Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, aka JODI, are among the world’s most-renowned computer artists. In the early days of the web, their online artwork spread around the net like wildfire, challenging the conventions of a medium that had only just begun to emerge.

As humans, our relationship with technology is fragile. Too often, it seems that the computer is in control of us, rather than vice versa. The relationship goes both ways. The computer is shaped by us and we are shaped by the computer – often in ways we don’t fully understand. JODI’s work uses unstructured play as a way to illuminate this two-way process.

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By messing around with their computer desktop or playing video games with no intention of winning, they highlight not only the behavioural patterns of computer users but also the intentions of the computer engineers, games designers and people who market the lifestyle to us. JODI revel in both failure and playfulness as an expression of childlike resistance to a bureaucratic world. Yet to see JODI simply as anarchic virtuosos belies the sophistication of their work.

The works in Computing 101B share a fixation with surfaces, from the Macintosh desktop to the cyborg skin of Max Payne. Their work is a deliberate attempt to express their humanity (warts and all) through the computer, delving far beneath the surface of the information age to reveal the human and the absurd lurking underneath.

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2 February 2005
Geoff Cox, Joasia Krysa and Christian Nold demonstrate some productive contradictions in discussing the word of JODI

Half term drop-ins
15 & 16 February 2005
Activities for 6-12 year olds, no need to book, just drop-in for a few minutes or a few hours to take part in creative activities

11 – 19 February 2005
During January 2005 inmates of Exeter prison will have the opportunity to work with Dan Harris, a digital artist, on designing and producing a computer animation. See the results in Spacex atrium.

Stop Motion
12 & 13 February 2005
This two-day workshop is a great introduction to animating with cut-outs and models. You will design and shoot your own animated film relating to the work of JODI. Led by local artist and animator Jenny Mellings.


4 December 2004

Peter Fend is an artist, architect and environmental activist. In 1980 he founded the New York based Ocean Earth Development Corporation. At Spacex, during the BA Festival of Science in Exeter, Fend presents Global Feed, an environmental imaging service revealing the effects of man-made pollution on the environment.

Fend takes an alternative view of the globe starting from the South Pole: the centre of the Southern ocean, where the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans extend out from. If we think about geographical information according to ocean basins, rather than land masses or hemispheres, then we can really start to influence climate change.

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As the newspaper reports have been repeating, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism. Peter Fend’s response is clear and unequivocal. “The question is no longer how to predict global warming but rather how to reverse global warming.”

Working in collaboration with marine scientist, Dr Samantha Lavender from the University of Plymouth, the Fend projection centres around Antarctica and the world ocean system. Data projections in the gallery show six years of ocean temperature change, contrasted with the movement of sediment on the sea surface. At issue is what changes in these patterns result from human actions.

Related Events

Gallery talk
27 July 2004
Peter Fend and Tom Trevor in conversation
Can artists effect timely histroical change? Is art history in the way?

17 July 2004

The premiere of a new video work, exploring the social and historical significance of bells, through sound. At the end of the Foot & Mouth epidemic in 2001, on the first day that movement restrictions were lifted in the parish of Highampton, Devon, the church bells rang a peal all day, for the first time in six months. Artist and farmer, Marcus Vergette, based close by, was ‘Case 66’ in the Foot & Mouth crisis. This is his third work made in response to FMD and its aftermath.

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Marcus Vergette says: “The sound of a bell is a complex sound, not only in trying to determine the perceived pitch of the bell, but also in determining what we perceive the bell to be ‘saying’. This video looks at different ringers and their relationship to their tower, and follows the casting of a bell and ringing a full peal on Hosanna in Buckfast Abbey.”

Commissioned by Aune Head Arts as part of the Dartmoor Changes project.

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Listening Walk
19 June 2004
Andy Stevens, bell-ringer and bird song specialist, leads a walk on Dartmoor and talk about the tradition of bell-ringing in Devon. Anyone over the age of 12 can have a try at ringing. Organised by Aune Head Arts.

29 June 2004

On the 20th anniversary of The Battle of Orgreave, Spacex presents Mike Figgis’s critically-acclaimed film of the artist Jeremy Deller’s re-enactment of the day which has come to represent the climatic clash of the 1984 Miner’s Strike.

Jeremy Deller’s spectacular re-enactment of The Battle of Orgreave was orchestrated by Howard Giles. It was filmed under the direction of Mike Figgis for Artangel Media and Channel 4.

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The National Union of Mineworkers went on strike in March 1984. The dispute lasted for over a year and was the most bitterly fought since the general strike of 1926, marking a turning point in the struggle between the government and the trade union movement.

On the 18 June 1984 there occurred at the Orgreave coking plant one of the strike’s most violent confrontations, begun in a field near to the plant and culminating in a police cavalry charge through the village of Orgreave.

19 June 2004

Artists: Tariq Alvi, Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé, Caroline Bergvall, Ansuman Biswas, Jyll Bradley, Lisa Cheung, Michael Curran, Jem Finer, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Jenny Mellings, Misha Myers, Rosalind Nashashibi, Grayson Perry, Quack-Project, Wrights & Sites + When In Rome II

Locations: Spacex, The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Habitat, The Blue Boy Gift Shop, East to West, vacant shops in Paris Street, Exeter (numbers 12, 20 and 22)

Homeland is a major contemporary art project involving exhibitions, interventions, performances and events which essentially asks the question “What is Middle England?”

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Homeland involves thirty four artists commissioned to either make new works or show existing pieces in everyday contexts for the first time including Turner Prize-winner Grayson Perry, celebrated Latino-American artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña and ICA Becks Futures-winner Rosalind Nashashibi. Homeland is presented, as part of the Middle England Series, in association with Arts Council England’s decibel initiative, “raising the voice of culturally diverse arts in Britain”.

Increasingly politicians, advertising and the media refer to ‘Middle England’ as if it were an accepted everyday definition, and yet its underlying criteria remain unclear. The question of who is able to consider themselves a part of Middle England, for example, is ambiguous. One aim of the project is to examine the construction of a cultural hegemony around this peculiarly English, class-bound model of community, with its strong sense of belonging and ownership, and thus its equivalent sense of exclusivity and resistance to change.

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Yodel Rodeo
17 April 2004, High Noon to High Tea
Royal Albert Memorial Museum and city centre streets
Myers’ persona, Buffalo Sue, reframes the old Roman walls of Exeter into a rodeo corral, singing her Texas lullabies. Line dancing interludes performed by Exeter’s Montgomery Mavericks. You can follow along both remotely over a 3-D map of the old city at the Museum, or in the city centre streets.

Lonesome Long Gone
Saturday 15 May, High Noon to High Tea
Royal Albert Memorial Museum
Myers presents Buffalo Sue alongside the Museum’s exhibit of a North American Bison.

Blue Boy Walks: Wrights & Sights
Wrights & Sites are Stephen Hodge, Simon Persighetti, Phil Smith and Cathy Turner.
The displaced, shrapnel-scarred Blue Boy stands alone. To this orphan landmark for shoppers, we come bearing carrier bags of gifts, the colour of the sky.

In and Out of Middle England
30 April & 1 May 2004
Exeter Phoenix
A two-day symposium which aims to provide a critical platform for current ‘cultural diversity’ debates and to examine related socially-engaged concerns within contemporary visual arts. Presented by decibel, Arts Council England South West and organised in partnership with Spacex and Picture This.

Programme Highlights
What is Middle England? Sarat Maharaj, art historian/co-curator of Documenta XI; Kodwo Eshun, writer/researcher; Raimi Gbadamosi, artist/curator and Susan Pui San Lok, artist/writer.
Investigating Histories: Artists Oladélé Bamgboyé, Ansuman Biswas &Erika Tan present their current archive based projects.
Migrations: Artists film programme including work by Marine Hugonnier,Uyen Luu, Rosalind Nashashibi and Alia Syed, followed by a discussion with participating artists.
Paradise Omeros: the latest film by Isaac Julien.
Re-Bop Session: a live multi-media performance by Soul Jazz Sound System and Jonnie Williams

17 April 2004

William Kentridge’s breath-taking animations take the complex history of South Africa as its focus, and particularly the legacy of apartheid. Often contrasting the daily life of an individual with major historical events, Kentridge’s films do not set out to tell us what to think, but instead evoke a range of conflicting emotions that align us at one and the same time with the victims and the perpetrators of injustice.

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The films are often humourous and absurdist, reflecting on the insanity of an apartheid policy presented as a rational system of government. His amazing range of animation techniques include the use of charcoal drawings, which are erased and re-worked for each individual frame so as to make a full-length film, as well as shadow puppets and cut-out silhouettes.

The animations sometimes also incorporate documentary photographs and footage, set alongside cartoon figures, underlining the farce-like nature that even the historic and tragic events of South Africa can assume.

14 February 2004

The focus of Yokomizo’s photography and video-work is the gap between self and other.

In the Stranger series, each photograph shows someone looking out through a window. The artist has never met any of these people. She selected their addresses and then wrote a letter asking if they would stand at a particular window, alone, with the room lights on, at a specific time of night so that she could photograph them from the street. The artist simply promised to be there waiting, at a particular time. The encounter would last for ten minutes, with eye-to-eye contact, but then nothing else was to be exchanged.

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Shizuka Yokomizo was born in Tokyo and lives and works in London. Other works in the exhibition include Untitled (Hitorigoto), an untranslatable Japanese word that describes the experience of inner thought and dialogue.

Forever (and Again) is a two-screen video projection, juxtaposing four elderly women playing the same Chopin Waltz on their pianos, with scenes of their homes and gardens. Yokomizo has said of this work, “the music is a concrete marking of time, it gives tangible form to that which is constantly moving through us, just as old age is an accumulation of traces of time on our body”.

Click here for information about the publication Shizuka Yokomizo: Distance

Related Events

Gallery talk
29 January, 2004, 7pm
Shizuka Yokomizo in conversation with Tom Trevor


6 December 2003

Live artist Lisa Watts invites visual artist Lucy May to join her in this presentation of Skittish. Watts will visit Spacex on a regular basis during the exhibition where she will perform and develop new work in the galleries inspired by Lucy May’s art. The result will evidence the relationship that exists between live and visual art.

The aesthetic of May’s art has a sense of movement, as if still in development. This relates to Watts’ performance work that will be developed during the exhibition. Although from different disciplines, both artists experiment with familiar, everyday objects, pushing materials to their utmost capabilities.

Skittish will also include a number of Watts’ existing works. Bad Luck (2006), a film made with Alice Maude-Roxby and Ron Wright utilises bodily contraptions to create a mysterious narrative, Snowgum (2013), an hour long performance of magical actions using chewing gum, and Naturel (2004), a humorous 20 minute performance that takes place in a dark space with conjoined cloth legs.

Lisa Watts will be at Spacex developing new work on the following days.


Wednesday 2nd, 2–5pm
Thursday 3rd, 10–5pm
Friday 4th, 10–4pm
Wednesday 9th, 2–5pm
Thursday 10th, 10–5pm
Friday 11th, 10–4pm
Wednesday 16th, 2–5pm
Thursday 17th, 10–5pm
Friday 18th, 10–4pm
Thursday 24th, 10–5pm

Friday 25th, 10–4pm


Wednesday 20th, 2–5pm
Thursday 21st, 10–5pm
Friday 22nd, 10–4pm
Saturday 23rd – Snowgum Performance, 10am–5pm

This exhibition is the first of three presentations of Skittish which form an overall project of the same name. In each of the three exhibitions, a different sculptor will be selected to exhibit alongside Watts. Following Spacex, the exhibition will tour to Vane, Newcastle (31 October–14 December 2013) and The Tetley, Leeds (2014). The tour will culminate with a symposium at The Tetley. A publication will accompany the project.


24 July 2013

British artist Katy Dove presents a selection of new and recent animated films alongside print based works. Dove’s work can be interpreted as a kind of aesthetic essentialism, or the distillation of the everyday into fundamental shapes, sounds and colours.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a new film work entitled Meaning in Action (2013). The film explores ideas relating to inner and outer mental space. Through capturing different actions – repetitive mark making on fabric, the geometry that stems from movement of the hand and the process of ink drying slowly on wet silk; movement, shape, and texture are formed. These are edited with close up footage of bodily movement, the resulting images reflect a psychological state inherent in these actions.

Dove’s work starts with a process of intuitive mark making often in the form of drawings and watercolours. These serve as raw material for animations, watercolour paintings and works on paper. The majority of the sound that accompanies the film works is produced by the artist. Three animations, Luna (2004), Sooner (2007) and October (2011), shown back-to-back on a single screen, offer an insight into the progression of Dove’s film work.

A series of six etchings and paintings from 2009–10 entitled Six Audio Visual Musical Forms will be on display. Dove has used text, pattern and diagrammatic forms to describe music, some of which hint at musical notation, others describing sound in a more textural way.

Two photographic works under the collective title Make a Shape (2007) stem from collaborative work with Edinburgh-based choreographer Sheila Macdougall. These mark the beginning of an interest in choreography, which continues to be explored in Meaning in Action. Copies of Make A Shape will be available to purchase in the gallery.

12 December 2012