The Spark Festival: Plug and Play
The Spark Festival returns to Phoenix, taking over the building with cutting edge interactive artworks, creative games and amazing animations.
You can play with a wonderful array of colours and shapes in a series of interactive pieces by brilliant Midlands-based artist Will Hurt; work with Welsh collective Pyka to turn old, unloved objects into awesome musical instruments; dive into our interactive soft play area; or enjoy a mini-silent disco where you can change the sounds by dancing!
There’ll be a host of virtual and augmented reality experiences for you to try – from making 3D sculptures in an immersive virtual world, to playing court jester in the court of a cartoon king.
And for our Spark Festival cinema, our friends at Flatpack have put together a brilliant selection of animated short films from across the world.
See lineup below for age guidance for each activity.
Please note: there will be a quiet space available throughout the festival accessible to anyone.
Ground Floor – Foyer and Café
Abstract Playground by Midlands-based digital artist Will Hurt is part colourful exploration of the urban environment and part audio-visual instrument. Appearing at The Spark festival in two forms – as an arcade cabinet and an iPad version – this shape-shifting interactive piece is brought to life through a mixture of colour, shape and sound. Shown around the world from Buenos Aires to Beijing, don’t miss your chance to play with this noisy and vivid digital creation. Best for ages 4 +.
Jest to Impress
Enter a digital cartoon world in this fun, interactive virtual reality experience. In Jest to Impress you are trying out as the new jester of the King’s court. As jester-in-training, you are presented with a series of escalating props and puzzles. The more the King laughs, the more jealous his personal bard becomes. If your comedic acts fall flat, prepare to become dragon food! Best for ages 8 +.
Sculptr Virtual Reality
Sculptr is a brilliant virtual reality experience that lets you create three-dimensional sculptures in an immersive virtual world. You can use an array of tools to make, sculpt and paint your 3D creations. You can also explore the world around your sculpture in a variety of ways including hang gliding, teleporting, and free flying! Best for ages 6 +.
Augmented Reality Masks
This amazing app lets you bring your colouring in to life as interactive and expressive ‘augmented reality’ masks which magically mimic your face. Augmented Reality adds digital things to the real world when viewed through a screen – in this case you can make this ‘digital layer’ yourself by colouring in a variety of paper mask templates, from an adorable cartoon dog to a unicorn. Suitable for all ages.
Ground Floor – Screen Room
Lucid Dreams Short Films
Our friends at Birmingham’s Flatpack Festival take you on a moving picture adventure, going beyond traditional stories and losing the plot (literally), travelling the globe to explore shapes and colours in a brilliant selection of short films. Be amazed at master animator Mirai Mizue’s mesmeric colourscape Wonder, created over a full 365 days and containing 8760 hand drawn frames (one for every hour of the year), get your dancing shoes on and groove along with Clap! Clap! to his playful animated music video, and witness one gnome’s arduous quest to relax in the sun. There’s something for everyone in this kaleidoscopic crop of shorts, playing on a loop throughout the day. Suitable for all ages.
First Floor – Courtyard Room
Brilliant Welsh artist collective Pyka bring their pyka_toolkit to The Spark Festival – turning old, unloved objects into weird and wonderful musical instruments. With the idea of sustainability and reducing waste at its heart, this activity makes use of low-cost embeddable and reusable technologies that help you to tap into the functions of old objects and repurpose them for musical performance and sound-play. Best for ages 4 +
Leicester-based artist Alison Carpenter-Hughes has created a series of interactive fabric artworks that come to life with music and sound when you touch them. Combining the Ototo sound-board with special ‘conductive’ fabric, these beautifully made pieces have been designed with the youngest members of the Spark audience in mind, so they are especially suitable for babies and toddlers.
Micro:bit Silent Disco
Made at Phoenix by our own creative producer Mateus Domingos, this disco with a difference lets you change the soundtrack though your moves! Wearing a tiny micro:bit computer and a pair of wireless headphones, you can dance around or press the buttons on the micro:bit to add notes and beats to an ever-changing electronic song. Best for ages 4 +.