixing what you failed. I think when you’re a programmer that is 90% of what you do so you kind of have to learn to love it.

Do you think women face a lot of obstacles in the tech world?

Oh yes! The harassment can be pretty bad. I haven’t had too much, mostly because I have stuck with people who are good and I've had internships at tiny companies that know my deal and know what they are getting if they hire me. Last year I went out to a massive tech event in Canada and it's the closest I’ve got to the ‘big time tech world’ and it was pretty horrible. It’s not just women. That’s a very downer answer but part of my art is to explore that and push against it try and get somewhere.

How do you overcome these obstacles?

Shout, work together, shout some more and refuse to budge or leave. I think art exploring things is so important because it shows that other people deal with this or other people feel this way.It’s not just you so let's do something about it.

What would you say to someone that is being held back in some way to achieve what they want 

to do in not just tech but in anything creative?

Research. Look into what's stopping you and why it's stopping you. If you can find out exactly what it is you can usually get past it.