ARTS UPDATE: Digital media event

SHEFFIELD digital arts organisation Lovebytes are staging an exhibition at Persistence Works of work by art collective Owl Project, including their range of hand-crafted instruments and details of the North East region's art commission for the London Olympics.

Manchester-based Owl Project is a group of artists, currently comprising Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons, who share interests in human interaction with technology.

Sheffield-based Lovebytes' Ed Carter is working in collaboration with them to deliver a range of projects with a focus on digital media including Flow, the North East's Artist Taking the Lead commission for the London Cultural Olympiad 2012.

Owl Project, who exhibit across the UK and Europe, are known for a range of sculptural musical instruments. Their portable 'rustic' instruments, with names such as the iLog are working digital instruments that mimic popular gadgetslike the ubiquitous iPod. The only difference is that Owl Project's instruments are crafted from simple, untreated pieces of wood. Another exhibit, Sound Lathe, explores the sonic properties of woodwork. For more information please visit: www.owlproject.com/SoundLathe

Owl Project is open on weekdays from next week to June 18.

Russian portraits

PHOTOGRAPHER Simon Roberts is currently otherwise engaged as the official Election Artist commissioned by the House of Commons to produce a series of artworks that respond to the 2010 General Election.

Meanwhile Bank Street Arts is hosting Motherland, the first major series of images by the award-winning photographic artist, the first time he has exhibited in the city where he studied (both at the University of Sheffield and Norton College).

Motherland is a result of Roberts' travels throughout Russia between in 2004-5 and is in one of the most extensive photographic accounts of this vast country by a Westerner.

Intimate and revealing portraits of contemporary Russians show a diverse people united by a sense of common identity, while breathtaking landscapes reveal the complexity and uniqueness of the country.

Now Brighton-based, Roberts graduated in Human Geography from the University of Sheffield in 1996 and then took a Photojournalism course at Sheffield College.

Motherland by Simon Roberts opens at Bank Street Arts on Tuesday.

Group art show

THE first group show by members of Bloc Projects, Out of the Wilderness, opens this weekend at the studio complex and gallery space on Eyre Lane.

Sheffield-based artist and Bloc member Robin Close was invited to curate the exhibition which attracted submissions from seven other members, Luke Alexander Chapman, Mark Doyle, Daniel Fogarty, Louisa Jane Harris, Shelley Jamaine Iqbal, Susanne Palzer and Sean Williams, who range from recent fine art graduates from Sheffield Hallam to more established artists.

The show following a process of exploration and negotiation that saw some work develop and change from the initial proposals.

Close said: "The result reflects the ethos of this show, which is to provide a platform for members to show work in a context that is both inclusive as well as rigorous."

After a preview on Friday night, Out of the Wilderness will continue Wednesdays to Saturdays until May 15.

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