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.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 - Fri, 16 Dec 2011
Anna Lucas / Kaff Mariam & Uña de Gato
Anna Lucas / Kaff Mariam & Uña de Gato

Launch Night - Mon 7 Nov at 6pm
Artist's Talk - Wed 30 Nov at 6.30pm

Kaff Mariam and Uña de Gato explore the complex themes surrounding these two medicinal plants, first encountered by Lucas in her local markets in Brixton, south London. The films could be seen as a pilgrimage or quest, tracing the plants to their origins in the deserts of the Middle East and the Peruvian rainforest.

Kaff Mariam begins in Jericho and moves through Palestine to Sinai, with each encounter leading on to the next. As the journey progresses, the people and the landscapes they inhabit become as significant as the plant itself.

Uña de Gato follows this plant, associated with its anti-inflammatory properties and cure for cancer, from the dense Amazonian forest through harvesting and manufacturing processes to where it is sold as sweets on the buses of Lima.

Throughout these films, beautiful, ancient landscapes are punctuated with subtle observations that reveal the political, scientific and spiritual subcultures that have evolved around these plants. Anna Lucas creates contemplative, poignant work, challenging the traditional documentary format and asking the viewer to make their own minds up about what they see without relying on an explanatory voiceover.

Artist Information

Anna Lucas is one of the leading exponents of contemporary film and video art. Based in London, she has exhibited widely, with exhibitions at Whitstable Biennale (2010), FACT, Liverpool (2007), Bud, Spike Island, Bristol and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2003). Adrift, first commissioned by Picture This and Chisenhale Gallery, London (2004), is showing at Creative Hinkley Gallery from November 2011. She is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at De Montfort University, Leicester. Anna Lucas' work is distributed by LUX.

Kaff Mariam and Uña de Gato were funded by FACT and Film London. They were developed following research made in Brixton markets, London, as part of Wildcraft, commissioned by South London Gallery 2006.

Funded by Arts Council England with the support of Film London Artists' Moving Image Network.


Thu, 06 Oct 2011 - Sun, 23 Oct 2011
The Cutting Room Presents
The Cutting Room Presents

The Cutting Room present David Blandy's "Barefoot Lone Pilgrim, Issue 1+2 : Origins" and Hetain Patel's new film 'Kanku Raga' an exciting mix of reality and fantasy in The Cube Gallery. Both artists looking at their cultural identities in a search for authenticity.

David Blandy

Seeking enlightenment in kung fu movies and anime as The Barefoot Lone Pilgrim (2004-08), Blandy is searching for his own cultural position in the world. From using these humorous tales he asks just how much the idea of the Western 'self' is formed by its immersion in the world of records, films and television.

David Blandy lives and works in Brighton, and has exhibited at venues such as The Baltic, Gateshead The Bluecoat as part of the 2008 Liverpool Biennial, Platform China Project Space, Beijing. His work is distributed by LUX, and is represented by Seventeen Gallery, London.

Hetain Patel

"Kanku Raga is a seven minute video piece. Here I have assigned each stroke from the tabla drum language to a different movement of marking or erasing Kanku pigment from the body. The result is a dissected rhythm presented visually and audibly. Performing each part myself I am interested in the idea of instilling cultural rhythm physically within the body through repetition. The symbolic use of the Kanku pigment is a development from earlier work interrogating the identity of the visual body. I mark myself not on the forehead but instead emblazon the rich red colour more overtly across my chest. Here I mark myself repeatedly and with purpose. Though the mark making takes place within Indian time and with Indian pigment, the trace that remains is the English St George's cross. As with all my works this is not intended as a statement but rather a question."

Hetain Patel lives and works in Nottingham and has exhibited at venues such as Bodhi Art, New York, All Our Tomorrows in Luneburg, Germany and Young British Art in Cieszyn, Poland, he was represented in the U.K in the BJCEM International Art Biennale in Bari, Italy and showed at TEN, Sydney Festival last year.

The Cutting Room is a curatorial organisation initiated by Nottingham based filmmakers Clare Harris and Jennifer Ross, producing events to engage new audiences and to inspire them with the intention of exploring social realities and communication through digital new media, film and performance.


Thu, 06 Oct 2011
Authentic Self - Part 2
Authentic Self - Part 2

Following the success of The Authentic Self film screening in November 2010 The Cutting Room are re-screening the showreel to further get to grips with the ideas surrounding an Authentic Self at Pheonix Square Leicester.

With a few tweaks on the line up the showreel presents a few new additions which will be followed by a panel discussion. Featuring Child of the Atom by David Blandy and Dance Like My Dad by Hetain Patel

David Blandy investigates the cultural forces that inform and influence him and ultimately construct his identity, ranging from his love of hip hop and soul, to computer games and manga. His works slip between performance and video, reality and construct, using references sampled from the wide, disparate sources that provide his (and our own) sense of self.

Child of The Atom was generated by an underlying guilt about his own and also his daughter's existence, Blandy's film documents their visit to Hiroshima to literally and symbolically search for their 'origins'. "There is a familial myth that my late Grandfather would not have survived being a Japanese Prisoner of War had the atomic bombing of Hiroshima not occurred. So it could be argued that I owe my existence to one of the most terrifying events of human history and the death of 110,000 people."

Hetain Patel's practice took its beginnings from wanting to understand his Indian heritage. Not so much a factual historical timeline but rather through fighting the impossibility of being able to fully understand a mindset of a different context to the western one he was born and raised in.

To Dance Like Your Dad - In 1967 my father emigrated from India to the U.K. Since then he has never been back to India. This work begins an exploration of how much cultural memory a body can retain. Namely which of my father's physical traits can be attributed to being Indian and which are reflections of the British environment he has lived in for the last 43 years? Can I learn about being Indian by studying his vocal and body languages? Can one lose or gain Indian-ness?

Shorts and Panel Discussion 6th October 6.30pm

'The Cutting Room' present a series of short films exploring questions about our own personal and collective identities. Is it possible to be truly authentic? Does an authentic self exist?

Including an exclusive screening of David Blandy's new film "Child of the Atom" along side Hetain Patel's 'Dance Like Your Dad' and accompanying films from David Shrigley, Oriana Fox, Clare Harris, Jennifer Ross, Chambers Judd, Jon Burgerman and Multitouch Barcelona.

Following the screening will be a Q&A with Artist David Blandy and Hetain Patel opening up to a panel discussion.

Thu, 08 Sep 2011 - Fri, 30 Sep 2011
Geoff Broadway / Lifecycle
Geoff Broadway / Lifecycle

DMU Cube
Launch Event - Thu 8 Sep, 6.30pm

Artist's Talk - Mon 26 Sep, 6.30pm
Geoff will be talking about the LifeCycle piece and the Transform project in a free hour-long talk on Mon 26 Sep.

LifeCycle is a multi-screen audio-visual installation that explores ideas of change and transformation as it is understood and experienced by a range of people who live and work in the Coalville area of Leicestershire. The piece is based upon the artist's journeys through Coalville in the winter and spring of 2011, recording conversations with a wide range of people, and capturing visual impressions of both people and place.

The LifeCycle installation is a dynamic convergence of images and thoughts that invites reflection around some of the key themes that make up our cultural life: what values shall we hold and nurture; what can be treasured and preserved; what needs to come to an end; and what is at the heart of our own community.

LifeCycle is one of seven commissioned works that assist in changing the image of Snibston and contribute to shaping its regeneration through Transform. For more information on the LifeCycle project and to view the film visit the website:

Transform is the innovative arts programme set in the heart of Leicestershire County Council's Snibston Discovery Museum. Through Transform, Snibston and its collections are the creative inspiration for new works produced by artists, from across the country, to enrich the experiences of visitors and to make visible the hidden and unknown treasures of this place. A project for curious minds! Transform seeks to offer new ways of exploring Leicestershire's fascinating history and to get people actively involved in the creative process. The full programme can be accessed at:

LifeCycle is being shown again in Coalville in December to coincide with the major projection onto the colliery structures on site - a fantastic 'son et lumiere' event called insideOUT, on 2 and 3 Dec 2011. To participate in this on-going commission see:

Transform is supported by Leicestershire County Council and Arts Council England through the National Lottery.


Sat, 03 Sep 2011
Retroactive Games Festival
Retroactive Games Festival

We've scoured the land to bring you an epic collection of over 50 systems to play at RetroActive. Everything from the Atari 2600, NES, Sega Master System, Vectrex, Colecovision, Megadrive, Snes, Dreamcast, Gamecube, Xbox, and PSone along with all current Gen systems such as the PS3, Wii and Xbox 360.

We'll also be showcasing some rare Japanese systems including the FM Towns Marty, Panasonic Q, Neo Geo, Sharp Twin Famicom and the PC engine.

Hundreds of games will be available on the day everything from Pac-Man to Mario Kart.


Thu, 18 Aug 2011 - Fri, 26 Aug 2011
Dominika Dronska / An Animated Print - An Animated Viewer
Dominika Dronska / An Animated Print - An Animated Viewer

DMU CUBE Thu 18 – Fri 26 Aug

This exhibition is part of a Masters project that explores the interactive potential of advanced imaging technologies, analysing the creation and spectatorship of animated para-lenticulars created through an experimental art process.

The nine compositions displayed in the Cube combine non-standard lens-based media, lenticulars and collage to create works without precedent in the field of lenticular art. The visuals are based around the theme of movement and include subtle animation effects which are further enhanced by the experimental application of lenticular lenses. This gives an intensified viewing experience that prompts the audience to act and to move the body, enhancing the movement effect. Effectively, the audience co-creates the animation effect becoming a conscious co-author of the postmodern art project.

DMU Master's Showcase

"An Animated Print - An Animated Viewer" is showing as part of the DMUMaster's Showcase. work produced by current students on the innovativeMasters in Creative Technologies (MA/MSc), run from the Institute ofCreative Technologies at De Montfort University. Throughout the course,students develop and strengthen their individual creative technologiespractice, bringing together e-science, digital arts, design andhumanities to cross traditional disciplines and explore new ways ofworking.

For details about the IOCT Masters in Creative Technologies (MA/MSc), contact or visit

Wed, 10 Aug 2011
Simon Kerr / 5 Haitis
Mon, 04 Jul 2011 - Sun, 31 Jul 2011
Sean Clark / Memory Mirror
Sean Clark / Memory Mirror


In support of his July exhibition Memory Mirror at Phoenix Square, artist Sean Clark will be giving a talk about his exhibition and work.

Memory Mirror
is an interactive installation by DMU Art and Design PhD Student (and Director of local multimedia company Cuttlefish) Sean Clark. The exhibition provides an opportunity to preview the new artwork prior to a larger exhibition of Sean's recent work that will be taking place at the Fabrika Independent Art Centre in Leicester in the autumn.

Memory Mirrortakes the form of two large screens, arranged vertically next to each other with a small video camera fixed in-between. The screens initially appear to be blank, but when a viewer approaches they start to show an image of the viewer, behaving like a mirror.

As the viewer moves and explores the behaviour of their reflected image they discover that their movements trigger the playback of video images of previous visitors to the artwork. Once the viewer stops interacting with the artwork the images fade away and the screens return to being blank.

Sean Clark conceived of Memory Mirror as an "interactive art system". It could be said that the artwork begins as an empty vessel that becomes filled through the process of interaction. Indeed, without a viewer to interact with it the artwork is incomplete, remaining empty. What's more, the exact nature of how the artwork grows over time depends on who interacts with it and for how long. No two installations of the artwork will result in the same set of video images being displayed and any two people's experience of it will never be quite the same.

Like a living system, the Memory Mirror's potential for growth and development can only be realised if it is able to interact with its environment. Without such interaction it will remain empty and "lifeless". Indeed, If nobody was to visit the exhibition the artwork would literally remain a blank screen alone in a room.

It is hoped that the artwork will encourage you to think about the nature of interactivity in art, the boundaries between personal and public space and, finally, how we all change the world around us simply by being part of it.

Please note that your video image will be captured by Memory Mirror as you interact with it. Any such video images may be seen by future visitors this exhibition, but will not be retained once the exhibition has finished. Some video stills may be retained for documentation purposes.


Fri, 17 Jun 2011 - Thu, 30 Jun 2011
Celebrating Excellence
Celebrating Excellence

Screen Lounge

A selected photographic legacy of diverse arts practitioners, documenting their innovation, engaging vibrancy and accessibility in the arts.

Curated by Mainstream Partnership's Carol Leeming, the photographs tell other stories... of celebration of expression, despite encountering real obstacles and the inertia of institutional racism.

Mainstream Partnership is an organisation that helps artists from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, in the East Midlands to increase their income and employment opportunities as professionals in the mainstream arts sector. To find out more about Mainstream Partnership visit

Sat, 11 Jun 2011 - Sun, 12 Jun 2011
Sparking The Imagination
Sparking The Imagination

Join us as The Spark Children's Arts Festival arrives at Phoenix Square with Sparking the Imagination!

The world famous Onedotzero organisation will be here with two great programmes of short animations, Planet of the Beetlebuns will be in the CUBE for a special event for the under 5s and with a host of free events it promises to be a great weekend for all!

Mon, 09 May 2011 - Fri, 10 Jun 2011
Helen Saunders / Constructed Cities and Constructed Landscapes
Helen Saunders / Constructed Cities and Constructed Landscapes

As a sponsor of City Gallery's open exhibition hosted by New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Phoenix Square is proud to present the work of Helen Saunders. Helen was selected by us at last year's annual open exhibition, which offers visually stunning artworks by artists from Leicester, Leicestershire and the East Midlands.

The selected work showcased in the DMU Cube, focuses on the changing environment, revealed in the constant flux between man and nature, old and new. Using photography to transform our everyday surroundings she documents in-between spaces such as building yards and wasteland. Such places lack individual identity, and are often missed in our everyday lives, yet it is here where processes of change and landscape development are most visible. By digitally dissecting and re-constructing the landscape, she explores the history and shifts in that environment.

The images in the 'Constructed Cities' series are taken from viewpoints on the peripheries of urban life, often around old transport networks like the railways and canals. Change often appears here due to the streamlining of industry and drive towards regeneration. In Leicester, distinctive new buildings like the Curve, and Phoenix Square sit alongside older architecture, which reveals the industrial history of the city.

Helen's digital methods reflect the act of painting a landscape, and are framed by historic references to the 19th century romantic movement. "Painters such as John Martin and Caspar David Friedrich combined real elements from the natural environment with fantasy, which is now a template for the CGI landscapes within today's visual culture. Their focus on the transformative effects of light on the natural environment conveys a sense of the sublime, something that is now present in our modern, post-industrial landscape" Helen Saunders 2011.

Helen obtained a first class degree from Loughborough University. Her work has been exhibited around the UK and internationally. She has been a finalist in the DLA Piper graduate award and selected for UK Young Artist. She has also been commissioned to create several pieces in Leicestershire including one for the Leicester Art Walk, which can be seen on Belvoir Street.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 - Sat, 30 Apr 2011
cubeLife / Dave Everitt
cubeLife / Dave Everitt

Artist Dave Everitt presents 'CubeLife' in the DMU Cube.

This interactive screen exhibition responds to a 'hand-grip heartbeat sensor', and it is your heartbeat that creates the on-screen 3D images and audio. What you see and hear on screen will be completely individual to you.

CubeLife began in 1999, when artist Dave Everitt and interaction designer Greg Turner created an artwork driven by a heartbeat monitor, called cubeLife, this is gradually evolving into a larger, more encompassing project.

The current version of the CubeLife artwork is based in a virtual world populated by magic cubes (one kind of magic matrix in 3 dimensions), each created by participants' input in the exhibition space via a fingertip heartbeat sensor. Each cube has a finite life and associated sound, and inhabits an artificial life environment where it can be made to flock with other cubes or follow various defined behaviours. Colours and other variations are either be chosen by an inbuilt colour harmony system, or can be pre-programmed for particular effects.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011
cPulse IV
cPulse IV
cPulse IV (PDF, 9.6 Mb)
Mon, 28 Mar 2011 - Sun, 03 Apr 2011
Young People Seeking Safety

Located in the Foyer

YPSS is a network of individuals and organisations who have joined together to promote the rights and safety of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum in the UK.

Unaccompanied young people are alone in the UK without parents or family carers, and are in need of safety and protection.

Young People Seeking Safety Week 2011 is a chance to share the music, film, and photography of young people expressing their experiences of seeking safety in the UK. Around the UK community groups will host events to bring attention to the issues facing unaccompanied young people.

For more information visit the website:

Mon, 21 Feb 2011 - Tue, 05 Apr 2011
Jeremy Hunter / Let’s Celebrate 365
Jeremy Hunter / Let’s Celebrate 365

DMU Cube and Screen Lounge
Launch Event with Artist: Thu 24 Feb, 6.30pm
Artist's Talk: Mon 14 Mar, 6.30pm

Exploring the DNA of the world's cultures through their festivals and celebrations. An UNESCO Award-winning photographic collection, with Lecture, by Jeremy Hunter.

In collaboration with De Montfort University and Cultural Exchanges, Phoenix Square is pleased to present Let's Celebrate 365, a unique photographic collection celebrating the world's diversity, by acclaimed photographer Jeremy Hunter.

This compelling digital exhibition of photographs addresses the issues of international community cohesion, cultural traditions and festivals, religious diversity, and the astounding variety of human society. The festivals, rituals and celebrations featured provide a unique window into communities and traditions often unseen by those 'outside', making viewing the collection a breathtaking experience.

'These photographs provide an unrivalled insight into the extraordinary diversity of humanity, with many of the cultures and religions included being represented here in the UK, and Leicester,' says Jeremy Hunter.

'And with the approach of London 2012, the collection also reflects Baron de Coubertin's Olympics vision of promoting "friendly understanding among nations for the good of humanity."

It is this message that lies at the heart of Let's Celebrate'. Let's Celebrate 365 therefore, is an exploration of the amazing variety of the entire multi-cultural landscape of the world. The stunning photographic images in it are the result of more than three decades of Jeremy Hunter's travels to 60 countries across 5 continents to share in festivals, ceremonies and rituals that have remained unchanged for centuries - and in some cases thousands of years.

Please join us for a complimentary drink with photo-journalist Jeremy Hunter in the Screen Lounge to mark the launch of this exhibition. We will also be serving a selection of authentic Thai cuisine, kindly provided by Lanna Thai Restaurant.