Sean Clark's Blog

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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 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:

and the videos at:

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 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

Mon, 14 Oct 2019
The Pixel Wall and artThings

Today a new video-installation went live at DeMontfort University on the front of the Vijay Patel building. The Pixel Wall comes with an editor that you open by scanning the on-screen QR code on your mobile phone. You can then draw your own video game sprite and add it to the screen for others to see.

It's a simple idea and intended to be a fun part of the One Giant Leap celebration of the moon-landings that's happening in Leicester this week. However, for me, it marks an important step in testing and finalising the release of my artThings technology.

artThings emerged from my PhD research as an infrastructure for enabling artworks running on micro-controllers, computers and web browsers to communicate with each other over mobile, WiFi and LoRa networks. I now want to establish it as an open standard for connecting digital artworks and this test will hopefully confirm that it's ready for public release.

Of course, it's not just about swapping video game sprites. In my artworks, I already use it to exchange artwork elements, colours, sounds, generative parameters and so on. I typically create networks of artworks for exhibitions and events, but I also have an interest in turning Leicester itself into a large "connected artwork" where diverse artworks placed around the city are able to communicate and respond to each other and to the data being produced by the multitude of sensors that are now around us.

I see this city-wide network of artworks being created by multiple artists and making use of the Internet of Things technologies that will soon become common-place as Leicester moves towards being a "smart city". This project might sound ambitious, but as the technology develops and more artists express an interest in it there is no reason why it can't be made to happen.

If you like the sound of what I'm looking to build please get in touch and I'll share more plans. For now, go to DMU (and, as of tomorrow, Curve) and have a play with the Pixel Wall. The video installation will be running all week between 12noon and 2pm.

Sun, 04 Aug 2019
Event Two @ The Royal College of Art

Event Two at the Royal College of Art took place between 12th and 17th July 2019 and was a great success. Every evening event was fully booked and day visitors numbered many hundreds. We are still sorting for through the documentation gathered at the event but have managed to sort through the first set of photographs. You can find around 350 in an album on Flickr. Additionally, there are pictures of the install, plus videos, 3D photographs and 360 panoramas on the Event Two web page.

An updated version of The CAS50 Collection is currently in production. This will contain information about the 24 artists in the collection, plus a selection of photographs from the various exhibitions, including Event Two, that have happened so far as part of the CAS50 programme.

You can pre-order the catalogue from Etsy

Sun, 28 Jul 2019
China Sessions @ EVA London

As part of my roles as an International Professor at Guangdong University of Technology (GDUT) and a member of the EVA London programme committee, I helped put together a number of China-related activities at the EVA London conference in July this year. This included chairing a panel of China-related papers at the conference, followed by an evening panel session and a small exhibition. I was joined at the conference by GDUT colleague Yi Ji (pictured) and four students from the University.

Pictures from the activities can be seen on the FE Art Lab web page. If you are interested in knowing more about the work I am doing at GDUT or want to talk about collaborative projects, please get in touch.

Sun, 14 Apr 2019
Reflections on Teaching Art and Technology in China

I'm back from my latest month (my fifth in total) of teaching at Guangdong University of Technology School of Art and Design in China. Since it was the last session in this contract (I'll probably sign up to do more). I thought it was time for some reflection.

When I did the first session in April 2017, I didn't know what to expect. I was asked to teach "creative programming" to people who had not programmed before. My initial concerns were not just with programming languages to use but also with the human ones. How would the workshop work with people who I didn't share a first language? I also had a practical concern that I would have problems being behind the "Great Firewall of China" since I use a lot of internet resources. Finally, I wondered about my approach to teaching technical subjects through artistic projects. Would this work in China?

In terms of human language, yes, the language difference has at times be problematic. However, English is widely taught in China, and the University provided student translators. Plus, translator apps are getting better and can help in some situations. Ultimately, while language differences can slow things down, it has not proven to be a problem. Eventually, the message gets through.

However, in terms of computer language, it is definitely harder for people to learn to program using English command-based language when their first language is Chinese! When teaching Arduino coding, I have struggled to get more than a few students beyond the copy-and-paste stage. Most of the problems are to do with typing and syntax, not the concepts. Luckily, visual programming environments such as Scratch and BBC Micro:bit Blocks can be easily toggled between English and Chinese and I have found that Chinese students can make good progress with both of these. I always remind the students that, despite appearances, both of these are real programming environments that are not just for children.

The Great Firewall of China is an interesting one. The fact is that some valuable teaching resources are on sites that you can't get to in China. The inability to directly access YouTube and other Google sites are particularly problematic at times. However, it is also the case that everyone knows how to use a VPN to overcome these restrictions! I thought this would be something of a hush-hush topic, but if something is not available, then the VPN goes on, and people access it through one of those.

I'm happy to say that the arts-led teaching approach seems to go down well. I have progressively brought in more and more creative topics over the five one-month workshops. This includes using examples of early computer art as inspiration for programming tasks, getting students to recreate my hardware-based digital artworks in Arduino, and basing all the tasks during one of the months around Guangcai porcelain.

The overall experience has been a positive one, with some excellent work being produced by Chinese students. As is the case anywhere, some students are more motivated than others, but when they are keen on the workshops, Chinese students work particularly hard and can be very productive.

Details of the workshops and exhibitions - with pictures and supporting documents - can be found at Contact me if you have any questions about the workshop programme so far.

Mon, 11 Mar 2019
artThings @ Create-a-con 2019

Saturday 9th March saw Leicester's regular Create-a-con event at the LCB Depot. Among the exhibitors were Leicester Hackspace, R10 Music Collective and Interact Digital Arts. I was showing off some work in progress made using artThings technology. There was the large "LOL" light piece in the LCD Depot window; the connected "Colloquy" 3D printed works I last showed at In The Dark; and some new work that uses artThings to allow you to use your mobile phone as a controller for a big-screen video game.

This last piece is based around technology I have developed to allow people to interact with digital artworks via a mobile device. For a project to help celebrate 50 years since the first moon landing, it's being adapted to allow you to control video games on large public screens. The idea is that you scan a QR code, or enter a short web address, and then get to control old-school video games from your mobile.

It's still work-in-progress, but it was very useful to be able to test the technology out with live users. In general, it performed well. Even my simple game drew a crowd! I look forward to seeing what happens when we give the technology to *real* games developers!

See pictures from the event at

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