Sean Clark's Blog
The Interact Gallery is starting to take shape. Adam at Fabrika has been refitting the gallery with false walls, a new ceiling, flooring and moor and I have been getting the computer equipment together.
It should all come together ready for our launch event on the 22nd August. See interactgallery.co.uk for details.
Today marks the start of the final week of my Memory Mirror exhibition at Phoenix Square in Leicester. The interactive artwork seems to have gone down well sand has captured over 2,000 video clips of visitors. I‘ll work out how many visitors this represents, but it must be in the hundreds.
See the Phoenix Square website for information about the exhibition.
Things are starting to come together with my next big project - The Interact Gallery. This will be a number of things. Firstly, it will be Leicester‘s first dedicated interactive and digital art gallery. It will be located upstairs at Fabrika, The Independent Art Centre on Humberstone Gate and will open in August 2011 with an exhibition of new work produced during my PhD. Secondly, it will be a curatorial organisation with the goal of finding the best digital art talent in the East Midlands and finding opportunities to show their work. More information will follow soon, for now though, if you want to know more get in touch or join the nascent Facebook group.
Sparking The Imagination is a digital arts event for kids running over the weekend of 11th and 12th June at Phoenix Square in Leicester. I was invited to contribute some work to it and used it as an opportunity to try out some of my work in progress.
In Screen 2 I installed a version of my “Active Mirror", which (in this case) overlays multiple live video loops to create a highly engaging and interactive video screen.
In the cafe area I set up a “Picture Wall". This is a version of my Dropsketch project which allows people to share drawings made on iOS devices. Kids were able to use the supplied iPods and iPad to make drawings and then “drop" them on the large screen by shaking the device.
Around the building I set up a QR Trail. Twelve QR codes placed around the downstairs could be scanned and a riddle was displaced. The answer to the riddle provided a clue to the secret word that could be used to get a treat from the Phoenix Square reception.
All three pieces worked well and the chance to test out some of this technology in front of an audience was most welcome. You‘ll see various bits of these pieces in my forthcoming exhibition at Fabrika in the autumn.
As part of the build-up to my autumn exhibition I‘ve been looking for opportunities to test my new digital arts technology. For Speakeasy‘s “Visitor" Spark Festival show (with Movers) I set up two interactive pieces based on my current work.
The first was an implementation of one of my “active mirror" systems that allows viewers to interact with their own image via a video feedback loop. The second used face detection to grab video images of viewers and add them to a collage of flower heads. Both systems worked well and got good user feedback. They also performed well technically – although they did remind me of how important it is to get the lighting right in video-based systems like this.
One idea I‘ve been considering to help with this is to develop active control of the brightness/contrast of the incoming video image before I feed it in to my art systems. This would allow the artworks to function better in varied lighting environments.
You may have seen these colour grids popping up in my Twitter and Facebook streams over the past month. They are part of a geoartcache project called "Hunter Gatherer" by my fellow PhD researcher Jackie Calderwood. I've been building an iPhone App and website for Jackie to support he project, which officially launches today. See http://www.gatherer3.com to find out more and to participate in the project.
Cuttlefish has been working with artist Simon Faithfull to create a custom drawing tool to enable him to create drawings on his iPhone in keeping with his established drawing style. The project launched with Simon doing a one week residency on a cross-channel ferry.
During the residency he produced and uploaded 57 drawings to his website via the drawing tool. Viewers could follow the drawings via Twitter, Facebook and another custom iPhone App called "Limbo" that we produced and uploaded to the Apple App store.
It's been a really interesting project to work on and this is really only the start of it. Simon will continue create and upload drawings as he produces "an expanded atlas of subjectivity". See http://limbo.simonfaithfull.org for more about the project and to download the Limbo iPhone App.
The Spark Festival is Leicester's annual Children's Arts Festival. It runs for two weeks from the end of May. Cuttlefish Multimedia has been doing the website for the festival for a couple of years now and this year has produced an iPhone guide to the event.
I'm also involved in doing some digital arts work this year, with a couple of small pieces being shown at Speakeasy's "Visitor" show and three pieces of work at "Sparking The Imagination" on 11th and 12th June at Phoenix Square. I'll post more information about this event soon.
I'm just back from by third visit to Schumacher College in Totnes. The one week course was on the subject of "The Divided Brain" with Iain McGilchrist. As with my previous visits, it was an inspiring time. Iain's book "The Master and His Emissary" deals with the way we see and value the world around us. The core argument is that the two hemispheres of our brains do this quite differently. McGilchrist believes that the interaction between these two "world views" (the left and right hemisphere's) has had profound impact on our psychological and cultural development. It's heady stuff (no pun intended) and he presents a very compelling and well-supported hypothesis. I'll try to write more about it when it's fully sunk in.
It is time for another killer line-up of mind-bending multimedia electronics at the Leicester Arts Organisation. The full line-up for the event is:
Dirty Electronics Ensemble
Sluef and the Envelope
DJ Support from:
Asmo (Bathysphere.co.uk) and Missaw (TheCentrifuge.co.uk)
Thursday 21st April, Fabrika (The Independent Arts Organisation) 8pm to 1am. Tickets £5 available on the door.