MAN A

Lead Author:

Ruth Gibson

Co-Author(s):

Bruno Martelli

Date:

2014

Unit of Assessment

33: Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies

Output Category:

Q - Digital or visual media

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MAN A (multi-dimensional choreography)

Video documentation. (Single screen film; 6mins/stereo)

Summary Statement (300 words)

MAN A is a multi-dimensional practice-research project opening up new spaces, places and stages for immersive dance performance through Augmented and Virtual Reality. The output is built around eleven motion-captured solo dance performances developed for an AR and VR app, 36 different physical prints, four sculptures, three murals, and expanded into other artefacts, including 100 sets of physical prompt card combinations and iterations – or stagings – for triggering virtual sequences of the dances.

The dance composition is devised to realise the project’s purpose and is choreographed and coded as palindrome loops of improvised dance. The dramaturgy is created for a three-dimensional stage, while the sculpture, prints and objects are made for specific sites.

The MAN A apps enable audiences to access the performances in different settings using a digital device, such as a smartphone with a camera, to activate playback of animated dances. The dancer avatars emerge from prints and sculptures as superimpositions on users’ device screens. Through bodily engagement with the act of viewing, audiences can watch, move with and experience dance in novel ways.

Research aims:
  1. To uncover new ways of encountering and perceiving the human body in motion, through virtual and physical artefacts, and by integrating significant design principles (Dazzle) with mixed reality technology.
  2. To bring digital dance content into the real world around the viewer in AR to investigate convergence between recorded, ‘virtual’ and live performance.
  3. To transport the viewer into an immersive dance performance environment to explore, with six degrees of freedom in VR.
  4. To explore ways for the viewer to determine their mode of interaction as active co-creators in the experience, extending audience agency.

 

Contextual Information

Production credits:
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Drawing inspiration from the visual language of ‘dazzle’ camouflage, developed by artist Norman Wilkinson in WW1, MAN A is a series of seemingly flat geometric surface, activated by a user’s mobile app to reveal performances. The work reminds us of both tribal war paint and zebra’s stripes, playing on the idea of concealment and revelation with the technology acting as the catalyst.

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Header photo credit:

MAN A. Artists: Gibson/Martelli. Collusion, Cambridge; photograph © Claire Haigh (2017)