I am a digital artist, a PhD researcher, the director of web/mobile developer Cuttlefish and the curator of Interact. This is my unofficial blog about The Digital Arts Programme at Phoenix in Leicester. I am not employed by Phoenix and all opinions expressed are my own.
Phoenix Leicester will be playing host to pioneering Digital Artist Paul Brown on the 11th June. He will be giving a talk as part of the Computer Arts Society speaker series from 6:30pm. Entry will be free but you may want to book a place in advance via the Phoenix Box Office.
Paul Brown is an artist and writer who has specialised in art, science & technology since the late-1960s and in computational & generative art since the mid 1970s. His early work included creating large-scale lighting works for musicians and performance groups like Meredith Monk, Music Electronica Viva, Pink Floyd, etc… and he has an international exhibition record that includes the creation of both permanent and temporary public artworks dating from the late 1960s. He has participated in shows at major venues like the TATE, Victoria & Albert and ICA in the UK; the Adelaide Festival; ARCO in Spain, the Substation in Singapore and the Venice Biennale and his work is represented in public, corporate and private collections in Australia, Asia, Europe, Russia and the USA. Since 2005 he has been honorary visiting professor and artist-in-residence at the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics, School of Engineering and Informatics at the University of Sussex.
"During my 40-year career as an artist my principal concern has been the systematic exploration of surface. Since 1974 my main tool has been the computational and generative process. My work is based in a field of computational science called Cellular Automata or CAs. These are simple systems that can propagate themselves over time. CAs are part of the origins of the discipline known as Artificial Life or A-life. In this presentation I will describe my 45-year engagement with computational processing and also discuss the work of my son Daniel Brown, who is also a generative artist and our creative partnership Brown and Son."
Extinction Event by Dave Griffiths opened at Phoenix in Leicester last night. The exhibition features a video and microfiche/microfilm works from the artist's Babel Fiche project in the Cube Gallery and film (quite literally) and video materials in the Cafe Bar.
The Babel Fiche video is the centrepiece of the exhibition and imagines a future world where the only surviving information about our present time is in the form of analogue data and images on microfiche. The video is accompanied by the actual microfiche slides that were used by the protagonists in the video. You can explore these using a collection of original microfiche readers.
The film is a powerful piece of work and asks questions about the permanence of our information-rich, but largely digital, age. I have personally wondered if future historians might see the twentieth century as the start of a new 'dark age'. One in which historical records are rare - not in this case because of the fall of the Western Roman Empire - but because the digital records that were kept are not longer readable with future technology, or have simply decayed beyond use.
The other work on display continues the 'film' theme. With looping clips of 'cue dots' from old movies running on the matrix screen (that provide an alternative take on the history of cinema) and film frames on the Cafe Bar window that must be viewed through a magnifying class.
The exhibition runs up until 24th May and is definitely worth visiting. My pictures from the show can be found on my Flickr page as per usual.
This weekend saw the Code Control Max/MSP users' conference at Phoenix in Leicester. The well-attended event involved talks, workshops, demos and three newly commissioned digital artworks.
it was a pretty packed programme and while I wasn't able to catch it all, a number of things jumped out at me and I made sure I got to see them. The first was the talk on Saturday by Sam Tarakajian from Cycling'74 about a new Max technology called Mira. this provides a really elegant way of getting Max interfaces on to your iPad. Basically, it allows you to draw a box around a group of Max interface objects in your Max patch to instantly display them on a wirelessly connected iPad, or iPads. It also provided a toolset for reading data from the iPad's sensors. The technology looks deceptively simple, but the implications of this technology for installation artists and performers are huge. Max now understands your multiscreen world and can benefit from all of the subtleties of multitouch UIs.
The three new digital artworks were also very good. In the cafe bar area Nick Rothwell showed his multiuser
In the cube Stavros Didakis showed a highly interactive audiovisual mixer with projected images and - apparently - EEG aka mind control. I didn't manage to get this going through! In Cinema 3 Gavin Morris showed a large installation in which 512 coloured cubes could be touched to create music sequences. The work could also be controlled by an iPad. In the cafe bar area Nick Rothwell showed is multiplayer game/artwork in which the users manipulated cubes in order to find their opponents and shoot them. It was a full on adrenaline rush, with spacial sound adding to the sense of immersion.
I was in involved in the "science fair" where I demoed the latest version of ColourNet - make in collaboration with Ernest Edmonds - as I get it ready for exhibition at CHI in Paris at the end of April.
I didn't get to attend any of the workshops, by reports are that these were very good too. You can find out more about the event (and future plans at some point) on the Code Control website. My pictures from the event are on my Flickr page.
Sally Sheinman's exhibition "What Makes You, You?" opens at Phoenix today. I had a quick peek during the set-up and it looks very interesting. I haven't quite got my head fully around it (it's not complex, but I think there is more to it than meets the eye!), but I like the look of the iPad-created images and the nature of the on-line participation. I'm going to get involved and will be submitting my thoughts as the project develops. Perhaps Sally with use my contribution as the inspiration for an image? You can find out more about it on the Phoenix site, or go direct to the wmyy.co.uk website.
The latest technology workshop and performance event at Phoenix has been confirmed for 22nd - 24th March this year. "Code Control" builds on last year's Max6 event in January and the Ableton Live event in the Autumn and follows a similar format. The focus is Cycling 74's Max, MSP and Jitter software and will feature a world-class set of presentations, as well as workshops, demonstrations and evening performances. If you want to know more about Max then the event is unmissable. See code-control.com for more information.
I went to see Sebastian Buerkner's 3D film "The Chimera of M" in the Cube at the Phoenix in Leicester yesterday. It finished its run today, so I just managed to get to it in time. To view the film you first had to put on some 3D glasses and then you were encouraged to sit on a bench in the gallery about 2m from the screen.
Often 3D is used to present what is essentially a 2D film, but with the illusion of depth. It adds to the spectacle of the film but does not add anything fundamentally new to the creative work. This work was somewhat different. Buerkner uses the technology to create genuinely 3D animations that can not be appreciated without the glasses on. Shards of light emanate from the screen, interacting with the subject matter, shifting your perspective and creating an effect that reminded me of early cubist painting. This was matched by a fractured narrative that further draws you in to the work.
I decided to get up from the bench and see if the 3D effect still worked up close to the screen. It did, and by moving around in front of the screen you get an extra opportunity to explore the imagery.
Sebastian's web site is at www.sebastianbuerkner.com. I took some pictures, but, of course, they don't show the 3D effect. If you get an opportunity to see any of his work in the future I'd recommend taking it.
My "Symbiotic" exhibition with Genetic Moo at Phoenix has come to an end. It ran for just over two weeks and seems to have gone down well.
In many ways this show embodied the three years of research I have done on my PhD. The key idea in the show - that digital artworks can be made to interact with each other as well as the human visitors - is one of the main themes of my research.
All I now need to do is analyse all of the data I captured during the show and demonstrate that this happened during the Symbiotic exhibition and that it was a worthwhile thing to do from an audience perspective!
I took many pictures during the exhibition and did a walkthrough - filmed by Steve Friendship - in which I discuss the works. These materials can be found on my project page at http://www.seanclark.me.uk/symbiotic.html.
Genetic Moo have also documented the show at http://www.geneticmoo.com/symbiotic.php.
The exhibition features artworks by Genetic Moo and myself that are designed to interact with each other as well as their audience. It represents the culmination of three years of my PhD research and introduces my concept of "Digital Art Ecologies". I will be writing more about this soon.
The show runs until 4th December in the Phoenix Cube space. Entry is free. If you are interested in helping with my research by completing some evaluation forms please get in touch.
Pictures from the opening plus background information about the artworks on display can be found here.
The Intuition and Ingenuity exhibition has finished it's run at Phoenix in Leicester. The exhibition was very well received and I have had lots of positive feedback about it. Many thanks to the curators (Anna Dumitriu, Nick Lambert and Sue Gollifer), the artists, all those who supported it, and the many visitors.
My documentation of the show is online at http://www.seanclark.me.uk/intuitionandingenuity.html and will remain there for the foreseeable future. If you did manage to miss the exhibition then there will be a final exhibition at Bletchley Park - where Alan Turing was based during the war - in the new year. Keep an eye on http://www.turingcentenaryarts.eu for details.
As the Intuition and Ingenuity exhibition of artwork inspired by mathematician Alan Turing draws to a close, there will be an opportunity to meet many of the artists involved in the exhibition as part of an afternoon of talks and live demonstrations. "Behind Intuition and Ingenuity" starts at 2pm on Saturday 3th November at Phoenix in Leicester and is open to all. Speakers confirmed so far include Alex May and Anna Dumitriu with their robot companion (pictured), Vicky Isley and Paul Smith from boredomresearch, Tom Castle from the Trope Troupe, Sean Clark from DMU, Nick Lambert, Chair of the Computer Arts Society and others to be confirmed. The Intuition and Ingenuity exhibition itself runs until 9th November, so there is still plenty of time to see it. Entry to both the exhibition and afternoon of talks on the 3rd is free.
On Monday 19th November from 6pm at Phoenix there will be a digital arts masterclass from four internationally recognised pioneers in the field of algorithmic art. "Algorithmic Dimension" will be an unmissable event featuring Ernest Edmonds, Manfred Mohr, Frieder Nake and Roman Verostko. The evening is being chaired by Dr Francesca Franco from the Institute of Creative Technologies at DMU and will include lectures and discussions from these leading figures in the development of digital arts and there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Although the event is free, is likely to be popular, so booking a place in advance is advised.
Also on Monday 19th November, at 6pm (just prior to the masterclass) there will be the opening of Sean Clark and Generic Moo's exhibition in the DMU Cube at Phoenix. The exhibition, entitled "Symbiotic", features six artworks that have been designed to interact with each other as well as their human visitors. It is the first time that this work has been shown in public, so is another first for Phoenix. Entry is free.
Finally, on Saturday 24th November there will be an all day event at Phoenix entitled "Creative Technology Live". This will feature talks and workshops by users of the popular Ableton Live music creation software and related technologies. The event starts at 10am. Tickets are priced £10 and £8 concessions.
For more information about any of these events, and others at the Phoenix, you can call the Phoenix Box Office on 0116 242 2800, email email@example.com or visit their website at www.phoenix.org.uk.
I've just seen the full Phoenix line-up for next month and I see there are even more digital arts events happening in the city. From the 9th November through to 7th December there is an exhibition in the Phoenix Cafébar entitled "Playback". This features QR codes, stickers and flyers that give you access to various interactive exhibits. Looks interesting.
There's also a workshop and performance entitled "Binaural Experience" that involves the amazing Dirty Electronics Ensemble. This is happening on the 10th November, with the workshop during the day and the performance in the evening from 6:15pm. You can book on the Phoenix website.
I should also make sure people are aware of the Full Dome 3D film festival happening at the National Space Centre on the 16th and 17th November. This should be quite an experience.
Digital arts in Leicester is becoming an embarrassment of riches!