Sean Clark's Unofficial Phoenix Digital Arts Blog

I am a digital artist, a researcher, the director of web/mobile developer Cuttlefish. 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.

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Fri, 16 Nov 2012
Intuition and Ingenuity Finishes at Phoenix
Intuition and Ingenuity Finishes at Phoenix

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.

Thu, 25 Oct 2012
Digital Arts at Phoenix in November 2012
Digital Arts at Phoenix in November 2012

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 hello@phoneix.org.uk or visit their website at www.phoenix.org.uk.

STOP PRESS

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!

Tue, 23 Oct 2012
Algorithmic Dimension: A Digital Arts Masterclass with Ernest Edmonds, Manfred Mohr, Frieder Nake and Roman Verostko
Algorithmic Dimension: A Digital Arts Masterclass with Ernest Edmonds, Manfred Mohr, Frieder Nake and Roman Verostko

We have a very special event coming to Leicester on the 19th November. Digital arts pioneers Ernest Edmonds, Manfred Mohr, Frieder Nake and Roman Verostko will be presenting a "masterclass" at Phoenix.

To quote the event publicity:

"Four pioneers in the world of digital arts will lead a Masterclass in this free event for artists, students and anyone interested in learning more about the history and practice of this field.

"Algorithmic Dimension offers an excellent opportunity to take part in lectures and discussions with leading figures in the digital arts.

"Focussing on the relationship between computer programming, art and creativity, each speaker will explore the role of programming in their work, looking at how their practice has kept pace with the rapid advance of technology in recent decades.

"Chaired by Dr Francesca Franco and organised by De Montfort University in partnership with Phoenix. Free, but booking is advised as places are limited. Contact the box office to reserve your place."

I've created a web page about the event with some background information and web links at:

http://www.seanclark.me.uk/algorithmicdimension.html

I'd strongly recommend booking a place. It's going to be a rare opportunity indeed.

Tue, 16 Oct 2012
Symbiotic
Symbiotic

Symbiotic is an exploratory exhibition of interacting artworks by London-based arts group Genetic Moo and Leicester digital artist Sean Clark. Premiering at the Phoenix Cube gallery in Leicester on 19th November 2012 and running until 4th December, it features six multimedia artworks that interact with each other as well as their human visitors. The artworks communicate through colour and sound and work together to form a complex whole that actively responds to the presence of visitors and changes in the gallery environment. When you enter the gallery you become part of the artworks, helping them grow and triggering the creation of new symbiotic relationships.

There will be an opportunity to meet the artists and talk about the ideas contained within their artwork at a workshop as part of Creative Technology Live on 24th November 2012. The artists will be evaluating the exhibition on the 3rd and 4th December 2012. If you would like to give your feedback during these sessions please contact Sean Clark at seanc@cuttlefish.com.

Mon, 08 Oct 2012
Digital Arts In Leicester
Digital Arts In Leicester

Earlier in the year I posted about my hope to bring the Alan Turing inspired exhibition "Intuition and Ingenuity" to Leicester. Well, I'm very happy to say that thanks to the support of Phoenix and The Computer Arts Society it will be here in the city for the coming month.

The private view starts downstairs at Phoenix today (Monday) from 6:30pm. All are welcome to attend. Artwork will be on display in the Cube, the Cafe Bar and on Screen 3.

The exhibition runs until 9th November. I will be documenting it here. There will be a "Meet the Robots" day on 3rd November where two art robots will also be on show at Phoenix. This will hopefully be accompanied by talks. I'll confirm as soon as I know the schedule.

There are quite a few other digital arts events coming up in Leicester over the coming months:

  • On the 16th/17th November there is the Full Dome (360 degree) Film Festival at the National Space Centre. This event is also here with Computer Arts Society support.
  • There will be a Digital Arts Masterclass at Phoenix on 19th November with some amazing speakers lined up. A full announcement will follow soon.
  • The 19th November is also the start of my joint exhibition with Genetic Moo at the Phoenix. This is the final piece of work for my PhD and is titled "Symbiotic".
  • On the 24th November at Phoenix there will be a Creative Technology Live event in the style of the Max/MSP one in January.

Also, I was recently asked to write something for the Leicester Mercury about digital arts in Leicester. The article will be appearing in the Culture Guide that will come with the paper on Tuesday. There should also be free copies around various venues in Leicester. The text of the article can be found here.

I'm doing my best to maintain a guide to all digital arts activity in Leicester here on my blog. Let me know if you are organising anything else digital arts related that I've missed. Any events that get entered here will also form part of the larger Leicester Events Guide.

Fri, 21 Sep 2012
Intuition and Ingenuity at Phoenix
Intuition and Ingenuity at Phoenix

Earlier in the year I was fortunate enough to visit the Intuition and Ingenuity exhibition in Sheffield as part of the LoveBytes. Part of the Alan Turing Cenentary, the exhibition featured work by artists inspired by Alan Turing's life and work. My report on that exhibition and the pictures I took can be found here.

Well, I'm excited to say that the exhibition will be coming to Phoenix in Leicester next month. A selection of slightly different work will be on display in both the Phoenix Cube and Cafe and there will be both an opening event and an evening of talks later in the month.

This is a real coup for Leicester. Some of the work on display can genuinely be seen as seminal in the field of digital arts. The event is co-sponsored the BCS Computer Arts Society and represents part of an ongoing relationship between CAS and Phoenix.

The show runs at Phoenix from 8th October to 9th November. There will be an opening event on the evening of the 8th October and an evening of talks on the 1st November.

Image: Shaping Form by Ernest Edmonds.

Wed, 12 Sep 2012
Secret Garden at Phoenix
Secret Garden at Phoenix

A new artwork by Martin Rieser and Andrew Hugill has just opened in the Cube Gallery at Phoenix. Secret Garden is described as "a contemporary retelling of the Garden of Eden story through a 'digital opera' - featuring Adam and Eve as computer-generated avatars and the Secret Garden as an idyllic three-dimensional 'augmented-reality' world." It is on show at Phoenix until 1st October 2012. See my Flickr page for a few pictures.

Tue, 14 Aug 2012
Exodus: Kampala to Leicester Digital Installations
Exodus: Kampala to Leicester Digital Installations

I've just finished helping Martin Rieser install his Exodus digital artworks at Phoenix Square. The exhibition features an Empedia audio trail from New Walk museum to Phoenix Square, an interactive wall of QR codes and a video installation at Phoenix itself. The project builds on work by Ashok Mistry that is currently on show at New Walk museum and explores the mass migration of Asian people from Uganda to the UK in 1972.

A couple of Cuttlefish technologies are being used in the project:

Firstly, Empedia - our locative media platform - is being used to run the audio trail. iPhone users can download the Empedia app from the App Store and use it to explore eleven audio pieces edited by Martin Rieser. Non-iPhone users can scan the QR codes on the route and listen to the audio that way. If you don't have a smartphone then you can still browse the trail on the Empedia website.

Secondly, the Interact Controller - a tone based installation controller for iPhone and Android - is being used to allow people to interact with the video installation in the Phoenix Cafe. This is a new piece of technology that was previously used in the Track Down project. I'll be writing more about it soon (once Apple approve the app in their store!).

The exhibition runs at Phoenix until the end of September, so there is plenty of time to see it.

Mon, 11 Jun 2012
Picture Wall at Sparking The Imagination
Picture Wall at Sparking The Imagination

Picture Wall - a version of Dropsketch for children - was installed at Phoenix Square this weekend as the part of Sparking The Imagination event. Young people were able add their own drawings to the wall using four supplied iPads, or by downloading the Spark Festival app on their own (or their parent's) iPhone or iPad. Over the two days of the event over 750 pictures were created and uploaded.

Over the coming week the pictures will be on display on the large screen in the Phoenix Square cafe. A selection of images from the event can be found on my Flickr site. If any young people want to play with the drawing tool it is still available within the Spark Festival app on the Apple App store.

Wed, 30 May 2012
Nick Lambert Talk
Nick Lambert Talk

Nick Lambert, the chairman of the Computer Arts Society gave a very interesting talk about the history of the society and computer arts at Phoenix Square last night. His talk was illustrated with pictures and videos of work from the past 40 years.

Pictures from the talk can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seancuttlefish/sets/72157629956829592/

A full video is now available here: https://vimeo.com/43333480

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