John Maxwell Hobbs, Head of Technology, BBC Scotland

Biography

Last updated January 2010

John Maxwell Hobbs, the Head of Technology for BBC Scotland, has been working at the intersection of art and technology for more than 20 years.

He has extensive experience in communicating complex technological ideas to the general public through digital media, as well as guiding the development of cutting-edge internet applications and mobile application strategy and development, and is in demand as a speaker on media and technology topics.

In his role as Head of Technology, he is responsible for all technology within Scotland, particularly Pacific Quay, BBC Scotland's new production facility, which is the most advanced facility of its kind in Europe.

He is a judge for the BBC Audio & Music Awards in the Best Sound category and a member of the BBC Introducing Listening Panel. He also co-manages BBC Scotland's Innovation Team with Ewan Angus, the commissioning editor.

Before joining the BBC, he was he founder of Oden Konsult, a digital media consulting firm based in Stockholm specialising in information architecture and digital creative services whose customers included Ericsson, IKEA and ASSA ABLOY.

Prior to founding the company, he worked for the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson as the Chief Information Architect of the Corporate Web Group and, before that, as the Head of Creative Development for Ericsson CyberLab in New York City, he led a developer education project that became Ericsson Mobility World, a global resource for developers of mobile internet applications.

He produced performances by DJ Spooky, Robert Wilson, Philip Glass, Steve Reich and others during his time as the Producing Director of The Kitchen, the celebrated avant garde performance space in New York City.

As a sound engineer he worked with They Might Be Giants, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and others.

As a composer he has released several CDs and composed scores for a number of independent short films.

His contributions to the early days of music on the web have been documented in the book Virtual Music by William Duckworth. From the book: "In a review of his interactive online instrument, Web Phases, Kyle Gann of the Village Voice described it as being 'on a noticeably higher artistic level' than the earliest tape-music and computer-music pieces, concluding that 'the potential for social reorientation is even more incredible', and predicting 'we'll look back and say 1998 was the year our relationship to music entered a new era'."

John is the Vice-President of the board of directors of Vanguard Visions, an organisation dedicated to fostering the work of artists experimenting with technology, and he also served on the Digital Arts sub-committee of the Mayor's Council on New Media in New York City.

His interactive composition Web Phases was one of the winners of ASCI's Digital '98 competition.

In 2006 John Maxwell Hobbs completed Cinema Volta: Daily Ambience, a project in which he recorded and released a new piece of music every day for a year.