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Symbiotic 2012

19th November until 4th December 2012
Phoenix Cube, Leicester

Symbiotic is an experiment in interconnectedness.

London-based art group Genetic Moo (Nicola Schauerman and Tim Pickup) and Leicester digital artist Sean Clark have created a collection of digital artworks that are designed to interact with each other as well as their human visitors.

When you enter the Cube Gallery you will become part of a Digital Art Ecology in which colours and sounds are passed between the artworks in response to your movements and interactions. Each artwork is able to operate independently, but new patterns emerge when they are shown together.

As you explore the Symbiotic exhibition you might want to consider how the artworks communicate. What are they saying? Who are they talking to? How are they connected? Can you help them create new relationships with each other? What happens when you leave the room?

Symbiotic forms the final phase of Sean Clark's PhD research at De Montfort University. If you would like to help with the evaluation of the exhibition please complete a feedback form or email Sean Clark at

There will be an opportunity to meet the artists and talk about the ideas contained within their artwork at a workshop as part of Creative Technology Live on 24th November 2012. The artists will be evaluating the exhibition on the 3rd and 4th December 2012.

The Artworks

Ever changing animation by Genetic Moo (in foyer)

Animalcules was inspired by the 19th century sea-life illustrations of Ernst Haeckel and the work of the 17th century Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek who built one of the first microscopes and was the first person to describe living 'molecules' in a sample of pond water. He christened them Animalcules. We wanted to create a swarm of fantastical small creatures whose body shapes recall a variety of sexualised micro-organisms, The piece has been shown in many formulations.

Interactive work by Genetic Moo (right wall of Cube Gallery)

This piece has been specially created for the Symbiotic show, based on the deep sea cockatoo squid, it responds both to the colour of what it can see and also to what it hears. It mimics any sound in the room and if interested enough will come up close and sing its own particular mating calls. When all is silent it retreats into the gloom. Its body is patterned with coloured discs; chromatophores loosely mimic the chameleon like ability of many deep sea creatures.

It's Alive! Ants
Interactive work by Genetic Moo (either side of the Cube Gallery entrance)

It's Alive! Ants is the latest site specific piece that sees wriggling pixels respond to user motion in the Cube Gallery. The ants create pheromone trails in response to the movement of people in the gallery. As more ants are activated the pheromone trails expand creating mini ant highways across the piece.

Interactive work by Genetic Moo (centre screen on facing wall in the Cube Gallery)
Starfish was inspired by the notion of how humans would evolve if the focus was on sensual grounds rather than the more usually imagined intellectual paths. Starfish was the first ever piece by Genetic Moo and is constructed by stitching together photos and videos of the artists own body parts. In this open source version the interaction is driven by a Kinect sensor which responds to user motion in front of the screen. The Starfish tints either red or blue depending which way the user moves.

Interactive work by Sean Clark (left wall of Cube Gallery)
The Whale searches the deep ocean for sources of light. It particularly likes bioluminescence colours of the Cockatoo Squid, but it will also feed on the reflected light from other creatures it comes across. The Whale never forgets, remembering previous encounters as it searches.

Red Spinner / Blue Spinner
Interactive work by Sean Clark (left and right screens on facing wall in the Cube Gallery)
Red Spinner and Blue Spinner are simple colour responsive organisms that are activated by the presence of their particular colour. As the the amount of colour increases they becoming increasingly excited, making enthusiastic sounds and calls.

Digital Art Ecologies

Digital Art Ecologies are a new way of curating and exhibiting interactive digital artworks. Rather than seeing a collection of artworks as individual pieces – with no relationships or connections to each other – opportunities for interaction between them are sought out and encouraged. Like ecologies of living systems, the relationships between the parts can take many forms, but the most sustainable are those that are mutually beneficial, or in some ways 'symbiotic'.



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