Phoenix Exhibitions and Events

As part of my on-going documentation of digital arts in Leicester have been compiling a list of past exhibitions and events at Phoenix (known as Phoenix Square from November 2009 to September 2012). Much of this content has come from the Phoenix website at, but I am also adding my own archival materials and annotations where appropriate. If you spot any omissions or errors please let me know.

Events pre-November 2009 took place at the Phoenix Art Centre on Upper Brown Street and have been included to show how the 'old Phoenix' began to engage with digital arts prior to its move to the Cultural Quarter in November 2009. This part of the archive will be incomplete since I tended to only document the digital arts events I was involved in.

Fri, 20 Nov 2009 - Fri, 18 Dec 2009
Bret Battey / cMatrix12
Bret Battey / cMatrix12

Computer-realised Video & Sound

"Perhaps there is something deeper to be changed in one's life than merely shifting the dramas with which one self identifies"

In 'cMatrix12' Bret Battey shows us a glimpse of a fleeting world that is going through a process of constant transformation. A mass of flowing particles and intricate patterns of sound weave through this world. Sometimes they form scattered clouds, at other times they come together into graceful arcs of sweeping motion. Battey sees each of these patterns as a drama. We watch as these dramas grow in beauty and complexity, yet soon they fall away, just as quickly as they appeared. As they flow in and out of existence we see them for what they are: temporary expressions of an underlying process. Through 'cMatrix12', Battey encourages us to look beyond the brief and transient in our lives in search of something more fundamental.

Battey describes 'cMatrix12' as a 'generative' artwork. That is, the sound and visuals are created by following a set of rules, a process programmed into a computer by the artist. In the visual process individual pixels are pulled into a spinning 3D space, like a 3D spirograph. Dr. Bret Battey is a Senior Lecturer in Music, Technology and Innovation at De Montfort University. His work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the File Hipersonica festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Thu, 19 Nov 2009
Phoenix Square Opening Event

The Leicester City Vouncil report on the opening of Phoenix Square:

Phoenix Square opening hailed as a success

November 20, 2009

LEICESTER'S new film and digital media centre has been launched in a spectacular public event which saw almost 2,000 visitors through its doors.

Phoenix Square – the city's new £21.5m complex – opened on Thursday, November 19, with a day-long public opening event.

Visitors who had queued for a first glimpse inside the new centre were in for a treated to displays of sound, light, art, film and computer generation, proving that Leicester is leading the way for creative technology industries.

Phoenix Square is the result of a partnership project between Blueprint, Phoenix and Leicester City Council in collaboration with De Montfort University, and is an example of 21st century sustainable building design, coupled with leading-edge architectural quality.

Speaking at the launch, Leicester City Council leader, Cllr Ross Willmott, said: "Phoenix Square is the all-important third piece of the jigsaw. We now have a state-of-the-art film and digital media centre in the Cultural Quarter to complement Curve, our award-winning theatre, and the LCB Depot, which is home to dozens of creative businesses.

"Thanks to our partnership with Blueprint, and our collaboration with De Montfort University, Leicester now has a facility that can only enhance the city's reputation as a hub for cultural excellence and innovation."

Visitors got the chance to explore a virtual version of Roman Leicester, in an interactive project by De Montfort University, or experience a presentation by artists None of the Above which created 3-D images based on sounds gathered from around Leicester.

The event also showcased Professor Martin Rieser's giant outdoor Songlines projection, Dr Bret Battey's showcase of the DMU Cube, and Steve Gibson and Stefan Muller Arisona's Exploding Plastic and Inevitable Redux – a dramatic psychadelic digital moving art show – plus a live performance from Sancho Plan, which mixed music and moving visual art.

Developers Blueprint also commissioned a 3D art installation called 'Life in the Cultural Quarter' by former DMU student, Sally Rose Renner. Youngsters from Eyres Monsell and St Marks also starred in a spectacular outdoor light show by public art group Urban Canvas .

Blueprint development director Peter Connolly said: "The atmosphere for the launch was incredible. Phoenix Square is designed to be a vibrant, creative place, in the heart of Leicester's St George's district, and it looks like we've achieved that.

"The opening was the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment by a large group of people across both the public and private sectors and I think the events of this week are testament to that."

Phoenix Square houses two dedicated 3D cinemas and visitors to the launch were able to view a series of showreels and trailers, giving them a taste of the films they will be able to experience from the published list of screenings for the next few months.

Professor Andrew Hugill, Director of the Institute of Creative Technologies, said: "The launch event has demonstrated the fantastic capabilities of Phoenix Square to present the leading-edge research of De Montfort University's Institute Of Creative Technologies to a wider public.

"With facilities such as the DMU Cube, the screen lounge, the micro-cinema, the large screens and production studios, and the managed workspaces, we are going to be able to connect our work to the digital culture in new and previously unimaginable ways."

Ted Cassidy MBE, Chair of Phoenix Square Film and Digital Media, added: "You could feel the excitement of everybody who visited this stunning building over the last few days and seeing the amazing facilities and activities we offer, which are new to Leicester, new to the region and in many ways new to the UK.

"We have a great staff team, an electrifying programme assisted by our creative relationship with De Montfort University and an ingenious building that any city would be proud of."

Wed, 05 Aug 2009 - Thu, 18 Oct 2012
Stench IV at The Phoenix
Stench IV at The Phoenix

Friday 5th June 2009, 8pm, £5
Phoenix Arts

Birmingham-based Modulate (Oscillate/Higher Intelligence Agency) are a digital arts collective exploring experimental sound and audio visual. They will be performing a live set using multi-speakers and multiple video-projectors. A rare multimedia treat!

Mick Grierson
Mick Grierson brings his noise machine in the form of hypnotic visuals and cascading noise, and having previously been involved in an episode of Derren Brown Trick of the Mind II, where he made an interactive computer game installation that was used to 'mash someones brain'.

Burntprogress present Open CDR at STENCH
An opportunity for electronic musicians to hear their works in progress to be heard out loud amongst a like minded audience. Submissions of Head-Knod/Snare-Snap/Sub-woofer resonating beats/loops/ambience will be played during 'Open CDR'.

James Kelly and Cuttlefish
James Kelly is a Turntablist with an obsession for records. This continues even when he's asleep, with a recurring dream about record shopping and an endless search for vinyl. STENCH 4 sees James manipulating vinyl samples and field recordings to create a new work which is part improvisation part composition as sounds are remixed using DJ scratch techniques in performance, accompanied by live visuals from Cuttlefish.

Stench TV / ArtScanner
Upload your videos and pictures to the Stench website to have them shown on screens in The Pheonix bar and foyer.

Fri, 27 Mar 2009 - Thu, 18 Oct 2012
Stench III at The Phoenix
Stench III at The Phoenix

STENCH returns with an audio-visual feast of ear and eye shaking, featuring 7inch Cinema, Cuttlefish, Myoptik, Bathysphere, Dirty Electronics Ensemble, Okoku Araya, Chris Conway's Quad Electronic and others. The Phoenix provides the setting for multiple screen and loudspeaker projections, electronic bleeps and laser visuals, with late bar and DJs.

STENCH is an artist-led forum that brings innovative and experimental performance in Leicester. Regular events bring together local and international artists with a focus on sonic art, improvisation, installations, interactive experiments, visualisations, new media art and exhibitions.

During the event STENCH will also be launching their new online community at Visit the site the week before the show to upload your content and see it on the foyer screens on the night.