Thursday, 9 December 2010

Transdisciplinary Group Meeting

The meeting of 60 academics was addressed by Vice Chancellor Dominic Shellard, who posed the question as to how the University structures might be best organised to remove the barriers preventing effective Transdisciplinary working. Heidi McPherson highlighted the decline of creative and left-field thinking in pupils as they progressed through the educational system. Phil Moore aligned the Grand Challenges of Research with a more holistic and Transdisciplinary approach to research, and Andrew Hugill outlined the differences between multi- and trans-disciplinary working and the problematic of balance between disciplines and connected approaches to research. The meeting broke into four groups for a lively discussion on research, post-graduate teaching, undergraduate teaching and Knowledge Transfer. The feed back sparked a summative discussion and the drawing together of action points to move the discussion into actions.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Third Woman in New York


The Third Woman was shown at five consecutive nights in November at The Big Screen Project . An innovative venue for video, film, live and interactive content setting a new standard for the urban, cinematic experience. It consists of a large 30 x 16.5 ft. HD Format LED screen located at the 10,000 sq. ft. public plaza behind a new 54-story multi-use building on Sixth Avenue between 29th and 30th Street in New York City.  A destination  continuously evolving with its audience and galvanizing Upper Chelsea with thought-provoking tapestries of contemporary media.

Audiences attend preannounced screenings of films or just pass through the plaza and be captivated by the quality and diversity of the content.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Transdisciplinary Group

DMU Transdisciplinary Group Inaugural Meeting
Time 1:00pm – 4.30pm, Thursday 9th December 2010
Venue: Campus centre

We live in a world of complex systems, of which we only have partial comprehension. From the biosphere to the global economy we lack fundamental tools to understand the complexity of system behaviours. The future of Research must embrace transdisciplinarity if it has any chance of both understanding and ameliorating the Grand Challenges  of the 21st Century.

Impacts on research and subsequently teaching:

·       Strategically DMU has relied heavily on regional recruitment. The new funding regime implies that there will be a sharp fall off in demand from local recruitment and that to distinguish its offerings DMU will need to find a niche, which is attractive both nationally and internationally.

·       Uncertainty is the challenge of the future. Versatility and a broad knowledge base will equip students for the 21st century. This does not mean the end of specialisms, but a new pedagogy to relate several disciplines in the synchronised solving of complex problems

·       Many of us are already working on transdisciplinarity research, teaching and knowledge transfer. This group aims to develop existing strengths and support new initiatives.

Timetable for December 9th

1.0                   Welcome : Professor Sue Thomas, IOCT/Humanities

1.05                    Professor Andrew Hugill, Director, IOCT

1.45                   Professor Phil Moore

2.00                    Action Plan Breakout Session: led by Professor Martin Rieser IOCT/Art & Design into 4

                  Teaching and Transdisciplinarity UG

                  Teaching and Transdisciplinarity PG
                  Transdisciplinary Research

                  Technology Transfer
3.00       Coffee break
3.20                    Plenary chaired by Professor Mohammad Ibrahim, Technology
4.30                   End

For more information please contact:
Prof Mohammad Ibrahim
Prof Martin Rieser
Prof Sue Thomas

Here are some background document links:

Transdisciplinary Graduate Education

Towards Transdisciplinary Education and Learning 

Enhancing Transdisciplinary Research  
by Wiesmann et al. td-net for transdisciplinary research

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Vision 2020

VISION2020 Leicester - Ideas for the future



Vision2020 was the BIG discussion in Leicester organised by De Montfort University, Amplified Leicester and the City Council. It discussed how innovations could influence business, social and family life in the future . More than 200 creative thinkers shared ideas on how technology, networks and communities will shape the societies and businesses of tomorrow.

A vision for 2020 was created from the predictions, aims and aspirations of participants for the coming decade. These ideas were taken from the wish-lists written by attendees on the day of how Leicester could improve, without relying on major Government funding. This vision for 2020 is available to view here, and we plan to update you with those ideas already in action in the city and the new actions as they start to emerge.


John Thackara - How to make less, more

John Thackara
A green, restorative and steady-state economy is not a future vision - it already exists, at least in embryo. Social innovation is all around us in a million grassroots projects. Connected citizens, and new kinds of business, are taking practical steps to re-make our cities places, and tools. By innovating services for daily life that use far fewer resources, they help to rebuild natural and social assets. Many of these projects use new technologies in creative ways - but their positive energy derives most from the skills and imagination of the people involved. What is the opportunity here for Leicester?
John Thackara is a writer, speaker, and event producer. Described by Business Week as "one of the great voices on sustainability", he is the author of In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World (MIT Press) among thirteen books, and of a widely-read blog about design for resilience, As director of Doors of Perception, John organizes festivals and encounters around the world in which communities imagine sustainable futures – and take practical steps to realize them. John Thackara lives in France.
Useful Links:

Vision2020 The Wishlist
All the wishlists collected from the Unconference session at Vision2020 were gathered together. People were working very hard and there are dozens of items! The first cut for discussion and refining.

It’s up to Leicester to decide which to choose and how to implement them.

Growing Knowledge: The evolution of research

An exhibition at the British Library showcasing new and innovative research tools and techniques

12 October 2010 - 16 July 2011

The British Library have filmed a series of thought provoking discussions about the evolution of research, see our very own Professors Andrew Hugill and Sue Thomas share their thoughts.

Andrew Hugill: Digital Research, The Modern Library
Sue Thomas: Scholarly Communications, Search for and Analyse Data


Friday, 5 November 2010

Inside Out Opens in Manchester

Inside Out  was hosted by Miriad Research Centre at the Pavement Gallery Righton Building  at Manchester Metropolitan University. It will be on through November and move to Falmouth in the Spring.

Inside Out – Sculpture in the Digital Age’ is a compelling international touring exhibition featuring 46 miniature sculptures produced in resin using 3D printing technologies, the title is also the theme for the exhibition which focuses on emerging digital design techniques - and features an exchange of objects with Australian artists via the internet. Co-curated by Professor Martin Rieser and Claire Smith (Melbourne University and Art Technology Coalition)

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between the Art Technology Coalition, the University of Technology Sydney and RMIT University in Australia along with De Montfort University, Manchester Metropolitan University and University College Falmouth,(incorporating Dartington College of Arts) in the United Kingdom.

ICIDS 2010 Edinburgh

Martin Rieser was invited to participate on an expert panel in lively day workshop at Edinburgh University as part of ICIDS 2010: The third International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling. Janet Murray author of Hamlet on the Holodeck joined the workshop: Towards a Shared Vocabulary for Interactive Digital Storytelling via Skype link from Atlanta. 

The workshop addressed the diversity of theoretical concepts and associated critical terminology used to describe digitally mediated forms of interactive narrative. Scholars and practitioners in the interdisciplinary area of Interactive Digital Storytelling, who originally trained in a specific field often continue to use the terminology they are familiar with, which often causes misunderstandings - both in the internal discussion in the field of Interactive Storytelling Design and the external one with researchers from more traditional fields within the humanities and computer sciences. 

Specifically the workshop addressed this topic by:
  • reviewing some particularly ambiguous terms – such as story and plot – and their specialized meaning according to the disciplinary context
  • applying them to a mini-corpus of works,
  • discussing possible avenues for establishing a shared vocabulary.
The results of the workshop was presented to the panel of experts who reacted to the results and contributed their take on the problem..

Hartmut Koenitz, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Mads Haahr, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Gabriele Ferri, University of Bologna, Italy
Tonguc Ibrahim Sezen, Istanbul University, Turkey

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Ocean of Light at Ars Electronica

Ocean of Light : A Squidsoup Project
Ocean of Light was a joint research project with the IOCT , funded through two TSB grants. It was shown this year at Ars Electronica and then moved to an extended display at the centre until January 2011. This year’s Ars Electronica festival took place in a massive old tobacco factory, much of it with an art deco feel, and all of it with the strong smells of tobacco still lingering in the air. It made for an interesting event. The enormous available floor area meant that each project and event on show could live and breathe in its own space; projects were generally unencumbered by anything else nearby. This, combined with the labyrinthine structure of the layout and warehouses meant that the overall experience was more like a treasure hunt – you wander around, usually hopelessly lost, down long corridors and empty spaces and then suddenly come across an unexpected gleaming treasure of media art.

Images of some of the projects on show HERE
More images of Ocean of Light HERE
Ocean of Light moves to the main gallery at the Ars Electronica Centre itself in the next week, where it will be on show until 9th January 2010.

The Ocean of Light project explores the creative and immersive possibilities of light-based visualisation in physical space. It uses bespoke hardware to create dynamic, interactive and three-dimensional sculptures from light.

Surface is the first artwork to be exhibited using the Ocean of Light hardware. It uses minimal visuals and sound to evoke the essence of character and movement. Autonomous entities engage in a playful dance, negotiating the material properties of a fluid surface.


The Ocean of Light project is a collaborative research venture, led by Squidsoup and supported by the Technology Strategy Board (UK). Partners include Excled Ltd and IOCT (Martin Rieser) at De Montfort University. Additional support and resources have been provided by Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Norway), Massey University, Wellington (New Zealand) and Centre for Electronic Media Art, Monash University (Aus).

Squidsoup is a digital arts group specialising in immersive interactive installations within physical 3D space. Their work combines sound, light, physical space and virtual worlds to produce immersive and emotive headspaces. They explore the modes and effects of interactivity, looking to make digital experiences where meaningful and creative interaction can occur. 

Contributors: Anthony Rowe, Chris Bennewith, Gareth Bushell, Liam Birtles, Ollie Brown.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Inside Out at Phoenix Square

Inside Out – Sculpture in the Digital Age’ is a compelling international touring exhibition featuring 46 miniature sculptures produced in resin using 3D printing technologies, the title is also the theme for the exhibition which focuses on emerging digital design techniques - and features an exchange of objects with Australian artists via the internet. Co-curated by Professor Martin Rieser and Claire Smith (Melbourne University and Art Technology Coalition) , it is showing at Phoenix Square Leicester through September and October 2010. Rapid Prototype production by Guy Bingham

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between the Art Technology Coalition, the University of Technology Sydney and RMIT University in Australia along with De Montfort
University, Manchester Metropolitan University and University College Falmouth, (incorporating Dartington College of Arts) in the United Kingdom.

Exhibition procedural soundwork: Ron Herrema


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Riverains at Illumini Festival Shoreditch

Martin Rieser with Collaborating artists Ximena Alarcon & Kasia Molga 
Programming in Layar: Gareth Howells
Programming for Empedia locative system: Cuttlefish Multimedia, Phil Jones and Sean Clarke

Riverains creates a story trail along Old Street and Shoreditch High Street, accessible through user's mobile phones. It maps both the imaginary underground world of the Riverains and London's history onto the urban landscape.

Notionally, Riverains are souls tied to watery energies, running under our cities in rivers, cables, sewers, tunnels and caves. They travel unseen by these invisible routes and cluster around sites of their past experience.

Through GPS location sensing and QR barcode code reading, participants can use their mobile phone to discover this hidden underground world, which will correspond to real locations in Shoreditch. These align with the sites of past events such as the Ripper murders. Participants can use the Riverains voices to find those sites and fully experience these narratives.

Two new applications were developed by the Pervasive group at the IOCT for this event including a Layer tour and an new iphone app: Empedia , which will soon have a specific Riverains tour.

Kasia Molga especially revised her Mirror of Infinity mobile texting installation (Pictured) to complement the project.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Digital Arts weeks Xian

The IOCT was a strong presence at Digital Arts Weeks in Xian, China in early July 2010 . Dr Steve Gibson, Senior Research Fellow was a key organiser, presenter, educational chair, workshop presenter and also exhibitor with his interactive bicycle spoof. 'Grand Theft Bicycle' Professor Andrew Hugill presented the transdisciplinary work of the IOCT at the symposium at the Fine Art Academy and also gave a pre-concert talk at the prestigious Music Conservatory on Piano Pataphysics and an open air concert in Jade valley attended both by participants and village locals. Professor Sue Thomas gave a conference keynote on Transliteracy research practice at the conference and Professor Martin Rieser mounted the Third Woman interactive mobile film and an opening performance intervention with workshop students directed by collaborators Anna Dumitriu and Margarete Jahrmann in the great hall of the Fine Art Academy and gave a conference talk on the Art of Mobility. Brett Battey showed his piece Sinus Aestum in the Trans-Art exhibition and Honji Yang gave a talk at Xi'an Jiaotong University on Prolonging Software Life for Digital Art Systems and moderated the Future Cities forum.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Networked Music

The first event across the dedicated fibre-optic network
that connects the DMU Cube at Phoenix Square with the
Institute Of Creative Technologies and buildings across
De Montfort University took place today. Four musicians
gathered at three separate locations under the direction of
Professor Andrew Hugill and performed a series of
improvised pieces. The performers were:
  • Andrew Hugill (harmonium,  mbira (thumb piano), mouth organ) 
  • Ximena Alarcón (native American flute)
  • Amit Patel (decks)
  • Neal Spowage (electro-dumbell, electro-magnetic wand).

Technical support was provided by Adam Weikert (DMU)
and Chris Tyrer (Phoenix Square) and the system comprised
the low latency lan chat utility 'mumble' mixed with the
multi-user video conferencing tool 'Vsee', but after this
session will soon be configured using the 16-bit audio
LAN client Jacktrip. This was the first of many such
sessions planned for the future.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

MACHINIMA at Phoenix Square, Leicester on Thurs 18 March 2010

Dr Tracy Harwood Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Creative Technologies (real life) – Twitter @tgharwood | Email
Ms Chantal Harvey (aka Mamachinima) Independent Film Producer, Amsterdam, NL (live from Second Life) – Twitter @mamachinima | Web

The evening showcased a range of films that sought to explain and expand upon the traditional definition of Machinima as the ‘creation of original films using 3D computer games engines’, combining artistic skills of storytelling, scenes and scripts with deep knowledge of computer games engines. Harwood explained an evolution that expands in-game modding to mashups and anymation (illustrating with Blackshark’s The 1K Project 2, Lagspike Films’ World of Workcraft and Tom Jantol’s Cirque du Machinima: Cuckoo Clock).

Whilst some Machinima is recognizable as fan fiction and even in-game ‘promotionals’ aimed at other gamers within the same engine, the Machinimas presented also highlighted how it is used as a video response to targeted third parties and for artistic expression (illustrated with Oxhorn’s Behind the Scenes, Pengin’s Jabberwocky and Lainy Voom’s Push).

Sources of inspiration considered the role of mashups, user-generated content and impact of legal constraints upon creative works. Dissemination was also highlighted as a particular focused strategy for some Machinimators (films illustrating these points were Phaylen Fairchild’s DiVAS and Tom Jantol’s The REMAKE – a world premiere for the big screen in Leicester).

Finally, tools and techniques were discussed with emphasis on how Machinimators may take greater control over their creative vision by using tools such as Moviestorm and iClone (IceAxe Productions’ Clockwork illustrated the medium). Chantal Harvey (aka MaMachinima), talking live from her film studio in Second Life, discussed her creative use of Second Life and presented a director’s view of a selection of her films shot on various locations: I Don’t Like the Dark (Liverpool), A Woman’s Trial (Paris) and Joy of Music.

It was especially good to see a number of machinimators in the audience, including Iain Fryer (aka IceAxe Productions) and Roger Strange-Burlong, the presenter of TMUnderground’s Friday Night Rock [Machinima] Show, both whom had traveled for more than 3 hours to get over to Leicester.

More about the films showcased

The 1K Project 2 by Blackshark -

The 1K Project II from BlackShark on Vimeo.

An early machinima made using the in-game shadow tool. Blackshark was a French machinimator who has long since moved on to different things and is no longer part of the community. This piece has, however, been the inspiration for many other films using a similar approach. The film is a visual extravaganza of cars that appear to flow like a waterfall over the race track and uses Moby’s Flower to maintain the tempo.

World of Workcraft by Lagspike Films
World of Warcraft
Learn more at the WoW Wiki

A collaboration by some well-known WOW film makers, including Oxhorn. The film brings the guild warfare concept to the office with some clever in-jokes for both World of Warcraft and office life in general – how can we achieve 30% more boss satisfaction… lets nerf accountants!

“The writing was done by myself and a long time friend who had played a lot of WoW and knew the game well. The idea started with my observation of the WoW player base. I found watching people play to be more entertaining than the game itself. Many of them had a very strict routine for how they would spend their time. They would log on at a set time, proceed to do a number of tasks, and then repeat everything the following day. The parallels to real employment seemed to grow as people spent more and more of their time on the game. From there I made a big list of office stereotypes and WoW stereotypes and ways to combine them. The best ideas were formed into a short script showing a group of characters going about their typical day. From start to finish it took right around two weeks to make.” Stephen Mullane, Director.

2008 Machinima FIlmfest best writing and best short film

Cirque du Machinima: Cuckoo Clock by Tom Jantol

The Cuckoo Clock - Click here for more amazing videos

Cirque du Machinima: Cuckoo Clock is a unique twist on a classic love-conquers-time story: the main characters are presented as falling through multiple dimensions of time to be together.

2009 Animatu Festival Machinima category
2008 Dragon*Con Machinima section finalist
2007 Machinima Europe Best Experimental Film

Behind the Scenes by Oxhorn Productions
World of Warcraft

A short sketch produced for the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences’ annual Machinima Filmfest 2008 awards ceremony. Oxhorn is at his best here, poking fun at the US election process. The film was released the evening before the election result was announced.

Jabberwocky by Pengin
Second Life

Machinima tale using the classic Louis Carroll poem. The film was created by Stephen Bentham. A digital animation student, Bentham was assigned a poem adaptation for his film editing class: "What you see here was conceptualized and shot in about six hours, with almost literally no planning, and for under L$1500."
His partner Caliah Lyon helped assemble costumes and locations, and also helped prepare several WindLight presets for different locations. Footage was shot with a SpaceNavigator 3D mouse in the sims of REZ, Templum Ex Obscurum, Quaddryl, Chakryn Forest and Barad Caristar (locations in Second Life). "No post-processing was used and editing was kept to simple timing and fades." The hero was based on a freebie avatar from Boxed Heroes. The great audio reading was taken from Project Gutenberg ( The Jabberwocky and the other fantastical creatures were all brought to life with avatars from Grendel's Children (SL location). After completing "Jabberwocky", Bentham exited SL indefinitely. Excerpt from blog posting by James Wagner Au, SL Reporter (
Push by Lainy Voom
Second Life

“This film is a little bit of an experiment - what would happen if I gave myself 1 week to film, $50 and made the very first thing that popped into my head, no matter how ridiculous the idea, trying to go with the flow, being productive rather than procrastinating, and not over thinking anything (having previously felt constrained through creating a poem in a very strict style, this was a way of trying to clear out the cobwebs). The result is difficult to explain and quite stream of consciousness like. It loosely represents how humans are tied to the mechanics of time. We can relive the past through memories, or imagine the future, but our physical bodies cannot stop being a part of the process of time, evolutionary time.”
Lainy Voom

Festivals and awards
FILE - Electronic Language Festival, Sesi Art Gallery, Sau Paulo, Brazil (future) 2010
MMIF, PlanetArt, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2010
Atopic Media Festival, Paris, France, 2009
Miami Mini Animation Festival, Miami, USA, 2009
Media Art Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2009
Cambridge Film Festival 2009, Cambridge, UK, 2009
Time, Transcendence, Performance Conference, Monash University, Australia, 2009
Jury award winner at Machinexpo 2009

DiVAS Series 2 Episode 1 by Phaylen Fairchild
World of Warcraft and Second Life

Phaylen Fairchild is the quintessential DiVA. At least in her own mind. And we let her think that. We simply don’t have time or the energy to argue with her. Granted she’s incredibly wealthy, but any woman with more ex-husbands than hair follicles would be. Most of it she blew on face lifts and botox but we love this daffy broad anyway. Phaylen is the brainchild of DiVAS, which has been in development for more than three years and appeared, albeit roughly, in several incarnations prior to this. After teaching herself the technical aspects of filming, editing and storytelling in a virtual medium, she became a powerhouse behind the scenes. Atop her big pastel colored beehive, she wears many hats including producing, writing, directing, editing, score sequencing and starring in each episode.
She is one of the original pioneers of Second life, arriving at the end of its Alpha Phase of development. She was one of the first virtual fashion designers, the first to host an immersive role playing event, she was a house member in the first ever virtual Big Brother from CBS and Endemol entertainment and hosted the Annual Metaverse Awards show which honored excellence in virtual content creation. In this film, DiVA continues her search for a guild that will let her join in the fun. It is filmed in World of Warcraft and SL.
Showcased at Museum of Natural History in Florence Italy

The REMAKE by Tom Jantol
Motionbuilder and The Kid

“My sympathy for Machinima is shrinking over the years. Especially for games based Machinima. There is one ultimate monster called Copyrights. The movie "Remake" is experiment designed to offer a new engine for authors to game with: public domain movies. This ‘engine’ has endless potential. (Nothing new, I know, but I very rarely saw public domain materials, movies, or sound, or anything, used as it can or should or could be used.) In this movie I used Chaplin's movie "The Kid". A lot. Some other author need medieval battle? Somebody made that. Car chase? Of course. With some cheap or free software available today, it is not big deal to alter a face of actor, color of armor or change the license plate. That is, in many cases, all that authors do when altering a game engine. Of course, there are many drawbacks [with the new ‘engine] as films are already made, but there are many drawbacks in game engines as well. A smart author can overcame anything, with priceless award in form of having Chaplin or Cary Grant as a main actor without problems of copyrights or overused game characters, plus sounds, costumes, scenery, everything. Not to mention the learning and good feelings of knowing that you make alive something or somebody that has already been forgotten in some video archive. I am sure that old Charlie will be happy knowing that he is main role in short movie of some grateful thief on the other side of space and time.” Tom Jantol

World Premiere at Phoenix Square Film & Digital Media Centre

Clockwork by IceAxe Pictures

Clockwork was inspired by A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (filmed by Stanley Kubrick), but is not intended to be a retelling of that story. Rather, some of the ideas from ACO have been used to construct a new story.

The footage was originally shot using Moviestorm software, then edited using Sony Vegas Studio – which is an easy-to-use video editor. While shooting in Moviestorm, a lot of customised props were imported from Google 3Dwarehouse. These included the gramophone, the old IBM computers, and some of the buildings. Other props, such as the propoganda posters were created in Adobe Photoshop and imported directly into Moviestorm. Lighting was key. In many scenes, only a strong directional light was used, which was ideal for casting shadows on walls. A number of invisible light sources helped fill in some foreground detail when needed. It was in Vegas that the cel-shading effect was applied to try and give the movie a graphic novel feel. The effect was added to each scene individually then all the scenes were brought together to make the final movie. The most complex scene was with the gang walking by the canal. This was constructed in a number of layers which were combined using “greenscreening” or “chromakeying” to make the different layers appear as one. The water effect was created using another piece of software called Squirlz.

For realism, IceAxe wanted all the actors to have native British accents (as the movie is set in the Republik of Britain) - he asked friends if they would be prepared to act and fortunately no one declined. All the voices were recorded into a standalone condenser mike which records onto an SD card (same type as a digital camera). The files are then easily transferred to PC for manipulation. The only exception was the voice of the narrator who was working remotely and used his own PC to record the audio. Effects were added using Audacity sound editor. Finally, the music was sourced from which is a website that unsigned artists can upload their music to. IceAxe found some dark industrial music by a French artist called A.n.K.h who was delighted to see how he fitted the music to the movie.

Grand Prize at Machinexpo 2009
Audience Award at the Atopic Festival 2009
Finalist at BitFilm 2009
Winner Ollie awards for Best Short and Best Art House 2009
Runner-up Moviestorm Surprise Ending competition 2009
Shown at Cambridge Film Festival and Mamachinima 2010

By Chantal Harvey aka MaMachinima

I Don’t Like the Dark

A Woman’s Trial

Joy of Music

Monday, 15 March 2010

Amplified Leicester - Project Presentation 15 Apr

Amplified Leicester is a city-wide experiment, supported by the IOCT and others and funded by NESTA. The project is designed to grow the innovation capacity of Leicester by networking key connectors across the city’s disparate and diverse communities in an incentivised participatory project enabled by social media. Objectives have been to:
  • Develop a transferable model for amplifying a diverse city’s grassroots innovation capacity through connecting diverse communities through key individuals
  • Provide practical examples of how collaborative technologies can be exploited in a city context

A group that thinks in diverse ways will address a problem from many angles.” Charles Leadbeater, The Difference Dividend

In 2009/10 Amplified Leicester offered a small group of participants from across the city the chance to:
• Benefit from Leicester's huge diversity of people and cultures
• Generate new ideas quickly
• Think like a futurist and see the bigger picture
• Organise and collaborate better
• Be persuasive in different social situations
• Share and develop creative ideas
• Manage the stream of information which bombards us every day
• Choose the best people to collaborate with
• Make the most of different kinds of resources – social, economic, creative

Every fortnight participants attended inspiring lectures and workshops and in between meetings worked together via Twitter, Facebook and other social media applications. They filmed interviews in their communities and shared the videos online.

On Thursday 15 April 2010 Amplified Leicester will showcase their work and expand the conversation to include the city and beyond. This one day event at the new Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre will include practical workshops run by the participants themselves, presentations of their experimental projects, and talks by the project team.

Keynote speaker, Andrea Saveri, an independent foresight and strategy consultant based in Berkeley, California, who will locate the Amplified Leicester experience within a global context.

Find out more at

Admission is free of charge. Register early to avoid disappointment.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Joe Turner's Decode Generative logo featured in Underground

Joe Turner writes:

"it's a generative ident for the Decode exhibition at the V&A at
the moment (, based on one of the works being shown there. There was a competition to make new versions based on the original, and I was one of three picked to be shown on the screens in the underground. You can read a bit more about it and see the original at:

You can see my version at
There's some more technical information at, and you can see
pictures of it up and running at

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Transliteracy Conference

We had a great day yesterday at the first Transliteracy Conference, held at Phoenix Square, Leicester. For a while we were even a trending topic on Twitter!

Best quote of the day, perhaps was from @soundingUnder <> : #transliteracy <>  conference was amazingly diverse and surprising. Auto+ethnography, Algorithmic Music, + expansive issues of social engagement

The conference was amplified by a team of virtuoso social media experts who live-blogged, tweeted, photographed and recorded audio interviews throughout the day. Read/listen at <> More videos be aded in the coming days.

Monday, 8 February 2010


(salary circa stg 20,000 per annum, 2 years fixed term contract)

We are looking for someone with a degree which has a new media focus, e.g. Design Management & Innovation, Arts Management, Arts Marketing, Curatorial studies, Museum studies (min. 2:1 or equivalent) who will drive this KTP project. The project aims to enhance the reputation and build recognition of PHOENIX SQUARE and its digital arts programme (see The successful candidate's task will be to investigate, design and implement an audience development strategy to support the national & international positioning of Phoenix Square. The key aims will be to:

> Work with the creative director to identify and target networks of artists and organisations and develop strategic partnerships.

> Carry out continuous research into audiences (national and international) in order to support development of marketing plans for achieving revenue generation.

> Develop and implement a positioning strategy that improves knowledge and understanding of digital arts and creative technologies among target audience groups.

> Develop a specialist programme of engagement for artists, producers and curators and organisations that builds reputation and enables the organisation to develop its strengths in digital arts and creative technologies.

> Embed knowledge of developing and engaging new audiences on a national and international level within the business.

We are looking for someone who is proactive, self-motivated and passionate, possessing good presentation skills, including oral and written communications. It would be advantageous to have some experience of developing and managing networks in a cultural and creative industries context.

Phoenix Square holds charitable status and is an independent arts organisation with over 30 years history in delivery of performance arts and cinema in Leicester, UK. Phoenix Square is seeking a recent graduate as Digital Arts Development Officer in collaboration with De Montfort University through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme The Successful candidate will work at the company premises but be employed by De Montfort University.

Interview date: 22 March 2010 in Leicester, UK.

More information and application pack at

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Martin Rieser Keynote at Mobile and Ubiquitous Media 09 Cambridge

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Interview with Martin Rieser

Nataša Milić-Frayling, Martin Rieser

The Art of Mobility
author: Martin Rieser, Faculty of Art and Design, De Montfort University


Screen cultures today are dominated by narrative and its modes of framing. The advent of “Pervasive” or “Ubiquitous” media such as mobile smartphones with GPS sensing means that new dispersed forms of narrative interaction are now possible for the public. The convergence of mobile technologies and ubiquitous computing are creating a world where information-rich environments may be mapped directly onto urban topologies. Dispersed forms of interaction raise intriguing new questions about the nature of narrative and communication, particularly in relation to modes of audience’s participation and reception.

This new and experimental work, so far undertaken in the arena of interactive public art or spatialised interaction through mobile technologies, is in pressing need of exploration, definition, and documentation. Emergent technologies of interaction and the changing nature of public interactive engagement present a radical challenge to Western narrative and its vehicles and traditions. Boundaries between established forms (i.e., games and cinema) are thrown into question and the very concept of creative authorship becomes problematic. Whilst other emerging technologies are already redefining existing forms of screen‐based exhibition and reception (interactive television and digital cinema), they still tie down the audience in relation to the screen. Locative technology blurs the borders between physical and virtual space, leading to the redefinition of the concept of the virtual from that of simulation to that of augmentation.

This poses a series of questions around changing concepts of space and place for a wide range of traditional disciplines, ranging from Anthropology, Art and Architecture, Computer Studies, Cultural and Media Studies, Fashion to Graphic design. The talk will be illustrated by examples from Rieser's recent practice, including The Third Woman interactive mobile film.

Use mum09 as name and password to view lecture at

WANTED!!!! New Media Project Co-ordinator

Circa £20k (according to qualifications and experience) 18 months fixed term contract.

We are looking for someone with a degree in either Multimedia Design, Design Management or Media Studies (min. 2:1) who will drive this exciting social media marketing project forward. The successful candidate will investigate, design and implement new media strategies to increase awareness and support income generation activities at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People. The project will also involve embedding new media within the Trust’s services.

For more information and application pack at

Deadline for applications is 5 February 2010.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Grand Theft Bicycle

By Steve Gibson, Justin Love and Jim Olson

Note: Grand Theft Bicycle is currently installed in the IOCT lab. If anyone would like to take a spin please mail me on

Grand Theft Bicycle is a "game art" installation that uses the kinetic interface of a bike – modified with sensors – to allow users to ride through a 3D “mod” of a video game (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas). Set in a desert environment, Grand Theft Bicycle immerses the user into a chaotic battlefield. The original GTA game has been modified to include political leaders of various stripes. The user can choose to side with one group of politicians (or not).

Grand Theft Bicycle (GTB) is part of a growing genre of game art, that includes artists such as Wafaa Bilal. In short, game art uses the forms and techniques of commercial gaming, but inverts normally banal or uncritical gaming content to include critical, ironic reflections on issues such as the nature of violence in media culture.

Our view of game art is that it should also function extremely well as a game. In direct contrast to some other previous game art attempts, the piece is intended to work (on the surface at least) as a traditional shooter game, with all the violence and mayhem that shooter games generally employ. The use of the traditional first-person shooter model gives the piece an “in” with gamers. Given the familiar shooter format, subversive elements are more easy to sneak into the game.

Another concern that I wanted to address in GTB was the generally sedentary nature of gaming culture. This has changed somewhat in recent years with the advent of the Wii, but in general most game culture remains profoundly “unphysical.” (even Wii usage is dominated by bowling and golf, both unlikely to get a good heart-rate going). To play GTB you need to ride our sensor-modified bike. Inaction will produce very few results. What is interesting to observe is that people of all sizes and shapes will play the game for extended periods (often up to 45 minutes), whereas normally it would be extremely unlikely for most of the gaming public to get on an exercise bike for similar periods of time.

In short, GTB is an odd mix of tactical media, first-person shooter and aerobics. There is an element of absurdism to the mix, but from my observations of literally hundreds of riders the mix works extremely well for most users.

For further information please see: