Sean Clark's Blog
One of the things about making art with digital technology is that your chosen medium never stands still! It's one of the reasons that digital artists often work with programmers and technicians to help realise their work. In fact, even though I've had both a computing and arts education it's still tough to keep up with the pace of technological development and new platforms often mean a steep learning curve.
A technology that is providing some interesting opportunities for artists is the smartphone - especially iPhone and Android. I really like the personal nature of the mobile device and have got a number of arts projects lined-up that I would like to see on smartphones. But what about the learning curve I needed to get up to speed with development for this technology?
One project I have in the pipeline at the moment is an Earth-centred calendar smartphone app containing the artwork of Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid. The EightFoldYear app aims to show people their current place in the year in relation to the flow of the seasons. It will display the current lunar phase, current division of the wheel of the year, forthcoming festivals and a new artwork that Jamie has created for every day of the year.
However, then the problems started. While things worked well in the iPhone simulator, when trying to build the app and download it to my iPhone I kept on getting crashes. Looking through the Appcelerator support pages I saw that I was not the only one. It seems as if the platform is still very much under-construction and does suffer from quite a few bugs. Also, I've now downloaded quite a few apps on the App Store that have been developed using it and can see that some are a bit rough around the edges.
But it's not all bad news. I have managed to produce a fairly decent prototype for EightFoldYear app using Appcelerator which I can now hand over to Cuttlefish's iPhone developer for building "properly". I also think that with a bit more development Appcelerator could become a pretty decent tool for smartphone development. I've looked at a few such tools and this one really does have potential. For now though, it's going to remain for me only as prototyping environment.
As for the EightFoldYear app. It will be available from the App Store later in the year. Follow the Cuttlefish Digital Arts Facebook Group for any announcements about it.
Cuttlefish is 10 years old this week! Yup, it's 10 years since I decided to leave a guaranteed monthly pay packet behind and start working for myself. Looking back the decision made itself. The company I had been working for was leaving me very creatively unfulfilled and I really had take my experience and expertise somewhere else.
I set up the business in 2001 with the simple goal of (as you can see on this screen-grab from the early Cuttlefish site) "exploring the creative uses of technology". This still remains Cuttlefish's core aim to this day (especially on the Cuttlefish Digital Arts side of things) and over the years we have brought our creative approach to the internet and multimedia to a broad range of clients from local authorities to large plcs, business and educational establishments, art organisations and individual artists. We've managed to handle almost anything thrown at us - be it websites, CD-ROMs, web services, e-commerce systems and or, as is increasingly the case, iPhone Apps.
One of the early hopes of working for myself was that I would be able to devote more time to developing my arts practice. This has certainly been the case and in recent years I've even been able to re-enter the world of research by firstly doing a research-led MA at Camberwell College of Arts in 2006 to 2008 and now working towards at PhD in Digital Arts at De Montfort University in Leicester.
So, what do I think are the secrets of running a creative business for 10 years? Well, the first surely has to be getting a good team around you and learning how to delegate (which is tough). The next is believing in what you do and not seeing the business simply as a 'money making machine'. Lastly, I reckon, is knowing how to initiate and manage change. When I think how the web industry has changed in 10 years it's scary. Does anything work the same as it did then? I mean, we didn't even have Facebook.
The Institute of Creative Technologies and the Computer Arts Society have the pleasure of hosting a talk by Ernest Edmonds at 5pm on 19th January at the IOCT Lab at De Montfort University.
Ernest Edmonds was born in London and studied Mathematics and Philosophy at Leicester University. He has a PhD in logic from Nottingham University, is a Fellow of the British Comuter Society, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and a Charted Engineer. He is a practicing artist.
He lives and works in Sydney Australia. His art is in the constructivist tradition and he first used computers in his art practice in 1968. He first showed an interactive work with Stroud Cornock in 1970. He first showed a generative time-based computer work in London in 1985. He has exhibited throughout the world, from Moscow to LA. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is collecting his archives within the National Archive of Computer Based Art and Design.
He has over 200 refereed publications in the fields of human-computer interaction, creativity and art. Artists Bookworks (UK) has recently published his book "On New Constructs in Art". Ernest Edmonds is Professor of Computation and Creative Media at the University of Technology, Sydney where he runs a multi-disciplinary practice-based art and technology research group, the Creativity and Cognition Studios. In Sydney, he is represented by the Conny Dietzschold Gallery.
Ernest Edmonds has held the position of University Dean, has sat on many funding and conference committees and was a pioneer in the development of practice-based PhD programmes. He founded the ACM Creativity and Cognition Conference series and was part of the founding team for the ACM Intelligent User Interface conference series. He has been an invited speaker in, for example, the UK, France, the USA, Australia, Japan and Malaysia.
The talk free is open to all. Contact Sean Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. You can find the IOCT Lab at point 21 on the following map. This is the first in what we hope will be a regular programme of CAS talks to be held in the Midlands.
I love finding old hard drives, you never know what you are going to find! On an old 12Gb USB drive I found a few gems. There were a whole bundle of pictures from a Shamen show at The Forum in 1995 plus some pictures from a Zion Train show in the early 2000s. I also found some good video material. There were some Zion Train videos from Glastonbury 2000, a Love Grocer video from 2003 and some video footage from the Fragments of Identity installation in 2003.
I've uploaded a whole bunch of articles and cover scans from my magazine work in the mid-1990s. It includes articles about The Shamen, William Latham, Virtual Reality, art on the net, mobile Internet, education and more. In most cases these topics are still things I've remained interested and it's fun to see just how far things have come on over the years - or not in some cases.
You can find the scans at:
In the late 1990s I created a Web site for dub band Zion Train who were on China Records. "WobblyWeb" was filled with links to informative and bizarre sites selected by the band together with odd facts and general strangeness. Cuttlefish Multimedia still runs WobblyWeb for the current band - although it is now much more focused on dub music! The screen-grabs on this page were recovered from the archive.org "waybackmachine".
After a lucky find on an old hard disk I have been able to re-upload a complete version of Nemeton - The Shamen's Web site. I've given the site a bit of a tidy in order to remove broken links, but it is pretty much as it was when The Shamen split in 1999.
'Flow' was and installation by Geoff Groadway and Sean Clark which took place at the Q Gallery in Derby in 2000. It explored elements of personal change and transformation through a continued interest in the creative possibilities of the oral-history document and experimental moving image and sound techniques. A record of the installation is now available.