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, 10 Dec 2010
Adam Sooparayachetty / Secret Sounds
Adam Sooparayachetty / Secret Sounds

Part of the Cpulse @ Phoenix Square 'emerging artists' series

Secret Sounds is an interactive installation. People are invited to write their 'secrets' on to sheets of paper in a concealed corner of the installation space. The sound of the secret being written is projected into the installation space, joining with the echoes, the audible traces of previously written secrets. Once the secret is written the secret writer then shreds the secret and adds the shreds to a pile of previously shredded secrets. As more secrets are written, so the pile of shredded secrets grows.

The Secret Sound installation is one part of a three-part experiment - Voyeuristic Sounds - two parts of which are taking place during the Cpulse @ Phoenix III event (Dec 10th).

Environmental note: all paper used in the installation will be made from recycled stock, and all used paper will be sent for recycling.

Fri, 10 Dec 2010
cPulse III
cPulse III
Cpulse III (PDF, 9.9 Mb)
Wed, 24 Nov 2010
MTI Live Electronics Event
Mon, 01 Nov 2010 - Tue, 30 Nov 2010
Mark Boot / Focal Point
Mark Boot / Focal Point

Focal Point 2007, three screen video installation
Fibonacci Space Capacitors 2007
3D images 2010
DMU Cube
Mon 1 Nov – Tue 30 Nov

Focal Point is a video installation in three parts, each played concurrently and projected onto adjacent walls.

On each screen, you witness the same group of perspex tubes from a static view point. The only changing factor is the movement of a light source, and the subtle and complex modulations of light as it is reflected and refracted through layers of perspex lenses. Light and shadow become physical, often appearing to occupy space and move within it, while the material that controls them becomes ephemeral, and almost invisible.

This body of work began when Mark started making concentric plastic sculptures and noticed they produced 'spherical abherration', the same phenomenon that creates the heart shape of reflected light in the top of a tea-cup. Taking the sculptures into natural light, Mark found that as the sun rose and set the patterns of light and shadow changed, creating slow moving drawings of line and tone through time. This developed into the Focal Point video installation.

The components for the 'Space Capacitors' were arranged to create the perspex 'lightscapes' for the video work, when filming was finished the components were then assembled to make the 'Fibonacci Space Capacitor' sculptures.

The 3D image panels capture the Space Capacitors under very controlled lighting conditions. By focusing on internal spaces, these objects present the viewer with an abstract and interactive 3D visualisation of a space that is ambiguous in both scale and function.

Mark studied Sculpture at De Montfort University. He has shown nationally, and internationally and maintains a studio in Leicester.

This is the first time that Mark's video work and sculptures have been shown alongside Integral 3D images produced through collaborative research with Create-3D.

Mon, 01 Nov 2010 - Wed, 30 Nov 2011
Mark Boot / Chromophilia
Mark Boot / Chromophilia

Chromophilia 2009
Fluorobox 1 2010

Screen Lounge
Mon 1 Nov – Tue 30 Nov

Phoenix Square are pleased to premiere 'Chromophilia', a video work that has been developed from observing a group of small fluorescent sculptures in an ultra-violet space, alongside Fluorobox 1, a sculpture that exists within its own ultra-violet environment.

'Chromophilia' starts with a stop frame animation of three fluorescent sculptures rotating and colliding. At this point it is unclear as to whether we are watching digitally constructed objects or real 3D objects, but we are aware that these objects exist in space, albeit one of ambiguous scale, and that their colour and movement has a hypnotic attraction. As the camera zooms into a collision between two of the sculptures, they come to rest and we see that these objects are indeed real.

The emphasis then shifts to colour and tone as the same clip is pixelated and repeated until we have two adjacent squares of changing colour. Vivid colour and movement are transformed into a kaleidoscopic sequence of grids with complex colour relationships that gradually simplify to hypnotic modulation of two adjacent colours.

"Whilst making 'Chromophilia' I was very aware of the fact that the pay off for an abundance of digital information in our culture, particularly with respect to music and images, was that this data would come in a compressed form and therefore be a reduction in the original quality. I became concerned that for most people it was acceptable to trade quality for quantity.

As a reaction to this I used a finite amount of data – the original clip - and used pixelation, a process of digital of simplification to create a complex sequence of colour relationships." Mark Boot

Mark is also exhibiting in a group show 'Chromophilia' at the Pedestrian Gallery, Rutland Street from Fri 19 Nov to Tue 30 Nov.

Wed, 27 Oct 2010
Visible Bits Audible Bytes
Visible Bits Audible Bytes

Symposium - ETC 3, 1pm – 4pm
Performance - Screen 2 , 7.30pm

Join us in a day of discussion, screenings, and performances that explore the vast new sound and image potentials opening to artists and composers in the digital era. Digital technologies are enabling an explosion of experimentation with relationships between music, sound and moving image. From video jockeys in music clubs to digital projections with orchestral performances, we have entered a new era of the audio-visual in art and entertainment.

The first part of the day will consist of a symposium structured around presentations and discussions from guests Jaroslaw Kapuscinski (Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of the Intermedia Performance Lab at Stanford University) and Joseph Hyde (Senior Lecturer in Creative Music Technology at Bath Spa University), plus DMU presentations by Senior Lecturer Bret Battey (Music, Technology and Innovation) and doctoral students Sean Clark (Institute of Creative Technologies) and Andrew Hill (Music, Technology and Innovation). These speakers will be sharing their expertise on the theory and practice of composing audio-visual artworks.

The evening will be a compelling showcase of performances and screenings from audio visual artists: Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, Diego Garro, Joseph Hyde, Ron Herema, Andrew Hill, Onur Senturk, Robert Darroll, and Semiconductor.

Presented by the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre at DMU.

Fri, 15 Oct 2010 - Thu, 28 Oct 2010
Rosalind Nashashibi / This Quality
Rosalind Nashashibi / This Quality

Rosalind Nashashibi
Egypt | 2010 | 5mins | 35mm / DVD | Cert U

ICO and LUX The Artists Cinema Commission
Precedes all screenings of 'Made in Dagenham' screening Fri 15 Oct – Thu 28 Oct

'This Quality' is a film shot in downtown Cairo. It comprises two halves: the first shows a 30-something woman looking directly at the camera, and sometimes acknowledging the existence of others around her who we cannot see. She has beautiful face with eyes which seem to see internally rather than outwardly, they almost have the appearance of being painted on, suggesting the blindness of a mythological seer. The second half shows a series of parked cars covered with fabric. Each car suggests a sightless face, as the fabric stretched around the machine turns it into a face but also seems to hood the car so that it is conspicuously hidden, like a child covering his eyes.

Born 1973 in Croydon, Rosalind Nashashibi lives and works in London. She studied at Glasgow School of Art, CalArts and Sheffield Hallam University. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the ICA, Stuttgart Kunstlerhaus, Berkeley Art Museum and Chisenhale Gallery. She has been awarded the John Kobal New Work Award, the A M Qattan Foundation Artist's Prize and in 2003 - the Beck's Futures Art Prize with her black and white film work, 'The States of Things'.

This quietly observational film presents a slice of British life in an unfamiliar way with an evocative soundtrack by Egyptian singer, Um Kolsoum and is a recent major acquisition by Leicester Arts & Museums Service with the generous help of the Contemporary Art Society (CAS). 'The States of Things' is the first moving image work to enter the collection at the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery and is exhibited (in partnership with The City Gallery) with a series of photographic works relating to 'This Quality' from the 2nd October-19th December 2010.

For more information on this exhibition, including details of the ARTIST ROOMS: Epoch Gerhard Richter exhibition, visit:

Fri, 10 Sep 2010 - Sun, 03 Oct 2010
Inside Out - Sculpture in the Digital Age
Inside Out - Sculpture in the Digital Age

Fri 10 Sep – Sun 3 Oct 2010
DMU Cube
Launch Event: Fri 10 Sep, 7pm

'Inside Out' is a compelling international touring exhibition featuring 46 miniature sculptures produced in resin using 3D printing technologies. The title is also the theme for this exhibition, which focuses on emerging digital design techniques and the growth of sophisticated rapid prototyping tools and methods.

Co-Curated by Claire Smith (Aus) and Martin Rieser (DMU), Inside Out demonstrates how developments in these technologies are giving contemporary makers new insights and opportunities to create objects and forms which were previously impossible to produce.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between the Art Technology Coalition, the University of Technology Sydney and RMIT University in Australia along with De Montfort University, Manchester Metropolitan University and University College Falmouth (incorporating Dartington College of Arts) in the United Kingdom.

Curators Talk: Wed 22 Sep, 7pm
Screen Room

In this talk 'Inside Out' curator Martin Rieser will be joined by a panel of artists from the exhibition to discuss how the development of new technologies such as rapid prototyping and multi-touch displays are blurring the boundaries between the physical and the virtual.

Fri, 10 Sep 2010 - Thu, 30 Sep 2010
Rana Begum / Sowing Seeds
Rana Begum / Sowing Seeds

Screen Lounge

The City Gallery in association with Phoenix Square is hosting a 'digital-residency' working with Bangladeshi-British artist Rana Begum. Working with Artist & Digital Practitioner Rob Smith, Rana will be translating her practice of painting, and the viewers' experience of it, into an interactive digital artwork.

Rana Begum, who trained as a painter, is known for her bold geometric patterns taken from architecture and the urban environment that relate to Minimalism, British Colourist Sculpture of the sixties and Islamic arts. Through the use of sculptural materials, her patterns create a rippling shift as the viewer navigates their way around them. This residency is an opportunity for new audiences to engage with her work and for the artist to explore digital media and translate her cross-cultural graphic language into an animated digital form.

Sowing Seeds is a region-wide programme of International Artist Residencies supported through grants from the Cultural Olympiad and the Arts Council of England.

Closing Party and Artist's Talk

Screen Lounge and ETC Suites

Thu 30 Sep 6.30pm

Please join us in the Screen Lounge for a drinks reception to mark the closing of Rana's exhibition, followed by an Artist's Talk in which Rana will discuss her practice and the Sowing Seeds – International Artist in Residence project.

For more information on the Sowing Seeds project regionally visit:

Further details of this project and associated events will be available from The City Gallery

Image copyright Rana Begum

Fri, 27 Aug 2010
cPulse II
cPulse II

Including Hear Th↓s Space

cPulse II (PDF, 770 Kb)
Mon, 26 Jul 2010 - Mon, 30 Aug 2010
Michael Almereyda / Paradise
Michael Almereyda / Paradise

Screen Lounge

Michael Almereyda's Paradise is a sketchbook in film, a collection of astonishingly beautiful and moving fragments that recount ten years of travels in the artist's life. An intimate collage of shared moments with friends and strangers, Paradise is both a group portrait and a panoramic view of the world we live in, infused with a sense of mystery, wonderment and sly humour.

Episodes were shot in roughly two dozen cities across nine different countries, and are linked, the artist writes, by "the idea that life is made up of brief paradisiacal moments - moments routinely taken for granted, and always slipping away".

Sat, 12 Jun 2010 - Sun, 13 Jun 2010
Sparking The Imagination
Sparking The Imagination

A weekend of amazing digital activities for children, families and even grown ups!

Sat 12 Jun - Sun 13 Jun, 9am - 5.30pm - All activities are FREE

Phoenix Square Film and Digital Media in association with the Spark Children's Arts Festival presents 'Sparking the Imagination', a weekend of amazing digital activities for children, families and even grown ups!

Body Paint
by Mehmet Atken
Screen 2

Splash, throw, drip and splatter virtual paint across a huge digital canvas in this highly engaging interactive artwork. Express yourself through bodily movement and play, and watch as beautiful, swirling, ever-changing abstract paintings instantly appear before your eyes. Play by yourself to create your own work of art, work together with other people, or splash your friends in a virtual paint fight!

Free All Monsters!
by Andrew Wilson
ETC Suites and across the Cultural Quarter

Search for invisible monsters living in the streets and buildings in and around the Cultural Quarter, then answer questions about the monsters to show your monster spotting skills. To help you in this quest you'll need a special piece of kit - the Magical Monstervision Machine and a Monster Spotter's Guide which can be collected from Phoenix Square. Every monster that you find was set free by somebody else, and when you've finished your search you return to Phoenix Square and set free some monsters of your own.

Please note: There are a limited number of handsets available and you may be asked to add your name to a waiting list at busy times.

Screen Lounge Bar and Kitchen Terrace

Continuing our weekend extravaganza we present three more playful interactive activities for all the family. The Portable Pixel Playground is a collection of digital artworks designed to engage children in simple but highly enjoyable physical activity.

Glowing Pathfinder Bugs
by Squidsoup

Come and play with the recently discovered Glowing Pathfinder Bugs, a family of virtual creepy crawlies living in a sand pit. Dig a gulley in the sand and see the bugs walk along it, let them crawl up your hand and watch as the bugs transform into bigger bugs and even butterflies!

by Giles Askham and Luke Hastilow

Cubed is a set of hand-held game cubes which re-invent traditional games such as Treasure Hunt and Hide and Seek. As you play and work together with others in each new game, watch the cubes pulse and glow as they communicate through infra-red technology.

Too Much of a Mouthful
by Andy Best and Merja Puustinen

Too Much of a Mouthful is an interactive bouncy castle sculpture. It looks a bit like a shark and a bit like an alien, and as you roll and climb around on top of it, sound is generated by sensors attached the sculpture, allowing you to create a musical soundscape with your own movement.

The Portable Pixel Playground is a series of interactive artworks for children commissioned by leading digital arts organisation Folly, based in Lancaster.

Fri, 04 Jun 2010 - Mon, 26 Jul 2010
Annie Cattrell / Conditions
Annie Cattrell / Conditions

DMU Cube and Screen Lounge

Annie Cattrell's work captures moments in time, clouds on a particular day, a breath inside a human lung. Her subjects stem from her interest in areas such as neuroscience, anatomy and meteorology and she is drawn to the fusion between science and art.

Using state-of-the-art technology such as topographical 'Lydar' laser scanning and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging body scanning techniques (FMRI scanning), Annie gains practical and conceptual insight into what is constantly experienced but not necessarily seen or noticed.

By transforming this data into art, Annie questions our perceptions of reality and reveals the subtle changes and transformations constantly happening within us and around us. Annie's exhibition features sculpture series 'Conditions' alongside a new work, produced specially for Phoenix Square.

Sat, 15 May 2010

Join us in the Screen Lounge for MAXIMAL, a night of sound and vision for your brain and your feet, featuring a mash of krautrock, synthpop, hip-hop, electro and experimental techno with alternatively psychedelic and ambient live visuals.


Sat, 01 May 2010 - Mon, 31 May 2010
Jennifer Baichwal / Manufactured Landscapes

Screen Lounge

Acclaimed by Al Gore as 'beautiful, insightful and thought-provoking', Jennifer Baichwal's award-winning film centers on renowned artist Edward Burtynsky, whose large-scale photographs portray the devastating impact of industrial expansion on the environment.

Baichwal observes the artist at work amid some of the most surreal landscapes of the 21st century: China's mountains of computer waste; the Yangtze River where whole towns are disappearing in the flooding caused by the Three Gorges Dam and the shipbreaking yards of Bangladesh; Shanghai, with its increasingly crowded skyline and millions of new inhabitants.

Wed, 28 Apr 2010
Chris Carter and The Dirty Electronics Ensemble
Chris Carter and The Dirty Electronics Ensemble

Chris Carter from the legendary Throbbing Gristle is teaming up with the twenty-five piece group Dirty Electronics, led by noise doctor John Richards, to perform a piece for a specially designed DIY electronic instrument.

The instrument features an original copper etching artwork designed by Carter that will become part of a dirty electronics instrument. Random sequences, distortion, and noise coalesce in a unique hand-held instrument the size of a postcard.

Tickets: £8/£5 concessions.

Thu, 08 Apr 2010 - Mon, 24 May 2010
Tom Betts / AvSeq
Tom Betts / AvSeq

AvSeq by Tom Betts is an interactive installation that takes the form of an abstract computer game. The player must capture and link sound objects together into a sequence of 'atomic' chains. When released, these structures detonate, activating changes in the audio-visual output of the game.

The gaming environment responds dynamically to the developing audio track, producing flowing patterns and abstract forms. In this exchange, complex patterns are rewarded with access to more detailed stages, or 'levels', and enhanced audio effects. There is no endpoint, just an evolving structure of light and sound, which without user input will inevitably decay back into empty silence.

Tom Betts is an artist, programmer, composer and performer based in West Yorkshire. He is amongst the most prolific and versatile artists practising in the field of digital and interactive media, specialising in generative programming techniques; his creative output includes interactive music games, computer game modifications, installations, software, live music performances and musical composition.

Thu, 04 Mar 2010 - Wed, 31 Mar 2010
Hannu Karjalainen / Portraits
Hannu Karjalainen / Portraits

This exhibition features three works by Finnish artist Hannu Karjalainen: 'Man in a Blue Shirt', 'Girl in a Red Sweater' and 'Woman with Blonde Hair'.

Karjalainen's work shows a fascination with the portrait. The very notion of the portrait, be it a painting, photograph or video, promises the viewer a glimpse into someone's persona, even their soul. A successful portrait is often considered to have captured something essential about its subject.

Karjalainen's films are portraits remarkable for the near absence of the subject. They unfold with a logic that bears little resemblance to that of everyday life. The subject's stories are read in their bodies, their gestures, in the textures and in the details.

Produced by Picture This and commissioned by Picture This, Watershed and Spike Island. Supported by Arts Council of Finland, AVEK, Creative Bristol and
The Finnish Institute, London.

Thu, 04 Feb 2010 - Thu, 25 Feb 2010
Martin Richardson / The Haunted Image
Martin Richardson / The Haunted Image

Holographic Portraits Exhibition

The works in 'The Haunted Image' are made with leading edge digital technology and mark a significant departure from what many consider to be traditional art-holography.

The holograms in this exhibition are made using synthetic holography, where the object is replaced with a digital signal from a two-dimensional photograph. They are often referred to as 'Computer Generated Holograms'.

Holograms are unique among visual media in their power to represent three-dimensions. These vivid holographic pictures belong to the theatre of spectacle; they are side shows, conjuring tricks, magic theatre and optical toys made digital.

Light is essential to holography. Light refracts to form the surface of a hologram, reconstructing the image in three dimensions. When combined with an animated sequence of stills, this process offers a new level of pictorial experience.

Martin Richardson is currently Professor of Modern Holography at De Montfort University, Leicester. In 1988 he graduated from the Royal College of Art with the world's first PhD in display holography and in 1999 was awarded a Millennium Fellowship by the UK Millennium commission for his work with inner city schools. He has worked with Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker, Sir Peter Blake and David Bowie.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010
cPulse Launch Event
cPulse Launch Event
cPulse1 (PDF, 4.9 Mb)
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 - Fri, 26 Feb 2010
George Barber / Beyond Language

George Barber's work presents a complex and highly personal strategy of non-conformity that defines appropriation, collage and parody as the essential forms of contemporary art-practice. Barber's work is often categorised in three groups: Scratch videos, slacker videos and more recently performance videos. However, his voice is most coherent when his work is viewed as a single artistic project.

His consistent use of parody at the meeting points of culture is more than flippant humour; in satirising the platitudes of art and culture his work grapples with the postmodern condition and addresses the legacies of Duchamp and Warhol, and creates a unique position in relation to artists such as Sturtevant and Richard Prince.

Barber paints a picture of a world obsessed with uniqueness, but only capable of producing banality. He is a chronicler of contemporary culture, a soothsayer of aesthetic discords and a philosopher of spiritual decline. The works in this programme demonstrate the singular voice of George Barber, an artist concerned with artistic integrity and the complexities of language.

George Barber was born in Georgetown, Guyana and went to St Martins and The Slade. His compilation "The Greatest Hits of Scratch Video" is internationally known and has been featured in many galleries and festivals across the world. His two contributions to the tape, 'Absence of Satan' and ' Yes Frank No Smoke' are still screened regularly and are important in the history of British Video Art.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 - Sun, 31 Jan 2010
Simon Atkinson & John Richards / Voices of Leicester
Simon Atkinson & John Richards / Voices of Leicester

Sound & Mixed Media Installation

'Voices of Leicester' is a sound installation that presents the voices of Leicester's children, featuring almost every language spoken in the city. Over a hundred school pupils wrote poems about sound and listening, as well as highly personal descriptions of the city's soundscape. These poems were then recited by the pupils and recorded.

'Voices of Leicester' explores the children's texts through a multi-channel sound environment, investigating the rich rhythms and textures of the many languages spoken in the city. Copies of the original poems form a collage that stretches around the exhibition space, illustrating the wide range of scripts used in the poems and allowing visitors to view the texts in their original state.

'Voices of Leicester' was produced by pupils from Sir Jonathan North Community College, Beaumont Leys School, Crown Hills Community College, St Paul's Catholic School and Leicester Grammar School. The project was assisted by BBC Radio Leicester.

Simon Atkinson's work focuses on recorded sounds and the potential power of sound to act as a mediator between material and imaginative worlds. Atkinson's recent work has been divided between concert hall performance and collaborative community arts projects, as well as a composition based on feedback sounds. He has published articles on the theme of the 'sonic image' and contributed to the ElectroAcoustic Resource Site (EARS).

John Richards' work explores performance with self-made instruments and the creation of interactive environments. He has worked with many leading improvisers and musicians in the field of live electronics, and composed pieces of a collaborative nature. Since 2005 he has directed the Dirty Electronics Ensemble, giving workshops and performances internationally. He has written numerous articles on hybridity, post-digital theory and dirty electronics: DIY and bricolage approaches to working with sound.

Simon Atkinson and John Richards are part of the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester.