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Au’Guest’ Blog Post – Phoenix Brighton and the Brighton Digital Festival

Written by Anna Dumitriu, of Phoenix Brighton as part of the Wired Sussex guest blog month

Phoenix Brighton is the largest artist led organisation in the South East of England (outside London). It provides studios for over 100 artists, runs an arts education programme across digital art, fine art, photography, craft and performance, and is one of the leading art galleries in the city. It’s also a registered charity working hard to support artists locally and beyond.

For the Brighton Digital Festival this year, we aimed to showcase artists working in Brighton and Hove and their importance on the international stage. We are concerned with the fusion of traditional and new forms of media, such as combining drawing and digital projections, and creating a space for genuinely experimental work.

One such artist is William Latham. Based in Hove, Latham was one of the first UK artists in the 80’s to create computer art, and he rapidly gained an international reputation as a pioneer in the field. His work blends organic imagery and computer animation, using software modelled upon the processes of evolution.

Image Credit: BRAXT (synthetic plant form), William Latham

Latham was originally trained as an artist, but moved into the world of computing through his work as artist in residence at IBM, and during this time collaborated with mathematician Stephen Todd to develop a methodology for mutating and evolving forms.

Sue Gollifer told me “I am so pleased to be the curator of William Latham’s Exhibition Mutator 1 & 2. I have been a long admirer of his unique generative work. So I am pleased to bring together his pioneering work, forming the first major UK exhibition of his work for 20 years covering works from 1985 to the present day. The exhibition will feature both new cutting edge computer interactive work and historical work showing the recurrent themes in William's work of "the Artist as Gardener", "Synthetic Nature", "Man Machine / Creativity" and the" Cross over Between Art and Science". As well as the gallery based exhibition, every night Phoenix will be displaying computer-generated images of his work projected onto the windows of the ground floor corridor, to make it a spectacular visual experience. We are very grateful to Arts Council England in supporting this project too.”

Phoenix Brighton also welcomes CHROMA, who will be speaking about their work in a free artists talk and also running a low cost workshop, which looks at the new possibilities that biosensor technology gives us for communicating what is going on within the body.  It all feeds into their new project “OF THE SPHERES” which is an Audio/Visual art project exploring the extended reach of technological communication and the new perspectives on earth that NASA’s Voyager probes give us. Of the Spheres experiments with using the data from Voyager 1′s camera, electromagnetic and plasma wave instrumentation, and mixing it with the contents of the Golden Record that the Voyager probe is carrying away from earth.


We are also excited to be hosting “The Baron’s Art School” by Grist to the Mill (Isobel Smith and Chris Gilvan-Carwright) in collaboration with Alex May. Their stunning Arts Council England supported performance will take the audience on a journey through a sequence of realities heightened by art, imagination and madness and combining cutting edge digital video mapping and projection techniques with puppetry, live painting, UV, and animation. They will also be running a collaborative masterclass the next day where you can find out about the techniques they used in the performance and work collaboratively with other participants.  Certainly there will be nothing else like it in the city!

Image Credit: The Baron’s Art School © Kipperlock Photography

Check out the whole events programme here, we look forward to meeting you at Phoenix Brighton soon!

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