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IOCT Talks - Videos Now Available

Mon, 19 Oct 2015

IOCT Talks - Videos Now Available

Last Wednesday, as part of our Computer Arts Society Talks programme, members of the Institute of Creative Technologies gave a series of talks about their current research. It was a really interesting evening with topics including the Internet of Things, Transmedia Performance and Pata-computed Poetry

A full set of videos of the talks is now available on Vimeo. Click for Introduction, Ernest Edmonds, Tracy Harwood, Dave Everitt, Sophy Smith and Fania Raczinski. Many thanks to the IOCT for making our first CAS Talk of the autumn such as success.

Phoenix Code Club

Mon, 05 Oct 2015

Phoenix Code Club

Interact Labs and Phoenix will be starting a Code Club for 9-11 year-olds on the 12th October 2015. The club will run from 16:30pm until 6pm and will initially meet monthly. We hope to increase the number of sessions as interest grows and we find more volunteers.

Code Club is a national scheme and comes with a wide range of resources to help youngsters learn to code. At Interact Labs we will be adding something of a 'arts' spin to proceedings by encouraging attendees to use their developing programming skills to create images and their own artworks.

We are currently limited to 10 club members at the moment. Attendance is free and can be booked via the Phoenix website.



We're on the Talk Talk Digital Heroes Shortlist!

Tue, 11 Aug 2015

We're on the Talk Talk Digital Heroes Shortlist!

Interact Labs' Director, Sean Clark, on the shortlist for a Talk Talk Digital Heroes 2015 award under the 'skills' category. It's for the 'art-meets-technology' work that he's been doing at Phoenix Interact Labs over the last couple of years.

There's a prize of £5,000 on offer which, if won, will be invested back in to the Lab to develop it's work further.

If you like the work that Interact Labs has been doing and want to help it get even better then please go to http://digitalheroes.talktalk.co.uk, register and vote for Sean Clark in the Skills category.

Phoenix Interact Labs Bursary Scheme

Sat, 11 Jul 2015

Phoenix Interact Labs Bursary Scheme

Launched in 2014, our scheme offers bursaries of up to £500, workspace and individual programmes of support to artists, designers or technologists interested in experimenting with technology in their practice, to help them create innovative new work.

We're particularly interested in supporting projects that engage with technology and digital culture in a significant and critical way. The selected artists have the freedom to develop their projects in the Phoenix Interact Labs space and work with us to consider new ways of engaging the public beyond the traditional exhibition format.

Interact Labs is a space for people to be creative with digital technology. It includes everything from DIY hardware kits to a 3D printer, providing a supportive environment for learning, experimentation and collaboration.

The Phoenix Interact Labs Bursary Scheme is supported by local technology company Cuttlefish Multimedia. Visit http://interactlabs.co.uk/bursaries to download an application pack.

Make||Sound 6th - 13th June 2015

Tue, 02 Jun 2015

Make||Sound 6th - 13th June 2015

Make||Sound is an eight-day festival taking place in Leicester's City Centre - at Highcross and Curve - that will be exploring the possibilities and intricacies of sound as an artform. The event runs from from Saturday 6th June until Saturday 13th June 2015 and will play host to musicians, sound designers and creative coders from around the UK and beyond.

Interact Labs will be running two drop-in workshops at the Highcross Shopping Centre as part of the event - on Saturday 6th and Thursday 11th - that will show participants how to generate sound and control lights with Arduino micro-controllers. Attendees will be able to add their creations to Sean Clark's "Colloquy of Jam Jars" installation that will be installed at Highcross throughout the week.

For more information visit the Make||Sound website at http://makefestival.uk. A gallery of pictures of the event will be hosted on Flickr. Feel free to add your own pictures to the group.

Luke Woodbury CAS Talk

Sat, 23 May 2015

Luke Woodbury CAS Talk

Luke Woodbury gave a very interesting talk about his work on Wednesday. Despite being based in Bristol, Luke seems to have established himself quite well in Leicester - with involvement in local projects such as Pop Up Play and Esther Rolinson's exhibition at Phoenix last year.

He spoke about these projects, and others, during his presentation and answered many questions. A video recording of the talk is available here on Vimeo.

We will be having a break from hosting talks of the summer, but plan to return in the autumn. Keep an eye on the Interact Labs website for details.

Nick Rothwell CAS Talk

Thu, 16 Apr 2015

Nick Rothwell CAS Talk

We had a very interesting talk from Nick Rothwell last night. Nick is a programer and sound artist who works extensively with choreographers and dancers. His 'performance systems' feature light, projections, music and he has a strong systems aesthetic in what he does. A recording of the talk is available here on Vimeo. Nick's website can be found at http://www.cassiel.com.

Affective Digital Histories

Tue, 07 Apr 2015

Affective Digital Histories

The Affective Digital Histories project has just come to an end following the launch of the Hidden Stories book at Phoenix on the 31st March. The project was exploring how "technology" can be used to connect people with the history of an area - in this case Leicester's St Georges area aka the Cultural Quarter.

Working with our Leicester University and Phoenix partners, Cuttlefish and Interact Labs developed two iPhone and Android apps - Hidden Stories and Sounds of the Cultural Quarter - as well as a new website and a "video booth" system.

The apps form part of our ongoing investigations in to "locative media" and allow people to explore creative writing and soundscapes that are located in the Cultural Quarter. You can use them as you walk around the area, or from a fixed location.

For more information about the apps (and how to download them for free) and the project in general visit the website at http://www.affectivedigitalhistories.org.uk.

Alex May CAS Talk, Crystal Radio Workshop

Sun, 15 Mar 2015

Alex May CAS Talk, Crystal Radio Workshop

Interact Labs started its spring CAS speaker programme on Wednesday with a talk from artist Alex May. The 20+ audience was treated to an interesting talk from Alex about his creative practice that has included programming, VJing, projection mapping and robotics. We hope to upload a video of the talk soon, for now you can view pictures here. Alex's website can be found at www.alexmayarts.co.uk. Keep an eye our for details of April speaker, who we will be announcing shortly.

We also hosted our first workshop of the year on Saturday. Our "Make a Crystal Radio" workshop was scheduled to tie in with the Julian Oliver exhibition in the Phoenix Cube Gallery. The attendees were able to build a crystal radio from scratch and learnt a bit of radio theory along the way. Read a workshop report here. Again, keep an eye on the Interact Labs website for details of future workshops.

Creat-A-Con February 2015

Sat, 21 Feb 2015

Creat-A-Con February 2015

Creat-A-Con was a one-day Creative Technology organised by Jason Boomer of SideFest. It took place in the Queens Building at DMU in Leicester on the 21st February 2015. Exhibitors included Leicester Hackspace, Creative Manifesto, Starbase Leicester and Interact Labs. Over 500 people attended the event.

Interact and Interact Labs brought a range of art and technology exhibits along for people to play with.

Our Robot Arm always goes down well, and was joined at this event by a new Edison Mini Robot. This is a great little learning 'bot that is also great value for money.

Our WaterColourBot suffered a little in transport and was not performing at its best, but people still liked it. The 3D Printer also suffered a little, but was eventually set-up to produce a steady stream of whistles for people (mostly children) to take away. For many attendees it was the first time that they had seen a 3D printer in action.

We brought some DIY Virtual Reality headsets along too. However, we also had the Oculus Rift on loan to Starbase and in the end settled on encouraging people have a go with that instead. Reports were that the queue didn't die down all day.

Finally, we seem to have found a new star - the Arduino-powered Jamm Jar computer. This is a new project by Sean Clark that features a neoPixel LED ring, Arduino micro-controller, switch and rechargeable battery, all placed in a glass jam jar (see some pictures here). He has been using this device in workshops and is looking to develop it further as part of a new series of artworks. Attendees seemed to be fascinated by them and enjoyed the LED lighting patterns it produced.

Despite the odd technical problem, it was a great day. SideFest brought a very impressive audience to the event and the DMU student volunteers (and the non-DMU ones too) were incredibly helpful. We're already looking forward to the next one!

See our pictures from the event here on Flickr.