Welcome to the Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre.

At D-MARC the focus of our research is on an understanding of the shifting boundaries and new relationships between traditional arts disciplines, which have been created by new technologies. We explore the creative potential of hybrid forms made possible by digitalisation, and are also concerned to develop theoretical and pedagogic understandings capable of keeping pace with, and informing, technological developments.

Recent Submissions

  • Utran Conversations

    Davies, Huw; Basi, Philip, Ranjit; University of Derby / Artcore (Artcore / University of Derby, 2019-10-18)
    Utran Conversations is a 3-channel, 30-minute, experimental documentary film by Huw Davies and Philip Ranjit Basi, set against the backdrop of the world’s largest kite festival in Gujarat, India. It explores the social and cultural contexts for a huge visual spectacle which marks the transition from winter to summer. The Festival serves to bind together different communities and crosses religious divides. It also provides a complex infrastructure for the employment of thousands of homeworkers engaged in the in the manufacture and distribution of kites and associated apparel. Utran Conversations also comments on the environmental impact, particularly to the local wildlife as the balance of the natural ecosystem is disturbed by the presence of the glass coated threads which are used in the kite flying and fighting rituals, even causing human fatalities. Exploring these themes and issues the film interweaves a multiple series of ‘conversations’ with key players from kite makers to kite flyers and wildlife NGO’s, set around the event of the Utran Festival itself. Utran Conversations was supported by Artcore and DMARC and produced as part of an international artists’ research residency at the Reliance Arts Centre, Baroda in January 2019. It was exhibited as part of the exhibition Otherlings, (Artcore, Derby. October/November 2019) and S.H.E.D at InDialogue Symposium, (Nottingham Contemporary. November 2019). Selected and shown in competition at: Crown Wood International Film Festival (Kolkata, March 2020); New York Indian Film Festival (July/August 2020); Pune Short Film Festival (December 2020); Goa Short Film Festival (December 2020); Lake City International Film Festival (Delhi, December 2020).
  • Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary, HD Film, 9’24’’, 2019

    McCloskey, Paula; Vardy, Sam; Derby University; Sheffield Hallam University (Paula McCloskey, 2020-11-06)
    'Myths for a Wetland Imaginary' 09,24 HD film, at ANTONYM: Life With and Without Animals, Art Core, Derby, UK Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary, digital film, 09.24 a place of their own (artist duo Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy) present a film made as part of their ‘Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary’*, a project that explores potential of art to create resistant wetland imaginaries as alternate to dominant carbon and capitalist ones. This film was developed through a residency at Walthamstow Wetlands Centre, which included participatory workshops (mapping, stories and myth-making), site-responsive performance walk and multi-media installation. Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary asks how a transdisciplinary art practice working with the sciences and indigenous knowledges opens up alternate ways for disparate communities to think about climate change, biodiversity and colonialism; and what the role of art can be in producing resistant counter-imaginaries to capitalist and carbon imaginaries? Wetlands are one of the earth’s most important ecologies, yet also one of the most threatened. This project situated wetland loss as part of global colonialism, and attended to a paradoxical condition of wetlands which has immense potential: while their global destruction is due to dominant carbon/capitalist imaginaries they can yet open up new imaginaries through their unique ecologies, biological processes, entanglements of human/nonhuman, local and global relevance, and in enabling different knowledges. 'Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary' makes visible intimate relationships between personal, local, experiences of wetlands and their planetary dimension. The film articulates something of the complex biological, ecological and political ideas of new multiple relational possibilities. The cumulative activities of Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary of which the film is part start to reveal a ‘global wetlands imaginary’ as an ecological imaginative space for human and more-than-human co-existence, as a metaphor for new forms of multispecies solidarity. The exhibition ANTONYM: Life With and Without Animals presents the work of eight artists from the UK, USA and Iceland. Each makes artwork that engages with the more-than-human world, reflecting on contemporary threats to nonhuman life as well as on the pleasures of our relationships with other species. The exhibition coincides with the online conference Life With and Without Animals at the University of Derby, and both events are organised and curated by Steve Baker and Angela Bartram.
  • Introduction

    Delaire, B.D.; Gotoph, Hefar; University of Derby (Cambridge Scholars, 2020-12-17)
    The introduction to Mythologies, Identities and Territories of Photography: Forever//Now provides a creative turn to conventional introductory chapter writing by using a transcript of an email exchange by two delegates of the conference event on the 15th March 2019. The reciprocal communications of Hefar Gotoph and B.D. Delaire, both academics in the field, chart the period from their invitation to write a co-authored introduction, to the conclusion of their dialogue. The nature of their conversations discuss the arising issues and contexts from the conference itself with more specific references to each contributors paper within the text, which interplays with the emerging social contexts of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic over a ten month period. Hefar Gotoph is an independent writer and curator working and residing between the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Ukraine. He has worked for many years for a number of universities in Eastern Europe and specialises in inter-disciplinary research and creative practices that combine still and moving image with performance and improvised music. He is founder and director of the East European Experimental Film Cooperative, and he has written widely for specialist film, photography and performance art journals. B.D. Delaire is a writer, artist, and Professor of the Université du Luxembourg. They have taught both art history and philosophy across prominent institutions in Europe and America. Their work is informed by contemporary debates about art, politics and philosophy, embracing especially continental philosophy from Kant to the present, psychoanalytical theory, binaries of sceptic space and the Marxist intellectual tradition. They have published, amongst others, ‘After Theo Kerg: Mid Century Tactility of Form’ and ‘Herve Keenke, Knowledge and Truss Revisited’.
  • Our Story: A History of the Irish in Derby (promo edit)

    McMahon, Daithí; University of Derby (2019-03-01)
    Our Story is an oral history project that aims to capture the individual stories and experiences of the Irish diaspora here in Derby who emigrated from the 1950s right up to today. The interviews capture the faces and personalities of individuals for posterity while also recording and celebrating the significant contribution the Irish community has made to the Derby area culturally, economically and socially. These interviews are being captured now, particularly with older contributors, so that their stories and personalities can be remembered forever. This project seeks to create an indelible record of the Irish people in Derby so that future generations, including the families of the participants, can always have access to a record of their grandparents, great grandparents etc and that these can also be shared with the wider community. It is a poignant project, especially at a time when we mark the centenary of the armistice and consider the challenges and uncertainty Brexit may bring. This piece offers a timely reminder of the UK’s closest neighbour and the strong ties that exist between Ireland and the UK, which ought not be forgotten. The piece is a teaser video for an ongoing wider oral history research project involving dozens of contributors of all ages. The project is supported by the Derby Irish Association, the Embassy of Ireland, UK and the University of Derby.
  • When The Future Comes

    Locke, Caroline; University of Derby (Nottingham Contemporary, 2018-06-30)
    An afternoon of talks, artworks and a workshop that looked to the future as the environment and climate is changing. Featuring Dr John King, Senior Scientist at the British Antarctic Survey, artists Dr Rachel Jacobs, Caroline Locke, Frank Abbot, Juliet Robson, Wallace Heim, Matt Watkins, Dominic price, Horizon Digital Economy Research (University of Nottingham) and Prof Esther Eidinow, Professor of Ancient History (University of Bristol). The activities explored how we respond to climate change through a combination of art, science, technology and in our every day lives by presenting 'Performing the Future' an artist/research project led by Dr Rachel Jacobs. Caroline presented some of her current research and artistic practice in relation to science and climate change, including her Frequency of Trees, Significant Trees, association with The Woodland Trust and Smoke in the trees experiments with Jacobs and Watkins.
  • Mythologies, Identities and Territories of Photography: Forever//Now

    Marmalade, Gemma; Harris, Philip; University of Derby (Cambridge Scholars, 2020-12-17)
    This book brings together essays by both experienced and emerging researchers, photographic artists, and curators exploring themes such as ethnicity, gender, materiality, the archive, memory, age, national identity, and technologies, with several papers discussing creative responses to the UK’s departure from the European Union. In addition, it includes a paper by Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum, on the work of industrial photographer, Maurice Broomfield. The book will appeal to students, academics, photographic artists, curators, and those with an interest in art, photography, photographic history and theory. It includes black and white illustrations throughout, alongside a generous selection of colour plates, including portfolios by photographers Craig Easton, for the project SIXTEEN, and the works of industrial photographer Maurice Broomfield.
  • Small Sculpture Show

    Fisher, Craig; University of Derby (Village Green Arts & Music Festival presented by Metal, 2016-07-09)
    Fisher was invited by artist and curator Jonathan Kipps to participate in the, ‘Small Sculpture Show’ exhibition as part of Village Green Arts & Music Festival presented by Metal, Southend-on-Sea. Fisher was interested in the opportunity to present a singular sculpture from the ‘Homemade Device’ series amongst a range of other artists who were also presenting small works as this provided a different context of experiencing this series of works which would ordinarily be viewed as part of a group installation. The artists included in the exhibition were, Craig Fisher, Jonathan Kipps, Laura Keeble, Lauren O’Grady, Lauren Wilson & Teal Griffin The exhibition was curated by Jonathan Kipps
  • Things we didn’t have before

    Fisher, Craig; University of Derby (Pump House Gallery, 2015)
    For the exhibition, ‘things we didn’t have before’, Pump House Gallery transforms into a cabinet of curiosities. Each of the gallery’s floors serve as different compartments, a treasure trove of wondrous artworks and objects that await discovery. Supported by curator Hannah Conroy, local recovery group CDS Wandsworth have selected artworks and objects to form a new public collection that tells the unique and unexpected stories behind objects and their creators or collectors. Each year Pump House Gallery works with a different Wandsworth community-based group for its annual Open Call exhibition, with the aim of providing contemporary art experience, knowledge and practice through the development of a public exhibition. Over 100 arts practitioners and collectors submitted their unusual and intriguing objects and artworks for consideration. Over six sessions, the curatorial group made its final selection of pieces by 20 artists and collectors and determined how to present these within the Pump House Gallery setting. ‘things we didn’t have before’ is an exhibition that presents both a collection of objects and a collection of the stories that accompany them, and how these are read is unique to each gallery visitor. Fisher presented his ongoing series ‘Homemade Devices’ working with the curator to explore and reconsider the methodologies of display and staging for the works by showing the works on a specially constructed shelving unit within one of the central gallery spaces. Included artists; Terry Barber, Tom Buchanan, Maria L. Felixmüller, Craig Fisher, Matt Gee, Paolo Giardi, Greta Hauer, Kevin Hunt, Scott Joseph, Morwenna Lake, Mindy Lee, Sonia Levy, Jammie Nicholas, Marina Rees, Sue Ridge, Cyrus Shroff, Hazel Stone, Julia Zastava, Willow Rowlands, Yoke and Zoom. Fisher was invited by Pump House Gallery to contribute to an in-conversation event, ‘When an object becomes a thing’ on 5 December 2015 alongside artists, Lauren Godfrey, Greta Hauer and curator, Hannah Conroy. Using this ambiguous statement as a starting point, the event aims to delve deeper into conversation instigated by the exhibition itself: the point at which an object transcends its inanimate status and is imbued with significance beyond its immediate visual quality or utilitarian function.
  • Gestures of Resistance

    Fisher, Craig; Wainwright, Jean; University of Derby (University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury Romantso Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece, 2017-04)
    Gestures of Resistance aims to respond to our current general mood of political anxiety and alienation by opening up socio-political critique in order to resist the palpable feeling of disempowerment. Rather than accepting the non-choice of the neoliberal setup of Greece or current right-wing politics both in America and Europe, the artists of Gestures of Resistance reflect on the current state of our political condition, our current housing situation, the state of education and art, liberalism, diversity and pluralism in this moment of historical crisis, whereby the state of today seems to have strong links to the state of the past. As part of Gestures of Resistance, artworks by sixteen international contemporary artists will be exhibited at the Romantso Cultural Centre in Athens during Documenta 14. From photographs and collages to sculptures and installations, each artist has an agenda and political take – some subtle and cryptic, some openly confrontational. Fisher will be exhibiting new and existing sculptural works from his, ‘Homemade Device’ series. Participating artists include: Bill Balaskas, Pavel Büchler, Broomberg and Chanarin, Edward Chell, Ian Dawson, Craig Fisher, Alfredo Jaar, Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps, Steffi Klenz, Małgorzata Markiewicz, Louisa Minkin and Francis Summers, Terry Perk, Julian Rowe, Yorgos Sapountzis, Bob and Roberta Smith, Socratis Socratous, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jessica Voorsanger, Stuart Whipps
  • Micro

    Fisher, Craig; University of Derby (AIR Gallery, Altrincham, 2019)
    Fisher was selected to participate in the group exhibition, Micro at AIR Gallery which was an open theme exhibition of over 100 small works by rising stars in contemporary art, working across a vast range of media. Fisher exhibited a number of ‘Homemade Devices’ which were highly commended by exhibition selectors.
  • A Profound Difference

    Harris, Philip; University of Derby (Departure Lounge, 2019-07-20)
  • 8mm Cine Workshop

    Harris, Philip; University of Derby (Exposure Festival, 2020-02-03)
    Now considered obsolete, these old Bolex 8mm cine cameras were produced in the 1950s and promoted to families and amateur film makers. They are simple to use, fully manual, powered by a clockwork motor, with excellent build quality and optics. With care and application of basic cameras/photo skills and knowledge, they are capable of very good image quality. Being a physical medium, cine film allows the user capacity to experiment, in a very hands-on way, with editing, looping and use of multiple projectors to create montages of footage and images. The workshop can be based around a brief that explores the identities of Calgary – the physical, regional and cultural identities of the city. Users will be taught and guided in the camera controls, exposure settings, use of a handheld lightmeter (It would be very useful if the Uni can provide these. Sekonic 308 will suffice), and methods for handheld filming in a range of circumstances. They will then use this knowledge to produce film footage that interprets their response to Calgary. The scope of delivery and support will depend on how much time the Photo/Art department can dedicate to the workshop. A practical workshop on basic use can be delivered in 2 hours, including a visual presentation on my own work to present a rationale for the workshop. It would work best if this can then be supplemented by an hour or so of practical support with using the cameras and exposing film for the brief.

    Harris, Philip; Marmalade, Gemma; University of Derby (FORMAT, 2019-03-15)
    The conference for FORMAT19, 15th March 2019, was hosted by University of Derby and the Digital and Material Artistic Centre. In place of the single stream events that had taken place in previous years, the organisers arranged three parallel streams with over 30 contributors, many from outside the UK, and 200 delegates. This dramatic upscale in ambition produced the largest scale FORMAT conference in the history of the University of Derby. The selection of papers and presentations drew upon an open call by the organisers with the inclusion of selected participants in the FORMAT19 festival with rigorous review by both editors. The overall form and structure of the conference was developed, managed, and realised by the editors with a schedule of three streams titled in relation to the evocative theme of the festival, Forever//Now, as follows: 1. Myths, narratives and histories 2. Archiving the future 3. Territory, identity and memory Specific contributions by academics from the University of Derby/D-MARC: • Marc Boward provided a critical examination of digital montage as a means to visually negotiate issues of politics and history. • Gemma Marmalade’s (ed.) paper presented her performed intervention on the delivery of her paper for the project Green Fingered. • Philip Harris (ed.) presented a philosophical examination of obsolete media and its potential to examine issues of politics and social concerns. • Alys Russell provided a critical examination of domestic photography and its relationship with locative memory. • Dominic Chapman’s paper examined the collective mythologies and visual tropes employed by the Leave Campaign in the UK Referendum to leave the EU, 2016. • Mark Hall presented a critical examination of the Stephen Shore’s work American Surfaces. • Stephanie Rushton discussed the philosophical context for her project The Archaea, centred around ecology and intelligence in nature. The conference, in its drastically enlarged scale and scope, provided a highly valuable source of new knowledge across a highly diverse range of ideas, themes and issues, representing the diverse range of practices and themes in contemporary research on photography.
  • A profound difference: Visualising politics through obsolete media

    Harris, Philip; University of Derby (Cambridge Scholars, 2020-12-17)
    This paper is a revised and edited version of that which was delivered at the conference for the FORMAT19 International Photography Festival, for which I acted as co-organiser and co-editor. An iteration of the paper was delivered at Exposure Photography Festival, Calgary, Canada, 2020, to support my exhibition in the festival in addition to a workshop on analogue cine media. The essay discusses the research into and use experimental use of media for a visual project, A Profound Difference, staged at the launch of FORMAT19, 15th March, at the University of Derby. A further iteration was presented for Departure Lounge, 20th July 2019. The visual project was made between October 2018 and March 2019. It was centred around concerns for the future circumstances of young people as a result of the UK referendum to leave the EU, held on the 26th June 2016. The project employed a very specific use of media in the form of continental, Standard 8mm cine film equipment dating from the 1950s, the rationale being that this was the media Europeans used to record their lives during the period in which the supra-national state of Europe was first being formed. The project was publicly staged as a largescale installation with multiple projectors throwing looped footage of the young people onto the sides of polling booths. Using the visual work as a vehicle, the essay describes theoretical research for the employment of obsolete media to engage with current political issues. I discuss theories of making with reference to Martin Heidegger, Gilbert Simondon, Elaine Scary, and Hito Steyerl, to create a framework for a critically informed use of obsolete visual media. My argument is that due to obsolete analogue media escaping the market drives of digital media, it has a potential to raise awareness of our current dependence on digital media for which we have questionable agency.
  • Some of what happened here…v.2.0. FORMAT: A case study of impact through legacy, time and place

    Davies, Huw; University of Derby (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2020-12-17)
    Chapter in ‘Mythologies, Identities and Territories of Photography: Forever//Now’. Marmalade, G., Harris, P. (eds). Part of an edited selection of essays and presentations delivered at the conference for FORMAT19 International Photography Festival. Some of What Happened Here…v.2.0. presents an historical account of the impact of FORMAT and its establishment as one of the UK’s leading international festivals of contemporary photography and related media. This is contextualised through the ‘place-making’ legacy of Derby, a City with a long-standing heritage in the advancement of the photographic medium and the University, as a major provider of photographic higher education stretching back over six decades. The chapter explores the impact of FORMAT’s transdisciplinary approach through using the vehicle of a thematic festival event, to push forward the boundaries of photographic practice and discourse, and its dissemination to new audiences.
  • Gay gardens: Visual anachronisms and the subversive politics of lesbian representation

    Marmalade, Gemma; University of Derby (Cambridge Scholars, 2020-12-17)
    This paper is a direct transcription of the performed presentation which was delivered at the conference for the FORMAT19 International Photography Festival, for which I acted as co-organiser and co-editor. This presentation supported my exhibition of the work within the festival. The paper given discusses philosophical issues arising around contemporary representation of lesbian and queer identities in context to its historical counterpart. This paper, like the work itself, continues to playfully and precariously position the work in-between the fictional and documentary, challenging the sensibilities of its audience. Additionally, through the performance of the paper, other research concerns of the subversive nature of this practice were transposed. The paper was presented by a carefully rehearsed imposter version of my academic self. I became my own anonymous audience heckler, undermining the validity of the claims in the research, resulting in my/their dramatic removal from the premises. This work sought to test the expectations of conference conventions, the shutting down of institutional challenge and debate, the erasure of the female voice, the imposter sensibilities of academics, and the inversion of authoritative roles. The work was live streamed along with other conference proceedings and documented through photographs as illustrated within the chapter.
  • CHEAD Annual Conference 2020

    Jones, Rhiannon; University of Derby; Birmingham City University; CHEAD (2019-03-18)
    This was a bespoke design for CHEAD that was developed reconfigure over the two days of the conference to support the conference themes. S.H.E.D was commissioned to act as an open space for discussions to take place, and then a private, more closed space for the facilitation of a participatory workshop for delegates to consider the 'Challenge of Change: The value of creative education supporting inclusion and diversity'. S.H.E.D was offered as a case study and live installation to see the research methodology of how to design for dialogue through reconfigurable and dialogic space. It was also a consultation space and a disseminator space for CHEAD, led by Dr Rhiannon Jones.
  • REDO - Contemporary Art

    Jones, Rhiannon; Nottingham Trent University; Design School Kolding, Denmark (Cumulus International, 2017-05-31)
    For this paper presentation, Dr Jones discussed the collaborative work of the artists Traci Kelly and Rhiannon Jones, (Kelly + Jones), 2015 to the present, 2017. Considering how do we re-do practice by resisting the expectations of language, it forms part of a subversive investigation into writing as a visceral encounter and as an excavation of self and site – a mode of human extension into the world. In connection with the REDO conference theme of "how do we REDO our design education, our design practice, and our design research so that our knowledge comes to have an actual effect on how we live, from the micro level of the domestic to the macro level of politics? How do we train our students to become DOers and to confront the challenges that face the world in terms of social inclusion, climate/environment, and economic growth? How do we impact our disciplines and beyond? The REDO biannual Cumulus 2017 conference in Kolding aimed to playfully inspire, challenge and develop the role, relevance and scope of design, art and media in a global world with sustainability for people, planet and profit in mind. The overall aim of the conference is to create lasting impact in design and design education and initiate (future) actions." Cumulus, 2017
  • The non/inhuman within: beyond the biopolitical intrauterine imaginary

    McCloskey, Paula; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2020)
    In the context of the increasingly entangled, devastating markers of this time (climate crises, unfettered capitalism, tribal nationalism, increasing borders, species extinction), this paper stakes a claim for the importance of attending to the human intrauterine as a way to connect with non/inhuman alterity. It is argued that the intrauterine phenomena, as a process experienced by all humans, has a part to play in understanding “humanness”, human connectedness to nonhumanness, which can be used as part of a wider strategy to re-imagine collaboratively and with co-response-ability ways to live and survive within multispecies landscapes. Methodologically, Karen Barad’s diffractive approach is used to explore the intrauterine as a time-space of affect and connection between the human and nonhuman. With this approach, the paper assembles selected philosophers, alongside a re-reading of Mary Kelly’s Antepartum (1973) in the proposal of an intrauterine imaginary unhitched from the biopolitical. In doing so, it seeks to re-draw some of the boundaries around the intrauterine imaginary, to propose how paying attention to the non/inhuman of the human intrauterine might generate images and ideas of connections and co-response-ability beyond birth, between humans and more than humans.
  • Trees and Other Objects

    Baker, Steve; Dodd, Mike; University of Derby (Singular, 2017)
    This is an artists’ book, published by Singular Publishing to coincide with a two-person exhibition of the same name at the Fairhurst Gallery in Norwich from 16 June to 5 August 2017. The aim of the publication (produced entirely independently of the gallery) was to make a lasting and more substantial record of our work that would also contextualize it more fully. To this end, we thought with care about the public profile of the book. This 48-page publication has a foreword by Amanda Gieitner, Director of the East Anglia Art Fund, which explicitly situates our work in the context of Constable, the Norwich School of Painters, and more recent East Anglian landscape photographers such as Mark Edwards and Frances Kearney (both of whose works are represented in the collection of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery). The publisher we approached was chosen with similar care. Singular Publishing was in 2017 a new initiative from Charlie Watson, who previously ran East Publishing, well known for its prestigious and award-winning exhibition catalogues for the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery among others. Trees and Other Objects also included an essay (pp. 5-11) in which I situated our research-led practices in relation to the thinking of Deleuze and Guattari, James Elkins, Robert Macfarlane, PeterOsborne, Robert Smithson and others. The book included eighteen colour reproductions of my work, including work from the Scapeland series. By raising awareness of the landscape-related dimension of my practice, the book led directly to an invitation to join the national Land2 research network in 2018, and to an invitation to show work from the Scapeland series in the 2019 exhibition Radical Landscapes: Innovation in Landscape and Language Art, curated by Camilla Nelson.

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