Sean Clark's Blog

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Wed, 29 Jul 2020
Connected Digital Art

For quite a few years, the focus of my personal practice has been a concept I call "Connected Digital Art". The idea is to create interactive artworks - be they screen-based, installations or light works - that are able to exchange information via the internet. The enablish technology for this is artThings, some software that I initially developed as part of my PhD research that makes it easy for artworks running on different platforms to send messages to each other.

As part of the Digital Arts Leicester I developed a new interactive artwork in my "Elements series. This piece allows you to interact with a self-organising image and, in one version, experience how other people are interacting with it at the same time. I think it's quite an exciting concept and is something that I think could add a new dimension to web-based artwork - especially in this time of lockdown.

Elements can be found on the Digital Arts Leicester website. What you see here is currently the single user version, I'll republish the multiuser version again soon when I have done some more work on the communication system. Click on the speaker icon in top right corner to hear the generative sound produced by the image.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Connected Digital Art concept please get in touch.

Thu, 09 Jul 2020
Digital Arts Leicester Exhibition

Last month the Interact Digital Arts website played host to an online exhibition of digital artwork created by digital artists in Leicester. The exhibition, supported by Arts Council England's emergency funding, supported nine artists financially plus included work by another ten guest artists. It also included online live events and talks.

Leicester and Leicestershire has a thriving digital arts community and it was good to see it being supported during these strange times. My personal contribution was a development of my "Elements" piece that I started last November, The artwork, an 'interactive image', was created using the same sorts of rules as my usual images, but includes web-based interactivity and my first steps towards using sound in my work. I'll be posting more about this soon.

To visit the on-line exhibition go to: https://interactdigitalarts.uk/digital-arts-leicester

Mon, 08 Jun 2020
Computer Arts Archive Talk

I gave a talk earlier in the week about the Computer Arts Archive project. This is a new Community Interest Company that is focussed on archiving, promoting and developing computer arts. The project was originally intended to launch in June 2020, but due to COVID-19 is now going live in November 2020 instead. The half-hour talk was part of the Computer Arts Society Online Talks series and a recording can be found on the CAS YouTube Channel.

For more information about the Computer Arts Archive visit https://computer-arts-archive.com.

Sun, 31 May 2020
Online Teaching in China

I've just finished my latest teaching in China. Of course, with the pandemic in place, I didn't get to travel over there this time. Instead, the course was delivered "virtually" using VooV, the Chinese equivalent of Zoom.

I have to say, in the run-up to the course, I wasn't sure how it would go. I had planned to begin by teaching Scratch and then move over to BBC Micro:bit, where the students would learn both hardware and software development. However, it was not just me working remotely, the students themselves were still working from home, so it was not possible to get the hardware needed to them for the course.

So instead the students were given three Scratch-based projects. The first to help them get to grips with Scratch programming, then a computer drawing project, and finally a project to help them explore the history of Guangchai - Cantonese Porcelain.

The students worked really hard an delivered some very interesting work. The use of VooV was surprisingly good. While I missed the immediate feedback you get in face-to-face teaching, I was able to teach in a workshop style - mixing short lectures with plenty of hands-on time for the students. The students themselves worked in 5-person groups, using WeChat to communicate and share materials.

It will be interesting to see how these experiences affect the future of teaching. If the teaching works, and the students achieve their goals, might there be a lot more of this sort of teaching the future? Perhaps I don't need to spend so much time in China in the future?

Maybe online reaching will become the norm? If so, I won't miss the long flights, but I will miss the food!

See more information and outputs from the course can be found here.

Fri, 08 May 2020
Leicester Digital Artists in the Lockdown

Interact Digital Arts is very pleased to announce that we have been successful in obtaining funding from Arts Council England to help support the Leicester Digital Artists community. The support will help us with our overheads during the lockdown, to develop the Computer Arts Archive project and plan a revised launch date and - most importantly - will give eight local digital artists grants to create and showcase new work.

The project was formulated during a series of Zoom meetings hosted by Interact on Monday evenings at the start of the lockdown and will include an online exhibition of artist's work, together with three online arts events. Much of this activity will take place in June as part of a re-worked "Digital June" event. Digital June was due to happen at the LCB Depot during that month. LCB Depot will be involved in the new event, helping to promote it and encouraging other organisation and artists to participate.

The eight Leicester-based artists involved in the ACE project at present are Jim Frize, Sean Carroll, Leonie DuBarry-Gurr, Paul Mazzitelli, Paul Rudman, Joe Moran, Anoushka Goodwin and Sean Clark. Others will be invited to participate in the live events.

To keep up-to-date with developments on the project visit the Interact Digital Arts website, or follow the Interact Digital Arts Facebook Page. You can also join the discussion on the Leicester Digital Artists Facebook Group. For more information about Interact Digital Arts please contact Sean Clark at seanc@interactdigitalarts.uk.

Mon, 09 Mar 2020
Light Up Leicester 2020

Light Up Leicester was Leicester's first city-wide light festival. Organised by ArtReach, it saw the city centre filled with light artworks from Thursday 5th until Sunday 8th March. The works on show included illuminated see-saws, Shadow Dance by Impossible Arts (picture above), a giant robot and a piece from renowned digital arts group SquidSoup.

interact Digital Arts was involved in the festival in two ways. First, we ran a programme of engagement activities with local schools and artists under the name "Connectedness Clinic". The idea here was to introduce people to the sorts of technologies that are typically used in the construction of digital artworks and to talk about how digital connectivity can be used creatively. Second, we created some experimental work that connected some of the digital artworks in the event as part of the general "connectedness" theme of the festival.

See my full report and pictures on the festival on the Light Up Leicester 2020 web page on the Interact Digital Arts website.

Sat, 29 Feb 2020
The Computer Arts Archive

The Computer Arts Archive is a non-profit company that collects, exhibits and promotes computer artwork for the benefit of artists, audiences, curators, educators and researchers. It collaborates with other collections, museums and galleries to explore the impact of digital culture and ensure that computer art is recognised as a significant contemporary art form with a rich and diverse history. In particular, we work closely with the Computer Arts Society, a member-based organisation founded in 1968.

Interact Digital Arts and the Computer Arts Society will be launching the Computer Arts Archive in June 2020. Visit the website at https://computer-arts-archive.com/ for information on how to stay in touch.

Fri, 10 Jan 2020
In The Dark 2020 - Pictures and Videos

We've now uploaded a collection of pictures and videos from the In The Dark 2020 exhibition organised by Genetic Moo and The London Group with the Computer Arts Society and Art in Flux and held at the Cello Factory between 8th and 11th January. The pictures can be found on Flickr at:

https://flickr.com/photos/seancuttlefish/albums/72157712582942603

and the videos at:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENJb8nmAr0hXZ032V4cgUt0xKcXTzFWT

Sat, 21 Dec 2019
Interact'19 Exhibition and Live Event

This year's Interact'19 exhibition has finished with a great live event at the LCB Depot in Leicester. I organised the first exhibition of Leicester-based digital artists in 2014 as part of the five-year celebrations of the opening of the LCB Depot. The show went well, but I hadn't intended to make it a regular event. However, in 2018 there was an opportunity to organise something similar and it seemed like a good idea to organise another one in 2019. I think it's fair to say that it will now be an annual fixture :)

Full details of this year's exhibition, together with pictures from the live event can be found at https://interactdigitalarts.uk/interact19. An announcement about next years' exhibition will be made in September 2020.

Tue, 29 Oct 2019
VR and AR in Leicester

On Saturday 19th of October at Phoenix in Leicester, there was a showcase of local Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality producers that featured work by MBD, NSC Creative, DMU Institute of Creative Technologies, CATS are not PEAS and Ben Fredericks.

The showcase demonstrated the wealth of VR talent in Leicester and I think we can justifiably say that the city is something of a Virtual Reality hotspot. What's more, the type of work being produced is interesting, with a strong emphasis on narrative and performative work.

As part of a short discussion after the showcase, I spoke a bit about the history of VR locally and mentioned the VR exhibition I organised at Loughborough University way back in 1993(!) as well as Leicester's place VR history through the pioneering work of VR arcade game company W Industries / Virtuality, that was based nearby in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

I hope to organise a bigger event in the not too distant future. Until then, you can find out more about Leicester-based VR producers on the Leicester VR/AR Creators Facebook Group. Pictures from the showcase can be found at https://interactdigitalarts.uk/leicesterxr.

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