Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sean Clark and Fabrika Arts Centre: Interact Gallery

Digital artist and IOCT PhD student Sean Clark launched the Interact Gallery on 5th September  at the Fabrika Arts Centre. Leicester's newest gallery for interactive and digital arts opened today on the first floor of Fabrika, in Humberstone Gate. It will act as a showcase for the best art works in the East Midlands and will be curated jointly by Sean Clark, De Montfort University and Adam Kirk of Fabrika. 

The show  runs until late October and the organisers hope that would-be artists will offer their works to the rolling programme, during which exhibits will be changed regularly.
Speaking at the opening, Sean Clark said "The transformation of the upstairs space is still underway but it is hoped to be completed in two weeks time. Over the next two months we plan to show the work of up and coming digital artists."

memory mirrors

On show at present are a number of works by Sean Clark, such as his Memory Mirror, which captures video images of people walking in front of it and plays them back as ghostly images.

drop sketch

His work Drop Sketch is a wall of graphical images provided by people from their mobile phones, to which they have downloaded a special app. that allows them to make a sketch and upload it to the central gallery. 

moving circles

Another panel shows a group of moving circles that nteracts with the viewer.

Also speaking the Launch event was Professor Ernest Edmonds, from IOCT De Montfort University, who told the meeting "innovations in interactive arts have often involved small and select groups of people. This gallery is ideal for interactive work. Leicester has had a strong tradition in this area over a long period of time. It was one of the first cities to mount an early exhibition of interactive art back in 1970/71, in what was then Leicester Polytechnic.
It was Albert Einstein who said that 'inventing the problem is more important than solving it.' This very much sums up what this exhibition is about.Leicester has for a long time been noted for its adventurous and experimental artists. Buckminster Fuller came here in 1971",  he said recounting some of the early approaches to interactive art experiments. Fuller was an engineer, designer, inventor and systems theorist. He invented the architecture of the geodesic dome

A book is due out in November which Ernest Edmonds has edited with Linda Candy: Interacting: art, research and the creative practitioner, to be published by Libri. In it, contributors will consider the many forms of interaction involved in the arts and in creative processes.

"I look forward to seeing the gallery playing its part in innovation and risk-taking as part of the artistic process, " Prof. Edmonds said. 

More information is available from the Interact Gallery web site.

GoGreen Week and IOCT

Online totaliser day view for GoGreen week
Well...inspite of our major contribution to the new Greenview App,  the University GoGreen week ( passed unevenly, with IOCT down in the energy league tables because of its relatively small size-where any small discrepancy in use was magnified disproportionately-hence the turning off of a few items on standby leading to a 28% saving for the day. Hence this tweet!
Also huge congratulations to who, after a visit by dmu energy team, reduced consumption by 28%!!

The Vice Chancellor writes as follows:

Staff and students cut electricity use by 12.3 per cent in one week.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at DMU for doing their bit to make Go Green Week such a success.

The final figure shows we managed to reduce our electricity consumption by 12.3 per cent across the campus, which was a huge saving of 30,871kWh – all in the space of seven days.

To put it into context, the energy saved would be enough to power nine homes for a year, or toast more than a million slices of bread! We also saved more than 16 tonnes of carbon dioxide!

It was a fantastic effort which shows the big savings that can be achieved by following a few simple steps to make sure computers, lighting and other electrical equipment are switched off when we are not using them.

I don’t think any institution of our size has ever attempted such a campaign and it reflects the importance DMU puts on environmental issues and sustainability.

It was also a fitting tribute to our 14 Japanese students from Tohoku University, who were visiting De Montfort University (DMU) for a week’s holiday as they continued to rebuild their lives following the earthquake and tsunami in March this year.

When I invited them to stay at DMU I wanted to do something to show our solidarity with the Japanese victims of the earthquake. Reducing electricity consumption seemed a simple but effective thing to do and help us remember how they are  having to cope with drastically cutting energy use after major power plants were destroyed.

We have learned a lot from Go Green Week – but please remember our drive to save energy does not stop here.

We all have a part to play in reducing electricity consumption and cutting carbon emissions on campus.

There are lots of opportunities to do this, including taking part in the Green Impact project which is a competition between departments and teams to see who can be the greenest. For more information on Green Impact please contact me

For more information about the green initiatives happening at DMU please visit

Thank you again - and let’s keep saving energy.

Professor Dominic Shellard

Vice-Chancellor of DMU

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Future of Locative Media

Mark Tuters at ISEA 2011in Istanbul spoke of the spectrum of media art practice in the mobile arena as ranging from the personal and local to the relational and transposable. He acknowledged the fetishisation of the local, but held open the medium’s potential for challenging the exploitative effects of globalisation on hidden labour by tracking all product components. Site-specific thus becomes ‘tracing the elsewhere”. 

For me this data as power proposition still fell within the realm radical individualism and so was still inside the framework of the neo-liberal project. Mark Shephard on the same panel spoke of ubiquitous conditions and the new possibilities for new media détournment 45 years after the Situationists. He suggested artists should abandon the locative as the dominant frame and add on the concepts of time and identity to enlarge the artistic possibilities of the medium. Ludic Being might be the new mode for Situationist media. The visual examples he juxtaposed were parcours runners in a Russian estate (as modern examples of détourment) with a clip from Cliff Oakley’s dystopian film The Catalogue where consumer profiling and surveillance meet in grim harmony. I think what we could postulate is rather that there are two domains-the “digital tame” of social media, online consumer culture and even radical digital arts and the “wild” of critical conditions in the world where poverty and disempowerment have yet to find a political voice in pervasive digital art.

I believe both speakers are still working within the paradigm that existed before the demise of the neo-liberal economic project and that collective and focused action through pervasive media art , which has some idea of where it would like to move the dominant ideas, is an altogether more difficult and painful proposition, but one where Mark Shephard’s extension of the frame could be the most readily applied and move beyond individual détournment to something more coherent in terms of collective ideas and commitment.