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2015

Virtual laboratory to create online patchwork of digital performance

16 March 2015

Everybody Moves main 1
Everybody Moves by Dr Corinne Jola and Lynn Parker

A virtual laboratory exploring the ever-evolving realms of possibility within digital performance – one of the newest and most dynamic forms of art there is – opens in Abertay University’s art gallery, the Hannah Maclure Centre, today (Monday, March 16).

Entitled ‘Decoding Space’ the exhibition will showcase work created by some of the most ground-breaking digital artists working in the field today, including film documentation from art collective Blast Theory, an alternative reality game by the National Theatre of Scotland and an interactive dance experience by Abertay researchers Lynn Parker and Dr Corinne Jola.

Bringing together techniques as diverse as screendance, augmented reality (AR), pervasive gaming, abstract animation and real-time digital video manipulation, the lab will be a hive of activity for the entirety of its four week run.

This is largely – but not entirely – due to many of the artworks on display being immersive installations that require audience participation.

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P(AR)ticipate by Jeanette Ginslov

Jeannette Ginslov’s live performance P(AR)ticipate, for example, is only fully experienced through the use of the augmented reality smartphone app Aurasma.

‘Everybody Moves’ by Corinne Jola and Lynn Parker, meanwhile, uses the real-time digital video manipulation software Isadora to get people dancing. This interactive installation gives participants the chance to "paint with their bodies" as they move and engage with the images of themselves that are projected onto the screen in front of them.

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Everybody Moves by Dr Corinne Jola and Lynn Parker

However, the other element of the exhibition that is truly interactive is its role as an exploratory nerve centre for gathering information about as many areas as possible of this exciting new field of artistic expression.

Clare Brennan – Curator of the Hannah Maclure Centre – explains:

“Artists have always been at the forefront of experimenting with technology, stretching its capabilities and using it as another tool for creative expression.

“And over the past 25 years artists have been working with performers and technologists, experimenting with new media, movement, and virtual and physical space, to reveal a new field of artistic practice: digital performance.

“It’s such an exciting time for new media artists here in Dundee – we’ve just been named the UK’s first ever UNESCO City of Design so the spotlight is on us and it’s a chance for us to shine and to showcase all the amazing talent that we’ve got here.

“Dundee has all the right elements to be producing high quality work which explores the use of technology in real space: a vibrant dance and theatre community, skill and talent within games and media arts, and an excellent reputation for cross-collaboration.

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My Neck of the Woods by Blast Theory

“So with Decoding Space we’ve brought together some of the shining lights in this field to start getting some discussions going so that we can begin mapping out the ways in which this art form is growing and evolving.

“To do this, we’re asking visitors – as well as people around the world – to contribute to the creation of a digital patchwork that will take the form of a Tumblr displayed in the gallery.

“We're hoping that it will morph and change as the exhibition progresses and people send in information, and that - by the end of the exhibition - we'll be well on our way to compiling an encyclopaedia of digital performance.

“People can get in touch via any form of social media, or by leaving feedback in the gallery itself. It can be responses to the artworks on display or information about other digital performance pieces they have seen around the world – any and all information that people want to contribute will be welcome!”

As well as the live installations, the show will look at some of Blast Theory’s most recent works through their documentary films My Neck of the Woods, Ghostwriter and Flypad.

There will also be another opportunity to play the award-winning augmented reality game ‘Other’ out on the streets of Dundee itself. Created by game design studio Quartic Llama in a unique partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland, 'Other' uses sound, interaction, your preconceptions and your location in the city to distort the world around you and blur the boundaries of reality and fiction.

Finally, PlayDead’s animation ‘Wildless’ is an early exploration into blending animation and real-world rural environments within moving image. The vignette film experiments with abstract imagery, CGI and captured footage of rural landscapes to explore issues surrounding Rewilding: a conservation process aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and core wilderness areas.

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Ghostwriter by Blast Theory

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E: k.cameron@abertay.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

  • In addition to the works on display in the gallery, a workshop exploring the genres of screendance and AR (Augmented Reality) will take place on Thursday, April 2 from 6-9pm.

Through a series of exercises and improvisations, participants will explore choreography and movement for the dancer and camera. You will then learn about the AR app Aurasma and create auras using the screendance videos you have made in the first part of the workshop.

Participants are asked to bring their own cameras, smartphones (iPhones or Android) and laptops with editing software. The workshops are free but booking is essential: T: 01382 308324 E: exhibitions@abertay.ac.uk

  • Throughout the duration of the project the exhibition team will be sharing their findings, musings and reflections via a regular blog.

Featured artists:

  • Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media. They create groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art that mix audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting.

Led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, the group’s work explores the social and political aspects of technology.

They have yielded four BAFTA nominations, a Prix Ars Electronica and academic papers of international significance at world leading conferences. Blast Theory is based in Brighton, UK.

The documentary films on display at Decoding Space are my Neck of the Woods, Ghostwriter and Flypad.

  • PlayDead are a design studio based in Glasgow, specialising in the design and creation of graphics. They work on commissions for television and film, architectural firms, corporate clients and the public sector. The company was founded in 2010 by Kev McCrae and Jonny Harris, who were brought together through a shared aesthetic and desire to create brilliant motion graphics.

The animation featured in the exhibition is called Wildless.

  • Jeannette Ginslov is a Danish/South African artist and researcher for dance on film, AR, screen and internet. She is a Visiting Fellow at Northampton University, is Director of Screendance Africa and is Associate Producer at dance-tech.net

Her works have been screened on BBC Big Screens, at the Danish and British Film Institutes, the Lincoln Centre and the Red Cat Theatre.

  • Quartic Llama is an independent games development studio. Started in 2012 it quickly became recognised as one of the most exciting games companies in Europe. Graduates of Abertay University’s Professional Masters in Games Development, they develop exciting and innovative original IP games which feature engaging gameplay, rich narrative and beautiful visuals.

Dr. Corinne Jola and Lynn Parker are both Lecturers at Abertay University. Their project ‘Everybody Moves’ forms part of on-going collaboration, exploring bridges between the arts, interactivity and science.

Dr Corinne Jola is a lecturer in Psychology, a trained Choreographer (MA) of CoCoDanse and a cognitive neuroscientist (PhD).

Lynn Parker is Programme Tutor for the BA (Hons) Computer Arts and is interested in interactive media, the gallery and performance.

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