The Faces Behind Virtually Nao

Here are the faces behind the digital facade that is Virtually Nao

Rosamund Garrett, artist (website author)
Edinburgh/Kent, UK

Virtually Nao is my final year degree show project. I’m currently studying for a five year undergraduate MA in Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh. Half of my degree is in history of art, where I specialised in sixteenth century tapestry at the university. The rest of my time I spend making contemporary art at Edinburgh College of Art, working at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, and undertaking research for the Turner Contemporary in Margate.

The idea for Virtually Nao evolved out of an existing project and I would also say through the very nature of my degree. I must frequently switch my mind between history and forward thinking contemporary art, and as such it is no surprise that this has influenced my work. But as is the nature of art the idea first occurred rather unglamorously whilst I was eating a bowl of noodles with Jon in the Glasgow Wagamama. With Jon’s technical backup I realised that my ideas were not impossible, and quickly became so enthusiastic that I drew everything all over the Wagamama paper place matt.

Jon Bennell, Owner of Bennell IT (emotional and technical support)
Kent, UK

I am the owner of Bennell IT and co-director of Polaris Networks. Bennell IT works mainly with domestic clients to simplify their IT needs and helps to make their information more accessible, in London and the South East.

Polaris Networks provides IT network support and services for businesses, predominately within the Home Automation industry. These include touch screen controlled cinemas, whole house audio systems, lighting and heating control, door entry and CCTV. We help to install simple and reliable systems in grand homes, through to marine vessels, throughout the UK & Europe.

I became involved in Virtually Nao through many a discussion with Rosamund. I enjoy the challenge of working outside of my usual IT comfort zone, and find the fusion of art and technology a truly interesting prospect. At the moment I am involved predominantly in an advisory capacity, but I hope that there will be much more we can do together in the future.

The Volunteers

I would like to say a really big thank you to all of the volunteers, without whom this project would not have been possible. At some point the volunteers all received a rather peculiar email from an unknown person with an usual project, and all responded with enthusiasm, patience and kindness. It has been wonderful to feel connected to kind-hearted and open-minded people from across the globe. It has certainly felt as though ‘we’ have circumnavigated the world; an unlikely crew in an unorthodox vessel. Like Magellan, I could not have sailed single-handedly.

Susan Lyon, Former University Lecturer in Computing
Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain

I decided to help with the project as I spend a lot of time in Sanlucar de Barrameda, which is an attractive small town, but unfortunately they do not seem to appreciate their heritage. Not only did the first circumnavigation start here, but the third voyage of Columbus also set sail from here.

Allan Hawdon, Former Systems Manager and Maths Teacher
Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain

What I find fascinating is, rather like Jon, it’s an interesting mixture of technology and art. Also, living in Sanlucar for about half the year it’s nice to see the heritage being mentioned. As Sue said, neither the locals or the tourists seem to take much interest in its history.

Ruth Summers, Editor of the Canarian Weekly
Tenerife, Canary Islands


Natasha de Carvalho, Marketing Strategist and Mum
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Thiago Jaconianni, Architect and Urbanist
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Mariana Vitarello, Teacher of English
Buenos Aires, Argentina

I consider that it’s been really interesting to be in touch with someone who is literally on the other side of the world. You’ve been able to connect different people around the world using appealing means, and to tell you the truth, I am interested that my beloved Buenos Aires appears in your project.

Paula Berard,  Head of Administration for Transporte Alvarez e Hijos S.R.L
Puerto San Julián, Argentina
Gabriel Tourner, Loop Fly Fishing Tackle and Fishing Adventures
Rio Gallegos, Argentina
Jared Bodine, General Manager for Allstar Quality Business Systems, jaredbodine.comGuam
Living in Guam, one can feel cut off from the rest of the world. Guam has a rich heritage with trade ships and Spanish explorers but has since dropped off the radar as technology bridged continents. It was exciting to be included in a global project like this, which brings us into contact with our roots and involvement with the modern online community. Thanks for including me!

Anon, Developer of


Jason Weise, Author of


Paul Gilowey, Author of and
Cape Town, South Africa

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