80ºN (interactive installation)
Video documentation of installation (14mins/stereo)
Summary Statement (300 words)
80ºN is a practice-research project presented as an installation in three parts: In Search of Abandoned (Virtual Reality), Perfect Circle (film), and Kvitøya, White Island (Virtual Reality).
The 80º North parallel is the line of latitude where the Polar region begins. The trilogy considers this navigational concept centring on physical modes of interaction in virtual Arctic exploration.
Rope and yacht wheel interfaces invite audiences to explore desolate frozen landscapes. The experience is unique to each person as they shift panoramic gaze into somatic sensation. A movement dialogue ensues between the user/audience, the haptics and the glacial worlds. The choreography considers wayfaring and ways to signal perception foregrounding inertia, coordination and proprioception.
- Integrate the principles of Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT) in haptic interface design to transmit a sense of weight, buoyancy and balance.
- Increase audience engagement through physical interaction in computer game engine environments.
- Examine how immersive technologies can heighten the audience experience of the Arctic.
Utilising typical computer game development paradigms the research draws on cognitive neuroscientist Alain Berthoz’s1 notions of perception and action ‘go where you are looking’ and philosopher Laurie McRobert’s2 ‘suspension and consciousness’. Virtual Reality gives depth perception and embodied response as audiences can be immersed in, observe and traverse the arctic from a first-person perspective. Choreographic attention encourages audience agency and discovery developing experiential states of an embodiment of being in two places at once. Somatic principles are adapted from postmodern dance pioneers’, Halprin’s3 ‘exploration’ and Skinner’s4 ‘cultivating kinaesthetic awarenesses’.
From an informed dance perspective, the work builds on the legacy of artists Jeffrey Shaw and Char Davies,5 allowing the visitor to connect to a physical world whilst exploring a virtual one. Immersive reflections add to audience bodily response and understandings of interactive spaces.6
- Berthoz, A. ‘The Brain’s Sense of Movement’ Perspectives in Cognitive Neuroscience. Harvard University Press, 2000
- McRobert, L. ‘Char Davies’s Immersive Virtual Art and Essence of Spatiality’ University of Toronto Press, 2007
- Anna Halprin PSI Stanford University 2013 Gibson attended Halprin’s workshop, she spoke of ‘exploration’ and not ‘improvisation’.
- Joan Skinner principles ‘weight and buoyancy’ in SRT pedagogy unpublished teaching papers
- Shaw Davies
- Popat Taylor, S. ‘Missing in Action: Embodied Experience in Virtual Reality Art.’ Theatre Journal Vol 68. 2016
- Artistic directors: Ruth Gibson & Bruno Martelli
- Computer Programming: Dustin Freeman & Bruno Martelli
- Sound: David Jensenius
The three works of 80ºN:
In Search of Abandoned presents, a vision of a non-place discovered in the Arctic Circle on Google maps during Martelli’s residency in Svalbard. A 3D stereoscopic CAVE environment, with infinite duration, surround sound, customised yacht wheel and rope interfaces, stereo glasses.
White Island re-imagines doomed explorer S. A. Andrée’s polar balloon expedition in 1897; allowing visitors to soar over a virtual version of Kvitøya (White Island) in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. An immersive Virtual Reality installation with Oculus Rift, surround sound and custom-built platform, fan system and rope interface.
In Perfect Circle, a 100-year-old sailing boat, Noorderlicht, makes a 360º turn in an attempt to describe a perfect circle in the sea displayed as a video projection onto a 3m diameter weather balloon.
- A residency award from CAFKA in Canada
- A residency award from Christie Digital in Canada
- A Digital Residency Fellowship from QUAD in Derby.
- A GFA Award from Arts Council England
- Sponsorship from Christie Digital Europe
- Sponsorship from WorldViz
- Communitech Christie Digital CAVE, CAFKA 14, Kitchener, Canada In Search of Abandoned, 31st May 2014
- Colman Project Space, London Kvitøya, White Island & Perfect Circle, 21st June 2014
- QUAD, Derby Solo Exhibition: 80˚N, 13 December 2014 – 8 February 2015
Research and Development:
Related presentations by Ruth Gibson:
- Artist Talk: Ruth Gibson and Bruno Martelli ‘In conversation’ with curator and director of Fieldgate Gallery Richard Ducker, Thursday 22nd January 2015 QUAD gallery.
- Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism convened by Ruth Gibson an exhibition talk by Alison Byerly, president of Lafayette, USA, scholar and author of Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism, Monday 19th January 2015
- CAFKA Interview
- Gibson/Martelli Talk & Demonstration, Surfboard Room and Genesis Lab, Pepperdine University USA, 18th February 2019
- Automated Away, Stanford University USA, 19th October 2018
- A conversation on Mediated Reality, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China, 8th April 2017
- Platform Talk, Weave University of Abertay, Dundee, 15th November 2017
- The Unquiet Landscape: VR Techniques in the Art of Gibson/Martelli, VR UK Ravensbourne, London, 6th July 2017
- Collusion VR Lab, Cambridge Junction, 16th May 2017
- Interaction and Play in Public Spaces, NowPlayThis, Somerset House, London, 8th April 2017
- Dance Data Libraries and Processes, Digital Echoes, C-DaRE, Coventry University 10th March 2017
- VR Makers Symposium Lund University & Malmö University 6 – 9 November 2016
- Artful Spark, Barbican, London, 27th September 2016
- #6 Choreographic Coding Lab Auckland, New Zealand, 15 -19 February 2016
- Choreographic Research Aotearoa, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, 25th February 2016
- Lumen Prize Creative Technology Week St Francis College, Brooklyn, New York 4th May 2016
- Interact Labs, Phoenix Institute of Creative Technologies, Leicester 13th April 2016
- The Big Talks VRUK, Ravensbourne, London 11th February 2016
- Artful Interaction in Virtual Space – National Design Centre, Singapore 13th August 2015
- DALI LAB Dartmouth College, USA 18th November 2015
- Artist Seminar, Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, USA 4th November 2015
- AV Synth Workshop, Etna, USA, 16 -18 October 2015
- Keynote Hood Auditorium Museum, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire USA 22nd September 2015
- Gibson, R., & Martelli, B. ‘Art of the Accident’, In Error, Ambiguity, Creativity: A Multidisciplinary Reader, Popat, S. & Whatley, S. (eds) Palgrave Macmillan 2020
- Gibson, R. & Martelli, B. ‘Fifth Wall’, In The Twenty-First Century Performance Reader, Fenemore, A. Brayshaw, T. & Witts, A. (eds), Chapter 29, Routledge 2019
Other writing and citations in relation to Gibson’s research on practice in 80ºN immersive exhibition:
- ‘Big Blimpin’: Getting the Right Feel of Flying an Airship for an Installation blog post by 80˚N collaborator Dustin Freeman
- Missing in Action: Embodied Experience and Virtual Reality by Sita Popat, Theatre Journal Volume 68, Number 3 The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016.
- Gibson/Martelli Experimental Art in Christie 3D
- 80º N by Gibson/Martelli QUAD Exhibition archive
- Paul O Kane artist, writer and lecturer Central Saint Martins review
- Thomas, L. M., & Glowacki, D. ‘Seeing and feeling in VR: bodily perception in the gaps between layered realities’ International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. Vol 14 No.2 2018
- Popat Taylor, S. ‘Bodily Extensions and Performance’ International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 13, 101-104. 2017
- Wilson H.R. ‘New ways of seeing, feeling, being: intimate encounters in virtual reality performance’ International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 16:2, 114-133 2020
- Research and development Communitech, Kitchener, Canada May – July 2013 & May – June 2014
- Developed through a Canadian residency at CAFKA/Christie Digital HQ
- Christie Digital and WorldViz sponsorship in the UK, Europe and Canada
- Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Award
- 80ºN Guardian’s Exhibitions of the week, December 2014
- 2014 – CAFKA14 May – June 2014
- 2014 – 2015 1st Digital Art Fellow QUAD, Derby
Header photograph credit:
80˚N. Artists: Gibson/Martelli. QUAD, Derby; photograph © Charlotte Jopling (2014)