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Sean Clark's Blog

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Sun, 27 May 2018
Pixel Art Workshop

Today I ran a PixelArt workshop as part of the Spark Festival at Phoenix in Leicester. The main purpose of the workshop was to have some fun, but it is also part of a project I have been working on. The idea is to create a system for creating and exchanging 16 x 16 pixel images via an app and have them displayed on LED panels. You can see the results of todays workshop here, but also keep an eye out for future developments.

Fri, 25 May 2018
CAS50 Exhibition Opening

Wednesday night was the opening of the CAS50: Fifty Years of the Computer Arts Society exhibition at the LCB Lightbox Gallery in Leicester. The exhibition features work by 12 internationally recognised computer artists who have been associated with the society over the years.

Eight of the exhibitors attended the exhibition, together with many other CAS members and interested people. The Guest of Honour was George Mallen, one of the three original founders of the Computer Arts Society in 1968.

The exhibition is on until the 15th June. Opening times can be found on the exhibition web site at http://interactdigitalarts.uk/cas50. Photographs from the opening can be found on Flickr here.

For more information about the Computer Arts Society visit http://computer-arts-society.com/.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018
Creative Connections Exhibition in China

Tonight is the opening of the Creative Connections: East meets West exhibition at Guangdong University in southern China. It represents the first major public output of my activities at the University since I began teaching at GDUT in April 2017.

The exhibition takes place at the 729 Art Cafe on the Dongfeng Road campus of GDUT in Guangzhou. It features work by artists from De Montfort University in Leicester, UK with further contributions from artists and designers from Guangzhou. Importantly, it also has work by some of the students involved in my teaching.

Working in China can be a bit confusing and chaotic at times. But I have found it ultimately very rewarding. I think that this exhibition illustrates this. The work from both the UK and Chinese sides is of high-quality and I think bringing it together will ultimately lead to new collaborations between the exhibitors.

See the exhibition web page (http://interactdigitalarts.uk/creativeconnections) for more details, the exhibition catalogue and photographs.

Wed, 03 Jan 2018
Archive Update

I've been hosting my own websites since October 1993 - that'll be for an astonishing 25 years this year. Over this time I've built up a pretty extensive on-line archive of my creative activities that includes copies of websites, pictures, videos, software and so on.

My plan for the future is to turn this archive in to something of an annotated record of early "digital culture" (from my personal perspective). Perhaps with reflections and eventually interviews with the people I have worked with over the years. I've been making some progress towards this, with the Cyberculture exhibition in summer 2017 being the first public outing.

You might think that "preserving" digital materials is easy. After all, unlike physical objects you don't need much space to store them, and you can make as many copies as you like. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Websites can stop working due to changes in how the web works. Plug-ins change, older video formats no longer work and links break. Also, old software may not run on modern computers and CD-ROMs, videos and other physical media my no-longer be readable. For this reason I regularly check through my on-line archive and have build up a collection of old computers to run early software.

For artists in particular there's also a very practical consideration. If (like me) you think that reflection is a vital part of the creative process and you don't document your activities (and update your archive regularly) you will end up not updating it at all. Forgetting to document is a perpetual problem, and just taking a few pictures on your phone is rarely enough.

I've just finished this year's review. Pictures have been uploaded to Flickr and sorted, web pages have been updated and I've run through old sites looking for broken links. Everything seems in good shape. I just wish I could say the same for those shelves of non-digital things currently taking up shelf space in my studio!

If you want to have a look at my web archive then visit http://interactdigitalarts.uk/archive. Oh, and not forgetting http://theartofcrass.uk, http://seanclark.me.uk and http://nemeton.com...

Wed, 06 Dec 2017
Resonance Exhibition Opening

The Resonance exhibition of work by myself and Esther Rolinson is now open at the LCB Depot in Leicester. It runs until Friday 22nd December, with the last night coinciding with the famous Canteen street food event at LCB.

I'm very pleased with the exhibition. I think it is a coherent presentation of work by two artists who work in very different ways, but have shared underlying interests. Both Esther and myself are interested in "systems" and you can see this interest expressed throughout the work in the exhibition.

I am particularly happy with my new digital pieces. Both the larger and smaller framed LCD screens look really smart and build on the work I have done before on hiding the technology I use as much as possible. These new frames are down to local woodworker Steve Lynch who laser cut, assembled and painted the screen mounts.

Expect to see the framing of my work to develop more over the coming year.

You can find photographs from the exhibition opening at http://interactdigitalarts.uk/resonance.

Thu, 30 Nov 2017
Resonance: Esther Rolinson and Sean Clark Exhibition

On the 6th December at the LCB Depot in Leicester atwe will be opening an exhibition of new work by Esther Rolinson and myself. This exhibition will be an opportunity for both of us to show some of our new individual work, as well as the collaborative pieces we are currently working on.

It will be the first time that we have exhibited together in this way and is the first time we have shown joint work in my creative hometown of Leicester. The exhibition will open around 6pm and continue until 9pm, with talks between 7pm and 8pm. There will, of course, be drinks.

If you want to come along, it is free, then see the details on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/350194088739601/) or the exhibition web page at http://interactdigitalarts.uk/resonance.

Sun, 27 Aug 2017
The KLF Welcome Us To The Dark Ages

After a 23 year absence Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond aka The KLF, The JAMs, K Foundation etc. returned with a three day event in Liverpool called Welcome to the Dark Ages. The 400 of us with tickets reflected on the past (why did they burn a million quid?), explored the present (we were all given pages of their new book to look after. I am custodian of page 281) and were introduced to the future (the KLF are now funeral directors).

It was an amazing spectacle to be involved in. It was also one that will take a while to sink in. So, rather than write about it in detail I am simply sharing the media I captured during the event - video and photographs. At some point I will write a post about it on my blog. I've also added links to press articles and web pages about the event.

I could see that lots of people were recording things over the three days. I think we should collate it and make a film to document the event. Maybe after a suitable break to allow reflection? If you like the idea please get in touch.

You can find my video and pictures of the event all in one place here, or on YouTube and Flickr.

Sun, 18 Jun 2017
REND386 World

As part of the Cyberculture exhibition in Leicester I've launched my first Google Cardboard Virtual Reality app. REND386 World takes classic VR "worlds" from the 1990s and presents them for Cardboard v2. Currently it is only on Android, but iOS, Oculus and Vive versions will be coming soon. Download it for free now from the Google Play Store. Search for "REND386 World" or follow the link to http://interactdigitalarts.uk/rend386.

Sun, 11 Jun 2017
Cyberculture Pt3: 25 Years Later

Twenty five years on and the era of 'cyberculture' seems like a long time ago. The internet (no capital 'I' any more) is now an integral part of our lives, Virtual Reality less so, predictions of the end of national borders havn't really happened, but we do have Facebook and social media, which are sort of borderless. Connectivity is truly ubiquitous and we have faster internet in our pockets that we every imagined possible in the 1990s. In fact, smartphones encapsulate much of what we imagines the internet could be.

When thinking about those times I was struck by the fact that 25 years means that an entire generation has grown up taking the Internet for granted. They probably can't imagine that there was a time without it, nor do they realise that there was a time when the rules were up for grabs. For those of us who were around I'm sure memories are fading and we may not realise how important those times were.

It was for these reasons that I thought it was time to start cataloging my collection of materials from the era and looking for opportunities to exhibited. The first outcome of this work are what I am now calling the "Nemeton Archive" at nemeton.com. This collects all of my online materials from the early 1990, the websites for The Shamen and other early websites, lists of books and videos and so on.

The second is the exhibition "Cyberculture: The Beginning of the Modern World" at The LCB Depot in Leicester. This will run until 17th June 2017 and culminates with an all-date event of music, performance, videos, talks, Virtual Reality art by William Latham and a rare show by the Oscillate Sound System and Higher Intelligence Agency.

See http://interactdigitalarts.uk/cyberculture for details.

Hopefully this will lead to more activities in the future. If you have any materials to contribute to the archive please let me know. Follow me on Facebook for Twitter for future news.

Sat, 20 May 2017
Cyberculture Pt2: ...and the Birth of Cyberculture

The rise of the Internet was not just about technology. For many people it was part of a vision that saw digital technology as having the potential to create a new world without national borders or governments, where all information would be free and where human consciousness would be lifted to a new level. The Internet was a new electronic frontier, a place they called "Cyberspace".

People interested in this vision met online in places such as the The WELL (established in 1985) and at night clubs like Cyberseed and Megatripolis in London (1993). Their ideas mixed with those from previous counter-culture movements and new figureheads emerged. John Perry Barlow from the Grateful Dead formed the Electronic Frontier Foundation (1990) to protect online rights, R U Series published Mondo 2000, essential reading for all would-be cyberpunks. Bruce Sterling wrote about The Hacker Crackdown (1993). Fans of electronic music, computer graphics and Virtual Reality became involved and by 1993 "Cyberculture" was fully formed and ready to make use of the newly-public Internet and World Wide Web.

For me it meant using my Internet skills for more than University research. From running cybercaffs at the Oscillate club in Birmingham, homebrew VR at Megatripolis, websites and live events for The Shamen and other bands, writing for the new Internet press, to touring as a VJ at gigs and festivals.

But almost 25 years later does any of this matter?

http://interactdigitalarts.uk/cyberculture

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