September – November 2015, Dartmouth College, USA.
The first part of the residency was spent installing MAN A in the Jaffe- Friede Gallery at the Hopkins Centre. The exhibition comprised Big Bob and Ruth Rolling and ran from September 22nd – November 22nd.
The MAN A series of works feature print, objects, performance capture, augmented and virtual reality. MAN A has acted like a laboratory for exploring ideas since it’s first exhibition in the windows of Selfridges department store in London. The exhibition was both a gift to the audience and the creation of a new performance space. A social choreography took place as pedestrians rearranged themselves in order to view the dancers whilst negotiating the pavement with device in-hand. Attempting to ‘close the loop’ between real and virtual, performer and audience the latest incarnation of the MAN A project, Big Bob is a long reclining figure modelled from a single frame of a performance capture. The polygonal digital body re-materialised in printed cardboard references the ephemerality of performance. Big Bob’s hot colours echo the Harlequin character and the abstract performance animations, Laban notation and the icosahedron. Encountering the giant figure is an attempt to push the viewer into computer space, where scale is fluid, a body becoming a landscape, functioning as a multi-part stage for Lilliputian AR performers traversing the surface.
Artist residencies enable us to travel and experience new places and reference and reflect on these explorations in our work. During the second part of the residency we scoured the Vermont landscape to find locations suitable as resource material for a new virtual environment. Back in the studio we developed our documentation and photographs to generate 3d models and experimented with a VR headset.
We took advantage of the incredible facilities in the carpentry and engineering departments and created 3d printed objects. An invitation to the Hood Museum collection and Dartmouth rare books library meant that we could explore archives and historical artefacts. The combination of research, study and practical fabrication allowed us to question further the role of embodied HCI in our new work and develop new approaches in creating a greater sense of immersion.
The remaining part of the residency was taken up organising the catalogue. The exhibition was accompanied by a full-colour 32 page catalogue featuring essays by Kevin Clarke & David Surman.
Unusually MAN A was installed at the beginning of the residency rather than at the end. This meant that we could observe and witness gallery visitors, scholars and students responses for the rest of our stay. Throughout the residency we ran an open studio on Wednesdays. Interesting connections were made for future research collaborations with the Digital Music & Computer Science Departments and the Dali Lab. Lorie Loeb director of the Lab is currently working with NASA designing VR to sooth homesick Astronauts ( Harvard & Dartmouth). Previously she collaborated in 2007 with the Merce Cunningham Company to create a real-time dance and motion capture performance at the Hopkins Centre for the Performing Arts.
Inspiring visits were made to New York, Mass MoCA, Massachusetts and Dia: Beacon, NY.
September 22 Keynote Presentation ‘Everything is Data’ Hood
Museum of Art Auditorium (300 people students faculty and general public)
September 22 Opening reception MAN A Jaffe-Friede Gallery
September 26 – Hacking Arts Conference Delegate MIT Boston
September 29 – Artist Talk (Senior Tea)
October 2- 4 – Vermont Field Trip research for New Project
October 12 – 13 Vermont Location scouting for New Project
October 16 -18 Gibson/Martelli Presentation AV Syth Residential Workshop & Lab, Pierce Inn, Etna
October 28 Presentation Sculpture & Drawing
October 29 Presentation Architecture
October 30 Presentation Dali Lab
November 4 Keynote at Lafayette College in Pensilvania on invitation from President and author of Are we there yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism, Alison Byerly.