Shrouk El-Attar by Diego Maeso
Shrouk El-Attar by Diego Maeso

Winter Residency Artist Showcase

In Venue Event + Live stream

Please note: This event took place in March 2022

Join us for this free Artist Showcase event to experience the work in progress created by Watershed’s Winter Artists in Residence – Shrouk El-Attar and Alistair Gentry.

From a belly dancing robot to an augmented reality flying saucer, our artists have blended culture and creative technology to shine a light on lost futures, lost stories and the splendour of the unexpected.

In this celebratory event, Shrouk and Alistair will share some short project films and introduce their work and ideas. Come along to experience their ideas in progress and chat with them about their learning and process. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.

If you can’t make it to Watershed in-person, there is also an opportunity to tune in and watch the artists’ short talks online.

Here’s a bit more about our Winter Residency artists and their projects:

Shrouk El-Attar – Dancing Queer

Shrouk is an artist, belly dancer and drag performer, engineer and LGBT refugee from Egypt. They will present their explorations into the creation of a belly dancing robot that moves autonomously to Egyptian music, and their ideas for a choregraphed duet with the machine as part of a new performance piece. Discover what Shrouk learned from her experience of working artistically with robotics and what she plans to do next.

Shrouk says:

"As an Egyptian, I grew up with bellydance being simply called “dance”. The term “bellydance” is a Western-coined name that isn’t even descriptive of the authentic practice - we don’t use our bellies to dance, it is performed by everyone, for everyone (not just by women for men’s entertainment), and the original Egyptian costume even covered the stomach and arms. On Google, nearly everybody in image search is white, western, female, and looks nothing like me. It often feels like I have been wiped out of my own culture. Through my Winter Residency, I brought my art and engineering skills together to create a gender non-conforming bellydancing robot as something that brings joy for all and starts important conversations. I’m looking forward to introducing my prototype robot and sharing my ideas!"

Alistair Gentry – British Fusion

Alistair Gentry makes live art, performance lectures, interventions, installations and live role-playing games. Using British Rail’s patent filing for a flying saucer as a starting point, Alistair has used his residency to playfully explore the possibility of bringing this vivid example of British utopianism to life as an accessible AR/VR experience. Join us for an exclusive peek into his explorations.

Alistair says:

"In 1973, the year I was born, British Rail filed a patent for a flying saucer, imagining a very different 2022 to the one we inhabit. A lot of my work is about alternate histories that could have been if circumstances had been different. So on discovery of the patent, it became my ambition to manifest this lost future. My first attempts were complicated by the fact that for disability reasons I can’t fully experience many digital projects- especially VR/AR. Through my Winter Residency, I have been excited to research visual technologies and explore how to bring this lost future to life in ways that are more accessible to more people. I’m looking forward to sharing my explorations at the Showcase and discussing ideas for next steps."

About Watershed’s Residency Programmes:

Our annual Residency programmes support artists to experiment, make and think at the Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed’s creative technologies research space. We work with creative practitioners from varied disciplines, career stages and backgrounds, who have ideas for projects that blend art and technology. We will be releasing an open call for our next round of residencies later in the year.

Watershed's Winter Residency programme is made possible with support from Arts Council England.