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Creative Connections: East Meets West

An Exhibition of Digital Work by Artists from DMU and GDUT

23rd April 2018 - 13th May 2018

Future Extensions Art Lab

729 Art Cafe
School of Art and Design
Dongfeng Road Campus
Guangdong University of Technology


This exhibition brings together a diverse range of work by digital artists from De Montfort University in Leicester, UK and Guangdong University of Technology in Guangzhou, China. It is part of a developing collaboration between the two Universities.

The work featured includes print-based, video and interactive work from both Universities, together with a new Virtual Reality artwork by internationally-known artist Ernest Edmonds, a Virtual Reality experience based on the Pailou Gate at GDUT and the inaugural showing of a new collection of print-based and digital work by GDUT International Professor and DMU Visiting Research Fellow, Sean Clark.

In presenting this unique collection of artworks we hope to further develop the relationship between GDUT and DMU and create new opportunities for international collaboration between individual artists from the East and West.

The exhibition opens on Monday 23rd April 2018 at 7pm with an evening of short talks and refreshments in the 729 Art Cafe gallery space.

Produced in collaboration with the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University.

And the School of Art and Design at GuangDong University of Technology.


As part of the exhibition programme Sean Clark will be running a series of workshops with local digital artists and those looking to develop digital arts skills. The focus of the workshops will be generative image making; digital art installations with light and movement; and web-based virtual reality. The workshops are open to staff and students at the University and will run on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout April, starting on Wednesday 6th and finishing on the Friday 27th.


1. Sean Clark

Sean Clark is an artist, researcher and technologist with an interest in systems theory and connected digital art. The work on display in this exhibition includes a new series of prints, each generated through the interaction of multiple connected colour swapping systems, and a new Virtual Reality rendering of an earlier colour sorting piece composed of two connected systems. Sean is a Visiting Research Fellow at De Montfort University and an International Professor at GuangDong University of Technology. He is also the founding director of web/app company Cuttlefish Multimedia Ltd and digital arts company Interact Digital Arts Ltd. In 2016 he was the co-winner of the Lumen Prize for 3D/Sculpture in London and the inaugural ArtCHI Award in San Jose, California.

Prints: Transformations Variations 4.1 to 4.9 (2018); Transformations Variations 9.1 to 9.3 (2018). Screen: Transformations Variations (2018). VR: Transformations VR (2018).

3. Tracy Harwood

Tracy Harwood is Professor of Digital Culture at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University. She uses creative technologies to explore emerging patterns of virtual, augmented and psychophysiological behaviour. The work on display is a videograph of collaborative work she has undertaken with colleagues in the USA, Canada and New Zealand to explore hyperreality and the links between on- and offline co-creative behaviour.

Video: Hyperreal Living - The DraxTM Files (2017).

5. Fabrizio Poltronieri

Fabrizio Augusto Poltronieri is an award-winning computer artist, researcher and curator with a special interest in the relationships between Art, Design, Digital Media and Technology. "Hephaestus", "Hades" and "Zeus" are part of the "Visual Theogonies" series, created by a piece of software that creates images from random mathematical operations of a given set of data contained within computer memory. The term "Theogonie" is borrowed from a poem written by the Greek Hesiod, in the late eighth century BC. The poem regards the birth of the Greek gods. In this series, the gods are transmuted by the will of computational algorithms governed by chance.

Prints: Urnia (2014); Hades (2014); Hephaestus (2014). Screen: Zeus (2014).

7. Dale Robertson

Dale Robertson is a Principal Lecturer at De Montfort University working in Fine Art. Dale's interest in site-specific art led him to start a PhD at De Montfort University in digital technology and site-specific art. Dale is working on a project to reinstall a large sculpture by Peter Randall-Page RA (Scales and Horizons' In 1996) at Leicester Royal Infirmary. This is part of a series of projects to reinstall art works back into their original positions as virtual sculptures. The work in the exhibition is a part of this PhD project using 3D digital scans.

Prints: Room 2 (2018); Room 4 (2018); Room 6 (2018); Room 8 (2018).

9. Yi Ji

YI JI is an associate professor in school of art and design, Guangdong university of technology, he is an interaction design, digital artist and curator. In 2014, he was nominated by the Hong Kong Dragon Foundation to be 100 young Chinese leaders. In recent years, a total of eight papers have been published, among which seven are published in international academic conferences. Research results and design works are exhibited around the world (Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing), and workshops are held at several academic conferences and art exhibitions. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) member, member of the Australian Interactive Design Association, members of the Singapore Computer Information Association, the user experience design association will have (UXPA, the United States), Chairman of 2017 Chinese CHI, Chairman of 2016 Australia HCI exhibition.

Print: Smart Chinese Digital Culture (2017)

11. The Pailou Gate

This project involves the Virtual Reality reconstruction of a 500 year-old pailou gate, or memorial archway, that is located at Guangdong University of Technology. The small roofed structure was built during the Ming Dynasty in Shanxi Province. In 2013 it was acquired by GDUT and in 2014 it was installed in the courtyard of one of the main University buildings on the Dongfeng Road Campus in Guangzhou.

The project team involves students from GDUT, with guidance from Sean Clark and Yi Ji. As well as being of architectural interest, the Pailou Gate project is also being used as a vehicle for exploring and teaching web-based Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies.

13. Student Work - Interactive Lighting

The final workshops involved the use of Arduino to creative interactive lighting artworks. Students learnt how to programme the Arduino microcontroller and connect it to WS2812 LED pixels. The students were then taught how to make a version of Sean Clark's artwork A Colloquy of Glass Jars – a light and sound artwork made of multiple, interconnected parts. This work was then shown in the exhibition.

2. Ernest Edmonds

Ernest Edmonds was born in London in 1942. He now lives and works in central England and in Sydney, Australia. In 2017 he was awarded the ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement In Digital Art and the ACM SIGCHI 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for the Practice of Computer Human Interaction. He is Professor of Computational Art at De Montfort University and Director of IOCT. Routledge have just published "Generative Systems Art: the work of Ernest Edmonds" by Francesca Franco. Ernest Edmonds' own latest book is "The Art of Interaction: What HCI Can Learn from Interactive Art", Morgan&Claypool.

Print: Shaping - China Study 1 (2018). VR: Constructs/Conducts (2018) by Ernest Edmonds and Pip Greasley.

4. Joe Moran

Joe Moran is a visual artist and researcher working with Light as a primary medium, exploring the contradictions of a material that exists in a space yet has no physical form to speak of. The work on display here use a combination of analog and digital processes to corrupt projected visual data. The resulting images explore pattern and colour without the need for the context of its surroundings.

Prints: Untitled (Disassembled) (2018); Untitled (Reassembled) (2018).

6. Martin Richardson

Martin Richardson is an artist, author and scientific researcher who gained his PhD at the Royal College of Art, London. He is a Professor of Modern Holography at De Montfort University, Leicester, where he leads a team of researchers in The Imaging and Displays Research Group, Faculty of Technology. His current research focuses on advanced holographic solutions for ultra-realistic 3-D display allied to industry and multispectral holography for applications to optical security on banknotes. In 2011 he was honored to receive The Royal Photographic Society 'Saxby Medal' in recognition of his sustained pioneering contributions to the science and technology of holographic imaging and to the physical understanding of its materials and applications. Other awards include The Shearwater Award and The UK Millennium Fellowship Award for his work with holography.

Hologram: Dearest, Darkest Heart (2014)

8. Craig Vear

Craig Vear is Professor of Digital Performance (Music) at DMU. The piece performing here is called On Junitaki Falls (2017). It is a composition for live instrument and two artificial intelligent performers controlled by a central computer system which also controls the visual score. This version has been re-composed so that the AI operates without the human performer. All the materials that are performed reference Eric Dolphy's solo performance of God Bless the Child, although it is never heard or seen in the performance. The AI system controlling this performance of the work has been created using the principles of embodied cognition, offering a more co-operative environment for the performance of music.

Composition: On Junitaki Falls (2017). Credits: Composer Craig Vear; Performer Christopher Redgate; Commissioned by Christopher Redgate and Roger Heaton; Original music score Roger Jannotta, permission to reproduce kindly granted; Craig Vear's compositions are published by Composers Edition.

10. GDUT Department of Digital Media

The GDUT Department of Digital Media is led by Professor Feng. Their work includes interaction design, Virtual and Augmented Reality and multimedia production. The projects shown in the exhibition demonstrated the wide range of activities undertaken by the department.

12. Student Work - Algorithmic Images

The first two workshops dealt with the creation of algorithmic images using the Scratch programming language. All students in the workshops had not previously coded and were first shown some basic elements of digital image making. These included: the geometric creation of polygons; rows, columns and grids; and repetition with dynamic variables. Examples of early computer art from the CAS Collection at the V&A was used to illustrate these principles. The work created by the students was surprisingly varied and illustrates how art can be used in the teaching of programming to non-programmers.

14. Student Work - Virtual Reality

Workshops three and four explored web-based Virtual Reality. We found that all attendees had knowledge of basic 3D modelling and were therefore shown how to import their models in to a Virtual Reality environment. Their models were then placed inside photospheres to give the illusion of the models being positioned on a table in front of a panoramic group photograph of the students. Using a stereoscopic viewer the models could be viewed in 3D from all directions. The photospheres were then combined in to a single Virtual Reality experience that was made available for viewing on an HTC Vive at the exhibition opening, and on Google Cardboard at all other times. One of the goals of these sessions was to show that Virtual Reality content creation need not be as complicated as some might think.


Supported By

About the IOCT

The Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK promotes practice-based transdisciplinary research into the future of interaction in a distributed and connected world. Our mission is to understand professional and creative practices across disciplines and to develop and advance such practices. Our core research is on technological innovation in professional practices, art, performance, music, games, machinima and the application of emerging technologies in public environments. We generate new knowledge that has an impact on everyday creativity, the arts, new technologies, cultural exchange and innovation in social structures.

The core members of IOCT include internationally known musicians, visual and performance artists who both use and extend digital technologies. They are led by Professor Ernest Edmonds, who won the ACM SIGGRAPH 2017 Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement In Digital Art.