Every year since 2011, Brighton holds the annual digital festival, where artists, designers and developers display their work, hold workshops and meet to discuss all things digital. The 2018 festival began on the 13th September with a launch party at the Phoenix Gallery, an independent gallery and workshop space, run by artists from in and around Brighton.

As well as marking the start of the festival, the gallery is host to two auspicious events. The first of these is Uncommon Natures, a commissioned exhibition comprising a selection of contemporary works that have been shortlisted for the 2018 Lumen Prize. The second exhibit is from the 50th Anniversary of the Computer Arts Society, where digital artwork from the 1960s to the present day is on display.

Computer Arts Society, 50th Anniversary

The second of the two displays at the Phoenix Gallery for the launch of the Brighton Digital Festival is the CAS50 display. This is a collection of digital images by current and former members of the Computer Arts Society, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It’s amazing to think that many of the images on display in this gallery were created five decades ago, at the dawn of modern computing. All the work here is generated by computers, either virtually as stills and video, or physically using printing/plotting machinery to create tangible artworks.

Shaped Forms (2018), Ernest Edmonds

A digital abstract at CAS50 Brighton by Ernest Edmonds
Shaped Forms – Ernest Edmonds

Ernest Edmonds is an award-winning digital artist and is one of the pioneers of computational art. He began creating his work in the late 1960s and is now working as a Professor of Computational Art.

Fragments (2013), boredomresearch

Abstract digital image at CAS50 Brighton by boredomresearch
Fragments (2013) – boredomeresearch

Boredomeresearch is a collaboration between British artists Vicky Isley and Paul Smith, who combine the sciences of computing and biological research to create self-generative abstract images that naturally form, mimicking the real world.

The Gathering (2018), Stephen Bell
The Gathering, a digital artwork at CAS50 Brighton by Stephen Bell
The Gathering (2018) – Stephen Bell

Stephen Bell writes programs that generate shapes, inspired by his study of animal and plant behaviour. The resulting images are bold, colourful forms resembling the plant and life that the source data reflects.

Still from Commission for D’Arcy Thomson Museum (2013) and Untitled, from the series Travelling by Numbers (2015), Daniel Brown

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Daniel Brown works with generative and interactive art and design. Commercially, he creates apps and websites. He also lectures for the Royal Society for the Arts. He is the son of Paul Brown, also a key figure in digital art.

Cellular Form 14 0016 0016 (2013), Andy Lomas

A molecular formed digital artwork at CAS50 Brighton by Andy Lomas
Cellular Form 14 0016 0016 (2013) – Andy Lomas

Andy Lomas is an artist specialising in digital sculptures created using the simulation of emergent growth processes. His works resemble the cells of plants and animals as viewed through an imaging microscope.

ZapQ3 on the Plane of Infinity (1991), William Latham

3D rendered digital artwork at CAS50 Brighton by William Latham
ZapQ3 on the Plane of Infinity (1991) – William Latham

Well known for his pioneering Organic Art created in the late eighties and early nineties; William Latham now focuses on molecular forms and modelling systems in biological research.

Transformations Variations a and c (2017), Sean Clark

Sean Clark is the founder and Director of web and mobile development agency, Cuttlefish. He is also a researcher in Creative Technologies and several more academic pursuits in the field of digital art.

Untitled (1969), Sue Gollifer

An abstract artwork at CAS50 Brighton by Sue Gollifer
Untitled (1969) – Sue Gollifer

Sue Gollifer is a luminary of the computer art world, pioneering the form from the late 1960s onward. She continues to curate and lecture in the arts.

Peter Beyls – Aladdin v2 nr1 & nr2 (2016)

Peter Beyls works on the intersection of computer science and the arts. His work is largely with generative systems and interactivity in music and visual art forms.

Night Sky and Swimming Pool (1996), Paul Brown

Paul Brown started his artistic journey in the late 1960s, moving to generative art in the mid 1970s. He was the founding head of the United Kingdom’s National Centre for Computer Aided Art and Design.

Character Map (1973), PLAD example PLAD Examples 1 & 2 (1973), Roger Saunders

Roger Saunders is another person amongst the pioneers of computer art. He developed his own software, the Programming Language for Art and Design (PLAD). Roger is possibly the first person to have a digital art exhibition in Brighton for computer art week in 1971!

Desmond Henry – Untitled (1962)

One of the earliest pieces of computer art, Untitled, at CAS50 Brighton by Desmond Henry
Untitled (1962) – Desmond Henry

In 1962 Desmond Henry used analogue computers, originally designed to calculate WW2 bombing strategies, to control electromechanical drawing machines; attributing him to the very first computer-based artworks.

Stephen Scrivener – Untitled (1983)

Computer artwork Untitled by Stephen Scrivener at CAS50 Brighton
Untitled (1983) – Stephen Scrivener

Stephen Scrivener taught and studied interactive computer systems design. He created a device called The Machine, which allowed viewers to partially influence the visual output using a control panel.

Uncommon Natures and the CAS50 exhibition both run until the 23rd September. The Brighton Digital Festival itself runs throughout the rest of September until the 13th October. Visit the Festival website for more details on the events happening in the city.

That’s all from me for now. Keep checking the homepage to see new artist features and reviews from the world of digital art.



Images on this page courtesy of the Computer Arts Society.