Dancelines for a New Atlas

We all have a sense of our body in the real world through our proprioceptive capacity – we are experts in movement as we are practised, we have a kinetic sense, but what of this sense of our body in virtual worlds? A core question of my research is how can we cultivate & integrate kinaesthetic intelligence into immersive environments?

One goal is to understand how we may move in and around virtual space, what this means to performance, choreography, the sensing body and audiences. I’m observing shifting perspectives of performance from player to visitor to performer in virtual environments. The research follows how we might transfer kinaesthetic awarenesses to audiences, through visualisations and participatory works. Artworks which involve site- specific installations, live simulations and interactive animations that encourage visitors to explore and experience through play. The aim is to examine whether these awarenesses enhance the immersive experience.

I am interested in figure and landscape, ancient and modern cultural heritage and in the coupling of embodied interaction and digital systems. Exploring playful interaction between physical and virtual ‘bodies’. Developing software to create interactive virtual environments that are kinaesthetically attuned & responsive to different modes of corporeality, offering scope for re-mixing – through consideration of the physically situated and uncultured body meeting the virtual avatar. Translating the physical, organic body across digital platforms extending and augmenting choreography.

My practice questions the role a dancer’s tacit knowledge has to play in the construction of virtual landscapes and human computer interface design. I’m grappling with how we navigate Virtual and Augmented realities and I am using motion tracking and performance capture techniques to study this. As a dance and visual artist at the interface of real and virtual worlds my research asks what do these spaces offer to the experienced performer and what physical spatial encounters and virtual architecture can be created to express this to the layman. To do this I gather together experts from different disciplines to create public art exhibitions and develop new software to examine mixed reality experiences. Performance is important in hypothesis building to investigate and understand more about presence through mediated exploration. There is an idea that the story exists in the experience of place itself not necessarily in a narrative about the place. I draw on experience of place, performing and filming in the field. Expeditions to endangered remote parts of the world including Oceania, Canada, Iceland & the Arctic Circle, has led to an investigation into body and landscape, the notion of space and simulacra and the sublime. I have been preoccupied with different forms of camouflaging MAN A & Summerbranch, the invisible visible and ephemerality of performance which has manifested as a re-materialisation of the digital, Big Bob. Current research investigates how choreography, coding and cultural narratives in New Zealand meet a somatic sensing in an interactive environment.

Ruth Gibson