Tuesday, 1 February 2011

February Diary Dates

Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction

When David Hockney’s iPad art was shown in Paris recently it was the tool rather than the work that attracted the greatest attention. Given our appetite for novelty this is understandable yet artists have been experimenting with computers since the 1950s while mechanical reproduction of one form or another has long been a factor in the practice and reception of art. It should come as no surprise then that this month’s featured events all reflect the impact of today’s digital culture.

Rebecca Barrs, who has had several solo exhibitions, specializes in high-speed photography. The first experiments in this field took place in the nineteenth century with the most prominent exponent being Eadweard Muybridge.

Muybridge’s technique was initially employed to discover whether the four hooves of a galloping horse ever leave the ground simultaneously. They do. Later he was able to replicate motion in a manner considered a precursor of modern cinema.

In contrast Barrs, whose latest work can be seen at Newcastle Museum, is principally concerned with freezing motion. Her digital images of dripping water appear static rather than fluid, capturing moments invisible to the naked eye with an almost sculptural quality.

It may have been better, however, if the work had been allowed to speak for itself. Instead titles referencing chance figurative associations inevitably dictate the focus the eye  - rather like someone pointing to the outline of a chicken in what you previously believed to be the abstract design of your bathroom tiles – and this is an unnecessary distraction. Liquid Art continues in the New Generation Space until March 20.

Stoke Your Fires, the festival of the moving image, begins on February 18 providing a space for the celebration of creative innovation and a forum for the exchange of ideas. The exhibition highlights include an animator in residence project (February 19-27) and Erasure, a new media exhibition, which continues until May 2. Both these events can be seen at the Potteries Museum.

Across the road AirSpace Gallery is bringing together new work by David Blandy with that of performance artist Antii Laitinen in a show themed to compliment the festival. (February 19-March 26).

Stoke Your Fires offers more than exhibitions however with a busy programme also including  a four day convention, film screenings and community animation workshops for all the family. Visit http://www.stokeyourfires.co.uk/ for further information on these and other events.

In a similar vein DATFEST, Stoke’s first digital arts and social media festival, kicks off at venues across the city centre on Friday February 25 with bITjAM presenting a Mediafail workshop at Hanley Library (2pm-5pm).

Mediafail invites visitors to take along the forgotten sounds and images we all have clogging up our hard drives and learn how to transform them into a digital masterpiece. All contributions will be recycled and used in a live audio-visual performance at Fat Cat’s Bar Trinity Street on Sunday 27 (7.30pm). Admission is free. If bITjAM's September residency at SHOP is anything to go by this is an event you won't want to miss.

On Saturday 26 a Lego animation workshop for children aged 7-11 takes place at the Potteries Museum (). Families are welcome to bring along Lego characters to star in their own animated movies which they can then take home. Again, admission is free but booking is required.

Later in the day B Arts present 100 Stories, an urban walk animating the lives of local people. Featuring projections, digital soundscapes and elements of performance 100 Stories begins at the Potteries Museum at
A version of this post first appeared in the gO supplement of the Sentinel (28.01.11)