Drawing Levels

DRAWING LEVELS

2019 Virtual Reality

Choreographer Ruth Gibson began creating drawings in virtual reality with the Quill software, experimentally holding the VR controllers with her feet — the part of the body is crucial for dancers but frequently overlooked for an input — which tends to prioritise the upper body, concentrating on interactions stemming from the hands. The drawing software renders gesture data as a ‘solid’ shape, a moving point becomes a line in space — the foot drawing, essentially a performance in stasis.

The VR system here can be conceptualised of as a variety of motion capture system. In Drawing Levels each resulting foot sketch resembles a brain-shaped tumbleweed, skeletal forms which in VR are scaled becoming environmental superstructures, colourised using translucent shaders programmed to animate individual vertices, creating an undulating movement giving the normally rigid models a softer organic feel.

The piece features a long-form environmental soundtrack created by our Canadian collaborator, David Jensenius.

The work considers the role dance knowledge and sensibility plays in the creation of interfaces and embodied interactive designs, transmitting fresh understandings of choreographic ideas and processes through different formats.

Drawing Levels was created with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council /Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (AHRC/EPSRC) Next Generation of Immersive Experiences grant and a Xenoform LAB residency in San Francisco.

Credits:

Concept and execution: Gibson / Martelli
Soundtrack: David Jensenius

Star Gods, Moon Rabbits

Star Gods Moon Rabbits

2018 2 x 5m LED screen, realtime computer simulations.

This installation re-establishes relationships between people, cities, art and life in a modern ritual. Gibson/Martelli take the rich concept of the ancient dramatic art of face-changing to create giant faces with multiple layers and personalities, a homage to Sichuan Bianlian mask opera. Colourful facial patterns of myth, symbol and ceremony light up the cultural corridor of Chengdu in a vibrant array of dazzling hues. The hybrid characters connect audiences, stirring expression through their own performance, folklore and mystery. 

A custom machine learning system was created in order to detect park visitors so that the giant faces can watch them throughout the day and evening.

Concept Design: Gibson / Martelli

Assisted by Tom Chambers from RandomQuark.
And
David Surman and Ian Gouldstone.
Special Thanks to Caspar Sawyer, Marco Gillies.

Commissioned by HereYourArt for LightUpBashu

Capture The Flag

CAPTURE THE FLAG

2018 infinite simulation

The original concept for Capture the Flag* was to create a flag for VR – a metaphor for the uncontested territory of cyberspace. A white flag of truce or surrender. This would have enabled the VR user to wave it around, whilst developing the simulation in a computer game engine an error in the physics simulation caused this effect to happen, the artists decided that this was a more poetic solution – an endlessly regressing and approaching wraith-like form, reminiscent of the works of surrealist painter Kay Sage.

In computer gaming Capture the Flag is a first person shooter gametype where rival online players compete for the enemies flag, a win condition is when the opposing flag is rushed to the home team base.

Credits:
Concept and execution: Gibson / Martelli

WE ARE MADE OF STARSTUFF

WE ARE MADE OF STARSTUFF

2018 ongoing, Video 26’21”

‘Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.’

― Carl Sagan, 1973  ‘The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective’

WE ARE MADE OF STARSTUFF is an ongoing figure and landscape exploration with costume, performance and motioncapture. A series of films were created which use in camera effects and costumes to create an uneasy relation between figure and background.

Credits
Performers:
Bianca Hyslop
Ruth Gibson

Ruined

Ruined

2018 C-Type Prints

Decay, ruin, broken and old things, bunkers and bomb-sites is an age old interest for artists. ‘Ruin Lust’ (from an 18th-century German compound ‘Ruinenlust’ ) is the idea that age and decay brings the patina of authenticity from the ancient world and has been borrowed time and again in popular culture and videogames. Eighteenth- Century artists and writers sought out ruined castles and picturesque landscapes, a source of visual and emotional preoccupation and a representation of the fears of industrialisation, hinting at things to come.

In the ‘Ruined’ series Gibson/Martelli used a network conditioning tool to throttle bandwidth to the Apple Maps application creating images showing low-resolution models downloaded before final high-resolution versions are displayed. The low polygon models with softened shapes and smeary, muddy textures speak to the idea of unmaking, the high tech creating a kind of ruin.The mapping software, though up to the minute, cannot keep pace with the breakneck changes occurring in the physical world — at some of the sites, a hole in the ground is occupied by a building in real life and vice versa.
The digital echoes an imperfect ideal. 

Researching the project the artists overlaid the London Property development map with the London Bomb map. One chart shows current, planned and approved large scale development works in the city. The other shows locations of bomb damage, mapped by combing data sets from WWII.

Responding to Ben Aaronovitch’s comment in Moon Over Soho about the London County Council in the 1960s, ‘whose unofficial motto was Finishing What the Luftwaffe Started’ seems apt today, the artists choosing areas proximate to former bomb sites earmarked for or currently undergoing ‘development’. The future overtaking present as the city is built over but will eventually become, like everything, a ruin.


’So many things vanish. Yet ruins remain in the landscape, reassuring the mind that death might not be the end’ – Jonathon Jones on Ruin Lust at Tate Britian.

The Bronze Key

THE BRONZE KEY
The Bronze Key – Performing Encryption is the rematerialisation of performance. Reflecting on the  ephemeral nature of both performance and digital data, The Bronze Key project takes movement material, digitised from performers using motion capture technology. A thirty second dance phrase is converted into a human readable file format and then encrypted using a single second gesture of the performers hand movement, recorded using a virtual reality system. The gesture encyphring key, plain- and cypher-text movements are transmuted respectively into  a set of physical artefacts –  3D printed bronzes, audio recordings & paperback books.
Exhibitions:

2018 Tangible Embodied Interaction Stockholm, Sweden.

2018 TO BE ARCHIVED Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden

The Bronze Key
Concept & design: Kozel + Gibson/Martelli
Performers, Susan Kozel, Ruth Gibson

Acknowledgements
Thanks to Christian Skovbjerg Jensen of the Inter Arts Centre in Malmö (Sweden), the Swedish National Research Council for support of the Living Archives Research Project at Malmö University, and the AHRC funded Error Network (UK) for early research.

The Bronze Key is a part of Susan Kozels ‘Performing Encryption’ project which is in turn part of the five year long ‘Living Archives’ Project at Malmo University.
More info here

Download a copy of ‘The Bronze Key: Performing Data Encryption’ TEI paper here

Ruth Gibson gesture making in Virtual Reality


Susan Kozel gesture making in Virtual Reality


The Bronze Key Volume 1


More about the Bronze Key

will all go here

READ MORE...

and here

The Gesture Keys


We Are Here And We Are EveryWhere At Once

We Are Here And We Are Everywhere At Once

Movement and landscape in flux, five figures cut between times and places. In this new cartography that is here and everywhere, they take on the rhythm of an altered place.

Welcome to our field,

we are here and we are everywhere at once

We are transcontextual
We are transhuman
We are transhemispherical
Where are you/we/I?
Survey the field
Scan the scene with your whole self
Walk softly around the edge
Move inside and outside the boundary
Take up a position that is unfamiliar
Where are we/you/I?

 – Carol Brown  2017

DANCELINES FOR A NEW ATLAS
Ruth Gibson 2017

My first adventure takes place wearing a VR headset in a studio in London and discovering the Ida Valley in Google Earth. I fly above the mountains, I traverse the land as a drone, as a hawk. I change my scale. I switch my distant horizon to a vertical plane in seconds, I navigate over and under the place names.

I have a sense of my body in this world through my proprioceptive capacity – I am an expert in movement I am practised, I have a kinetic sense, but I’m Falling Upwards in mediated exploration. There is an idea that the story exists in the experience of place itself not necessarily in a narrative about the place. Spatial illusions and velocity perceptions. Places that exist in reality, may only be found in the imagination. I am at the interface of real and virtual worlds, spatial encounters, and virtual architectures.

VR is an experiential medium — we can be anywhere and do anything — immersive theatres, a desire for intercommunication in physical space – against ideas of the distancing effect of social media and online existence.

VR enables us to relocate ourselves as ‘embodied beings’ (Popat 2016) allowing us to ask questions about humanity, a corporeal space arising from proprioceptive sensation. 

How can we maintain grounding in the physical world? Aspects of sensation with no direct contact — reaching out to touch, attempting to touch, a call to touch.

My body is adapting to the terrain, the landscape quickly starts to speak to me. My costumes are my clothes now. Streams rush down the mountains and wash the inside of my skull. I feel the earth’s breath on my fingertips. History tells me I’m at Glimmerburn & the Blood Red Plains. Land of the extinct Moa. Old Man Range, Old Woman Range & Leaning Rock stand before me. Remnants of the gold mines all things extracted, dredged from this land.
I am home a long way from home. We are a necklace of bodies across the contours of the land like a skirting chain. Hissing hot wind, this land is unforgiving and we cannot hide here.

Hemmed in falling geometries, a sublimated pageantry coats my arms. I venture forth with my new community. We are a future family of the past in the headspace of the present in this world yet of that time, the world moves with us, no, we move in the world.

Time is a local event advancing, expanding, accelerating.
How to describe the passage of time physically where past, present and future have the same status. Why must we experience the present moment? Virtual and physically real, matter secondary, more a thing of space time.

As the falcon’s wing span views the delta tree, we are dancing in a deep sea with no anchoring lines. The kinaesthetic spills onto the page with a space pen that is sketching dancelines for a new atlas. My ‘Kinosphir’ of phantom hands and valley spaces turns out the volume exposing our embodied flaws, onto our restless floor, we roll vertically and scroll, wind walking the Paper Road.

Enter through the mask, through the eyes of others. Not a psychology of character but a behaviour in vision.

‘We go where we are looking, not look where we are going’ perception and action, gestures as simulated action – Perçaption (Berthoz 2000).

I’m touching with my eyes, yet feeling rather than seeing, drawing from my motor activity reservoir continually updating my position and balance. We write with totemic tape, quartering. Our partner, pet drone joins the corral . Our porous borders glisten. Constellations reaching the fabric of space and collapsing the world.

Camera world,
Camera helmet,
Fixed Face tethered as a kite with our bodies not missing in action but flapping like the sails of a boat or as a ragdoll body swirling and dangling.

Disembodied Heads, Portraits
— optical special effects
— Latency

Blue screen Blue / motion capture studio 

Telepresent presence

Anthroprocene cinematic trope and tribe

Movie set of moves.

in-betweenness – 

‘It is only by being in between that the

knowledge of both subject and object,

of both here and there, of self and other,

of myself and that which is not myself

can be integrated.’   Nicholas Salazar Sutil


Credits:
WeAreHereAndWeAreEverywhereAtOnce was created through an international collaboration between
Gibson / Martelli with sound designer Russell Scoones
(NZ) & choreographer Carol Brown (NZ).

Performers:
Cassidy Scoones
Jenny Roche
Grant McLay
Ruth Gibson
Carol Brown

The exhibition is accompanied by a booklet available as a .pdf  WAHAWAEWAO_ExhibitionText

And:
Nic Fay – Drone Operator
Javier Estevez – Motion Capture Supervisor, AUT
Gregory Bennett – Senior Lecturer, AUT
Zane Egginton – ELAM, at UOA
• Norma Lehto – 3 x 3 Designs Ltd
Harry Silver – CoLab
• Peter Hillier – AUT
Auckland University of Technology
University of Auckland, Creative Arts Industries Faculty
Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University

Special Thanks to:
• Kasia Pol
Uwe Rieger
• Rafe Scoones
• Helen Brown & Mike Olsen
• Moyra Brown
Christopher Duncan – Tür
Alys Longley
NIWA, Lauder, Central Otago

Parade

Parade

2016 giclée print onto mirrored dibond
 Edition of 5 + 1 AP 
120 x 60cm.

Parade is an artwork that places the viewer as both a discoverer and as part of the work itself.
Part of the artists ‘MAN A’ project the print conceals hidden motion-captured performers activated by a custom App. The work reminds us of both tribal war paint and zebras stripes, playing on the idea of concealment and revelation with technology acting as the catalyst.

Also available to commission, with dimensions & material variable POA.

Credits

Performers:
Nicola Gibbons
Ruth Gibson
Siobhan O’Neil
Robert Davidson
Eszter Gál
Bettina Neuhaus
Joe Moran
Florence Peake
Julie Nathanielsz
Kirsty Alexander
Titta Court
Wendy Smith
Gabi Agis
Theresa Moriaty
Katye Coe
Polly Hudson

Printing:
Omni

Special Thanks:
Ian William Gouldstone
Alex Woolner & Dan McCormick for programming support
Jon Meyer for application support.

Photo Credits:
M. Sharkey, D. Surman

Golem

Golem

2016 giclée print onto hahnemühle photo rag
. Edition of 5 + 1 AP 
120 x 120 cm.

The anamorphic clay-like figure reminds us of the Jewish folkloric being, magically created from inanimate matter.  There are a number of different stories about how the golem was brought to life and afterwards controlled. The artists work with motion-capture and animation software, this image has been painstakingly ‘uncovered’ during this process

Strangelands Exhibition Catalogue here

 

Huff & Puff

Huff & Puff

2016 from the MAN A series, digital print direct to foamex, dimensions variable and App.

Drawing inspiration from the visual language of ‘dazzle’ camouflage, developed by artist Norman Wilkinson in WWI, MAN A is a series of seemingly flat geometric surfaces, 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 a catalyst.

The App is available for iOs here and for Android here.

Instructions:
Using the app on your mobile device scan the installation looking for the concealed markers.

Credits

Performers:
Nicola Gibbons
Ruth Gibson
Siobhan O’Neil
Robert Davidson
Eszter Gál
Bettina Neuhaus
Joe Moran
Florence Peake
Julie Nathanielsz
Kirsty Alexander
Titta Court
Wendy Smith
Gabi Agis
Theresa Moriaty
Katye Coe
Polly Hudson

Printing:
Omni

Special Thanks:
Ian William Gouldstone
Alex Woolner & Dan McCormick for programming support
Jon Meyer for application support.

Photo Credits:
M. Sharkey, D. Surman

XYZ

XYZ

2016 Neon 105 x 90cm

All 3D software tools incorporate a 3-dimensional environment with XY and Z axes. The representation of the three dimensions of space is rendered in 2d on the flat surface of the screen, with red, green and blue axis indicating how different dimensions are aligned relative to each other. Gibson Martelli’s XYZ is a physical representation of a digital object, playing with our perception of space, suggesting that our reality is being simulated on a flat plane and crossing boundaries between real and virtual.

‘…in order to get a realistic simulation of human experience, much less is needed – only whatever is required to ensure that the simulated humans, interacting in normal human ways with their simulated environment, don’t notice any irregularities’
Nick Bostrom Are You Living in A Computer Simulation? Philosophical Quarterly (2003)

 

MAN A VR

MAN A VR

2015 – Room scale Virtual Reality experience,  mobile app, custom virtual reality viewer

Examining relationships between figure & landscape, Gibson/Martelli collaborate to discover new performance spaces – the MAN A project has formed a ‘laboratory’ where we have been experimenting with a number of different ideas around this concept together with motion capture, large format printing, augmented reality and for this piece VR.

MAN A VR aims to push the viewer into the ‘computer space’ of our performers, surrounding the viewer with choreographed dancers. A cocktail of camouflage — hiding, revealing, information bearing, noticeable, unnoticeable, marked, unmarked, appearing, disappearing. More info about MAN A here.

Recently MAN A VR was exhibited at  FILE Electronic Language International Festival in Sao Paulo. 

Download Google Cardboard VR demo Version here.
Download Apple Cardboard VR demo Version here.

Credits

Performers: Nicola Gibbons, Ruth Gibson, Siobhan O’Neil, Robert Davidson, Eszter Gal, Bettina Neuhaus, Joe Moran, Florence Peake, Julie Nathanielsz.
Concept & Design: Gibson/Martelli
Printing: Omni
Sound: Adam Nash
Special Thanks: Ian William Gouldstone, Alex Woolner & Dan McCormick for programming support & Jon Meyer for application support.

Big Bob

Big Bob

2015, Sculpture, dimensions and materials variable, cardboard, vinyl, wood, augmented reality app. (installation Jaffe-Friede Gallery)

If Gibson/Martelli’s Dazzle functions productively as a ‘untimely’ element which throws the contemporary into relief, then it is in exactly this sort of transposition that they bring in the ‘speculative’ mode, conceiving and realising alternative and possible-future uses for their technologies and ideas that are, more often that not, suffused with a quiet optimism, vitality and viscerality….

More

The central work of MAN A at the Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Big Bob, is an example of such a transposition. True to both the serial nature of the project and its’ preoccupation with camouflaging, Bob is named for the digital ‘skin’ of the motion-captured movements of dancer Robert Davidson (whose avatar has featured in previous iterations of the project in London and Singapore) applied to motion data of Ruth Gibson (herself a dancer and dance academic) performing a rolling movement. Armed with this knowledge of the interchangeability of ‘actor’ and ‘costume’ that comprise ‘Big Bob’, it becomes possible to read the piece as a Harlequin-esque figure (an idea bolstered by the richly-coloured polygonal facets, which are reminiscent of the Harlequin’s traditional diamond-patterned outfit and the athleticism of his pose) and as such, comprehend the undercurrent of playful- ness that the artists deploy to counter the grave weight of military symbolism. Harlequin-Bob seems to hint that the corps of desert- camouflaged, tactically armoured soldiers on the nightly news might -unconsciously or otherwise- be participants in a particularly macho game of dress-up… much like the way in dazzle camouflage was probably, in hindsight, more talismanic than truly effective.

If Bob’s fourfold transposition from embodied agent in space, to lines on a chart, to points in the Cartesian dream-space on the screen and re-materialisation into the world of tangibility feels familiar, it is because this dimensional fluidity chimes with several technologies that are currently gaining a foothold in the popular imagination. From 3D printing to geospatial mixed-reality environments to haptic VR, the distinction between object and representation is fast becoming as difficult to frame as the idea of the contemporary itself. Bob, in all his harshly-compressed, low-poly glory, refracts this situation back to viewer by dint of reduction – multiple complex sets of data stripped down to what is essentially a ‘roided up pepakura model, unabashedly simplistic in a world of ultra-mimetic high-res CGI.

While Big Bob might be an unconvincing simulacrum in visual terms, he excels at getting the body involved in the viewing process. This is achieved, firstly, through the monumental scale and angular pose of the figure, occupying a substantial amount of the floor space in the cavernous gallery and thus carving up the potential affordances for movement in and through the space into a series of circuits and pockets. Secondly, the visually disruptive properties of Bob’s Dazzle and randomised-color gradient ‘skin’ come into play, interrupting apprehension of the bulk and positioning of the figure. This second nod to the viewer as an embodied subject is particularly effective; when we see one object at a distance behind another, what we are seeing is in a very real sense our own body’s potential to move between the objects or to touch them in succession…seeing is never separate from other sense modalities.(1) Skewering that process -however momentarily- provides an instant remove, a rupture that exposes the habits and limitations of our perceptual processes.

As mentioned earlier, Gibson/Martelli’s dazzle patterns pull double-duty as ‘triggers’ or ‘markers’ for a custom augmented reality mobile application created by Martelli, in which the camera of the device ‘recognises’ the pattern and superimposes three-dimensional imagery (the augmentation) into the presented image. The superimposed imagery occupies the screen of the viewer’s mobile device, on top of the digital representation of the space provided by the camera, which is filled with representations of dazzle camouflage – which was itself designed with optical representation in mind. This multiple layering of imagery foregrounds the simulacral nature of the experience, highlighting the ways in which images and technologies produce both each other and the viewing subject simultaneously.

The augmentations that form a key part of MAN A are kinetic, stylised representations of motion-capture data recorded by the artists in collaboration with a coterie of contemporary dancers. Depicted as humanoid forms, spinning discs, intersecting lines and dot patterns, the movement sequences are randomised and variously-scaled. As such, viewers are invited to re-calibrate their spatial and proprioceptive faculties to fully interact with the virtual liveliness on offer, to position themselves in all manner of heights, angles and distances throughout the gallery space and use a broad range on physical articulations to keep up with exhibition’s pixelated per- formers, which (due to their randomised programming) frequently preclude the adoption of a static viewpoint by dancing off beyond the field-of-view offered by the camera.

This subtle move of randomising the dance sequences and encouraging responsive movement is a clever one on the part of the artists. One the one hand, it points to randomness as a type of contemporary camouflage in itself; a pertinent response to time in which state and private actors monitor and monetise subjects through mass data aggregation and pattern recognition.

On the other (less spooky) hand, it serves as a partial externalisation of the mirror-neuron response, wherein performing an action oneself or simply observing another performing the action elicits precisely the same neuronal activity. While the physical behaviours of the viewers may not mirror those of the augment-dancers exactly, (or even closely – that would be somewhat difficult when holding a phone/ tablet, after all) they are nonetheless kinaesthetic responses to the visual information presented, with all the potential for expression and empathy that entails. And in a time of cyber warfare and drone strikes, what could be more untimely, more contemporary than embodied empathy?

(1) Seeing the Virtual, Building the Insensible. Brian Massumi. “Hypersurface Architecture” in: Architectural Design Vol. 68. 1998.

excerpt from Bobby Dazzler or: Reading MAN A through Speculative Fiction

– Kevin J. Clarke, 2015

MAN A APP

The App is available for iOs here and for Android here.

Ragtime

Ragtime

2015 computer simulation

Physics engines sometimes use a type of procedural animation know as ‘ragdoll’ to replace static death animations in first person shooter videogames. Here the artists create an endlessly collapsing ragdoll figure.

MAN A – installation

MAN A

2014 Site specific wall print, self adhesive vinyl, honeycomb board, augmented reality app (installation Selfridges)

Gibson/Martelli re-imagine ‘dazzle’ camouflage as tribal markings for invisible performers, moving within a window installation activated by a special App. These images are from an installation at Selfridges, London

More

‘MAN A takes military Dazzle Camouflage as its point of departure. Unlike traditional camouflage which operates on the principle of concealment, dazzle camo uses complex arrangements of high-contrast, interrupted patterns of geometric shapes intended to confuse the calculation of a ship’s range, speed and bearing in an enemy’s optical gunnery rangefinder.

The distinctive aesthetic of Dazzle found its way into Art discourse in the work of Vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth, who – having been commissioned to supervise the camouflaging of some 2,000 ships during WW1 – produced a series of canvases in the style during the post- war period.

Gibson/Martelli’s installation brings this thoroughly modern aesthetic into a contemporary framework by exploiting its monochromatic, geometric patterns as the de facto standard for machine reading, akin to a barcode or QR pattern. This appropriation takes the form of a custom ‘augmented reality’ mobile application created by Martelli, in which the device’s camera ‘recognises’ the pattern and superimposes three-dimensional imagery into the live- camera view.

It is at this stage that the project’s complexities begin to unfold. Upon the (technologically- mediated) appearance of this previously-invisible data encoded into the structure and objects of the gallery space, the viewer is presented with multiple approaches to ‘reading’ the work.

The superimposed imagery occupies the screen of the viewer’s mobile device, atop its live- camera digital representation of the space, which is filled with re-presentations of dazzle camouflage – which was itself designed with optical representation in mind. This multiple layering of imagery foregrounds the simulacral nature of the experience, highlighting the ways in which images and technologies produce both each other and the viewing subject simultaneously.

Furthermore, the artist’s purposeful ‘glitch’ in this chain of representation becomes apparent; what was once a pattern intended to obfuscate in the analog era becomes one able to reveal and expand upon the image in the digital era, by way of image-recognition and augmentation.

The specific nature of these augmentations is crucial. In presenting stylized humanoid forms whose movements are derived from 3D motion-captured contemporary dance performances, Gibson/Martelli reintegrate embodied perception into a process that otherwise privileges the visual and cerebral almost exclusively.

This occurs at not only the conceptual level, but the practical; in order to fully interact with the installation, viewers must engage their spatial and proprioceptive faculties, positioning themselves in the public street where the exhibition begins and moving throughout the gallery space, and using their full range on physical articulations to view all facets of the exhibition’s virtual performers.

The performers who lent their motion-captured presence to the installation are all experts in the Skinner Releasing Technique model of contemporary dance, which holds as its core premise that all humans are endowed with a natural, animal-like grace that can be tapped by the combination of technical movement principles with poetic images and spontaneity. It is from this principle of natural force and energy – referred to as mana in Pacific Island cultures – that MAN A takes its name.’

– Kevin Clarke – UNION Gallery

Credits

Performers: Nicola Gibbons, Ruth Gibson, Siobhan O’Neil, Robert Davidson, Eszter Gal, Bettina Neuhaus, Joe Moran, Florence Peake, Julie Nathanielsz.
Concept & Design: Gibson/Martelli
Printing: Omni
Sound: Adam Nash
Special Thanks: Ian William Gouldstone, Alex Woolner & Dan McCormick for programming support & Jon Meyer for application support.

MAN A – Mobile App

MAN A App

2014 – Ongoing, Site-specific wall prints & objects, Augmented Reality App

Examining relationships between figure & landscape, Gibson/Martelli collaborate to discover new performance spaces – the MAN A project has formed a ‘laboratory’ for the artists to experiment with a number of different ideas around this concept, together with mocap, large format printing, augmented, and virtual reality.

Presented here are a series of special prints that can be activated by a specially made App. Get the free App for iOs here and for Android here.

More

‘MAN A takes military Dazzle Camouflage as its point of departure. Unlike traditional camouflage which operates on the principle of concealment, dazzle camo uses complex arrangements of high-contrast, interrupted patterns of geometric shapes intended to confuse the calculation of a ship’s range, speed and bearing in an enemy’s optical gunnery rangefinder.

The distinctive aesthetic of Dazzle found its way into Art discourse in the work of Vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth, who – having been commissioned to supervise the camouflaging of some 2,000 ships during WW1 – produced a series of canvases in the style during the post- war period.

Gibson/Martelli’s installation brings this thoroughly modern aesthetic into a contemporary framework by exploiting its monochromatic, geometric patterns as the de facto standard for machine reading, akin to a barcode or QR pattern. This appropriation takes the form of a custom ‘augmented reality’ mobile application created by Martelli, in which the device’s camera ‘recognises’ the pattern and superimposes three-dimensional imagery into the live- camera view.

It is at this stage that the project’s complexities begin to unfold. Upon the (technologically- mediated) appearance of this previously-invisible data encoded into the structure and objects of the gallery space, the viewer is presented with multiple approaches to ‘reading’ the work.

The superimposed imagery occupies the screen of the viewer’s mobile device, atop its live- camera digital representation of the space, which is filled with re-presentations of dazzle camouflage – which was itself designed with optical representation in mind. This multiple layering of imagery foregrounds the simulacral nature of the experience, highlighting the ways in which images and technologies produce both each other and the viewing subject simultaneously.

Furthermore, the artist’s purposeful ‘glitch’ in this chain of representation becomes apparent; what was once a pattern intended to obfuscate in the analog era becomes one able to reveal and expand upon the image in the digital era, by way of image-recognition and augmentation.

The specific nature of these augmentations is crucial. In presenting stylized humanoid forms whose movements are derived from 3D motion-captured contemporary dance performances, Gibson/Martelli reintegrate embodied perception into a process that otherwise privileges the visual and cerebral almost exclusively.

This occurs at not only the conceptual level, but the practical; in order to fully interact with the installation, viewers must engage their spatial and proprioceptive faculties, positioning themselves in the public street where the exhibition begins and moving throughout the gallery space, and using their full range on physical articulations to view all facets of the exhibition’s virtual performers.

The performers who lent their motion-captured presence to the installation are all experts in the Skinner Releasing Technique model of contemporary dance, which holds as its core premise that all humans are endowed with a natural, animal-like grace that can be tapped by the combination of technical movement principles with poetic images and spontaneity. It is from this principle of natural force and energy – referred to as mana in Pacific Island cultures – that MAN A takes its name.’

– Kevin Clarke – UNION Gallery

Credits

Performers: Nicola Gibbons, Ruth Gibson, Siobhan O’Neil, Robert Davidson, Eszter Gal, Bettina Neuhaus, Joe Moran, Florence Peake, Julie Nathanielsz.

Concept & Design: Gibson/Martelli

Printing: Omni

Sound: Adam Nash

Special Thanks: Ian William Gouldstone, Alex Woolner & Dan McCormick for programming support & Jon Meyer for application support.

Exhibitions

2016
Complicity Artifice & Illusion Collyer Bristow Gallery, London
Digital Revolution Istanbul, Turkey

2015
Lumen Prize World Tour
Digital Revolution Athens, Greece
DAZZLE Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Dartmouth College USA
Everything is Data ADM Gallery, Singapore
POLITICS OF AMNESIA II Cafe Gallery, London
MAN A UNION Gallery London
Digital Revolution Tekniska Museet Stockholm

2014
Archive Fever! Clay & Glass Museum, Waterloo, Canada
Digital Revolution Barbican, London
You/Me/It Institut Jozef Sefan, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2014
Festival of Imagination Selfridges London

Solid

Solid

2014 from the MAN A series, digital print direct to Kappa, dimensions variable and App.

Drawing inspiration from the visual language of ‘dazzle’ camouflage, developed by artist Norman Wilkinson in WWI, MAN A is a series of seemingly flat geometric surfaces, 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 a catalyst.

The App is available for iOs here and for Android here.

Instructions:
Using the app on your mobile device scan the installation looking for the concealed markers.

Credits

Performers:
Nicola Gibbons
Ruth Gibson
Siobhan O’Neil
Robert Davidson
Eszter Gál
Bettina Neuhaus
Joe Moran
Florence Peake
Julie Nathanielsz
Kirsty Alexander
Titta Court
Wendy Smith
Gabi Agis
Theresa Moriaty
Katye Coe
Polly Hudson

Printing:
Omni

Special Thanks:
Ian William Gouldstone
Alex Woolner & Dan McCormick for programming support
Jon Meyer for application support

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Man by the Lake

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White Island

WHITE ISLAND
White Island draws on S. A. Andrée’s doomed Polar balloon expedition of 1897. Attempting to reach the Pole, Andrée’s balloon crashed on the ice near Kvitøya (White Island). The three expedition members perished and their final campsite was only located in 1930. Consulting textual and photographic documentation left by the original expedition members, Gibson/Martelli built a computer generated world using height map data and game engine technology.
In its attention to the expansive frozen lands and seas of ice, the 80ºN exhibition contemplates the overwhelming might of nature, its beauty and its vulnerability. In each project, the artists depart from classical representations of heroic voyages of discovery enabled by engineering mastery. Gibson/Martelli invite the viewer to observe the Arctic from a first-person perspective.
Exhibitions:

2014 – 15 80ºN QUAD gallery, Derby
2014 Islands Coleman Projects, London

White Island
Concept & design Gibson/Martelli
Additional Programming – Ian Gouldstone, Jon Meyer, Rachel Cordone
Interface – Matt Jarvis
Additional 3D modelling – Richard King
Special thanks to Pol McLernon, Richard Ducker & Frances Coleman

80ºN is supported by a CAFKA / Christie Residency Program, Christie Digital & WorldViz, Arts Council England & QUAD.

White Island Technical setup – Installation, Interactive Virtual Environment, Virtual Reality headset, custom interface, rope, electric fan, 5.1 surround audio

Islands Review by Paul O’Kane

Richard Ducker & Gibson/Martelli
21st June – 20th July 2014
Coleman Project Space, London, SE16

London’s unequalled enthusiasm for art long-ago produced the phenomenon of the small shop in a relatively un-renowned part of the city that has been converted into a gallery space. Coleman Project Space in Bermondsey is a good example. Its particular architectural form determines to some extent the works here presented as well as the way in which we encounter them. A critical visitor to this show might strain to perceive connections between these works that allows them to be brought together under the evocative title Islands, but the process of determining a homogenising rationale can be a rewarding and creative act in itself as the mind builds imaginative bridges between apparently irreconcilable, or at least clearly heterogeneous elements.

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Stepping through the little shop door of Coleman Project Space the visitor finds their senses immersed in the transformative effects provided by Astro Turf – a vivid green, hyperreal imitation grass that forms a contextual carpet for Richard Ducker’s Dark Matter Flowers (2013/14). But it may be the contrast created by the sparse arrangement of slightly sinister looking black objects that really makes the space feel estranged. On closer inspection, the black forms turn out to be various panels of crashed cars, gleaned from scrap yards then subjected to the process known as flocking, in which a fine layer of coloured felt is sprayed on to and affixed to a surface. Unreflective matt black flocking awards Ducker’s sharp-angled car panels a slight sense of melancholy, as if mourning the loss of their commodity status and their cultural position as part of the lovingly polished bodywork of some suburban hero’s pride and joy. The objects are arranged in a sparse configuration that allows the audience to walk among them, with due care and consideration, like visitors to some sci-fi cemetery. Most are floor-bound but others hark down from the ceiling, their sharp modern geometry suggesting crystals, stalactites and stalagmites. The former shop begins to feel cave-like, but the specially installed artificial light combines with title of Ducker’s work to lead our interpretive reading closer to the idea of a malignant garden. Thus the artist plays with the notion of sculpture as prop, the gallery as theatre or theme park, and with suburbia as a simulacral environment while also hinting at the 21st century artist’s limited ability to compete with or emulate the panoply of fantasy worlds and dreamscapes readily available to us via ubiquitous video game technology.

Having tip-toed through this installation, the viewer passes on through what were once the back room of the shop and its back yard into a large shed or disused workshop. Inside, Gibson/Martelli (the collaboration by artists Ruth Gibson and Bruno Martelli, formerly known as ‘igloo’) have some surprises waiting for us. An inflated and tethered weather balloon occupies a significant part of the space. Projected on its moon-like surface we can watch Perfect Circle (2013), a film made from a camera fixed on a ship as it turns 360 degrees in an arctic seascape. The artists are obliquely referring to a well-know obsession of Renaissance artists but perversely translating it to this remote and desolate location while applying an odd mix of technologies. The video camera and sailing vessel together try to achieve what Renaissance artists all too often failed to do with a pencil, paper, a trained hand and a disciplined mind.

Perfect Circle 2013

Perfect Circle Installation

Nearby in the dark space we discover a Virtual Reality headset dangling from overhead joists, and next to it a taught rope fixed between floor and ceiling. Donning the headset we immediately leave behind the real world of the shed and find ourselves magically transported by convincing sounds and moving images representing a blizzard, through and beyond which snow-bound mountains seem to be passing before and beneath us.

This is White Island (2014), also by Gibson/Martelli, and as we grip the (real) rope beside us we make a strange liaison between one world and another, as well as between forms of internal and external experience. We soon realise that we are expected to (virtually) pilot a (virtual) air balloon ride across the intimidating arctic landscape.

The rope, we instinctively, empirically learn, acts like a joystick. Pulling with an upward, downward or sideways emphasis affects the apparent height and direction of our (virtual) vehicle – as evoked in the convincing image of a wicker basket creaking beneath our feet. We are thus entrusted with the task of enjoying the ride while avoiding (virtual) disaster. In fact, the work draws on a doomed Polar balloon expedition of 1897 when, attempting to reach the Pole by balloon, the intrepid S. A. Andrée’s balloon crashed, and all three expedition members died.

Gibson/Martelli conscientiously researched this journey and built their own digital version for us to relive it. Of course, unlike the real balloonists, we have the option of being able to remove our headset and return to the real, relatively comfortable surroundings of a safe South London back yard.

In the combined works and artists that constitute ‘Islands’ a brave leap in the direction of hyperreality is consistently, knowingly, willingly, ironically and strategically – albeit symbolically – undermined by historical materiality. It is as if Jean Baudrillard, having leapfrogged Karl Marx, is himself leapfrogged by Marx again as plain old reality persistently clings on to its own existence and continues to confront us with all those problematics of history that Walter Benjamin – perhaps more artfully than anyone before or since – mapped in his labyrinthine Theses on a Philosophy of History. Despite our screened-out, virtualised lives, we are still reliant on increasingly ephemeral hardware that rapidly breaks down and wears out, and so, from the cracked surface of our smartphones to the 70s-styled coffee bar in which we scroll through our Instagram and facebook updates, we remain consistently bound by our built environment and thus constantly re-engaged with both the most recent past and more distant, increasingly mythologised histories. Today, even something as apparently futuristic as Virtual Reality has taken on a kind of retro patina in the same way that Walter Benjamin noted, in his 1928 essay on Surrealism, that ‘railways are beginning to age’ while beginning to recognise ‘the revolutionary energies that appear in the outmoded’.

The artists in Islands seem to subject us to a strange interplay of times and processes as Ducker’s textured and tangible references make a consciously half-hearted attempt to deliver us into a hyperreal, virtual and futural non-place while, conversely, Gibson/Martelli transport us to the specific Victorian scenario of a true adventure, but only by virtual means that simultaneously convince us and invite us to ‘see through’ their contrivance. Heroism may be yet another concept that connects the various ‘Islands’ on show here, whether in the guise of Gibson/Martelli’s intrepid arctic explorer or the implied figure of a suburban ‘hero’ of postmodern life whose aim to perhaps create the perfect lawn or bring out the most enviable shine is thwarted or surpassed by Ducker’s material translations and transformations.

Rather than ‘Islands’ – we might be so bold as to suggest – an alternative concept, equally applicable to Richard Ducker’s and Gibson/Martelli’s assembled works, could be that of ‘Histories’ as, in subtle and surprising ways, the works here evoke our current sense of an unexpectedly complex, and possibly failed, negotiation with both future and past. Gibson/Martelli’s Virtual Reality work strangely transports us to a Victorian scenario wherein explorers tested the limits of their very own exciting and unprecedented technologies. Their ‘Perfect Circle’ similarly leads us from the present into the 16th Century, and back again. Meanwhile, Richard Ducker’s ‘Dark Matter Flowers’ relates the rather grand concept of history to the relatively mundane nexus of designed obsolescence and suburban desire that keeps consumerism and technology powering along with no sense of responsibility to its, or our future.

A visitor might therefore leave this show wondering what the original customers of the little shop would think of the twisted and buckled version of their manifold possible futures we have currently come to inhabit, but also slightly haunted by the ghosts of those early consumers, as thoughts of them remind us that we too will only be so much faded and inaccurately represented reality before very long.

Paul O’Kane is an artist, lecturer, and writer.

‘Map showing the routes and drifts of various polar expeditions North of Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land’ detail
– from The Andrée Diaries, first published in 1931

Extract from The Andrée Diaries
Being the diaries and records of S.A. Andrée, Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel, written during their ballon expedition to the North Pole in 1897
and discovered on White Island in 1930, together with a complete record of the expedition and discovery.
Published by John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd. England (1931)

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WANDERLUST

By Dennis Adelmann
BRANDING / WEB DESIGN  / IDENTITY  / MAGAZINE
THE BREIF

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WHAT WE DID

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Soft, Smooth & Sophisticated

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In Search Of Abandoned

In Search of Abandoned

2013 installation, CAVE – Interactive Virtual Environment, Christie Mirage HD6 stereoscopic DPL projectors, procedurally generated sound, rope, yacht wheel, custom interface, screen.

In Search of Abandoned allows visitors to explore a non-place in the Arctic Circle. The terrain presents itself as a three dimensional stereoscopic image – a lattice of woven geometry with dynamic sound bringing together an imagined view of place & an experienced one.

In 2010 at the request of Gibson, Martelli set off on a sailing expedition to find ‘Abandoned’ a non- place nestled in the archipelago of Svalbard. Gibson ‘discovered’ ‘Abandoned’ on Google maps – depicted as a mere dot in a white expanse. She began to build and construct her own view of his voyage and what ‘Abandoned’ may look, feel and sound like. As artists-in-residence at CAFKA/Christie after keeping Martelli’s documentation, footage and photographs under wraps for three years they exchanged ideas and began exploring virtual reality to create In search of Abandoned. The resulting work is where invention and memory collide, science & fiction merge.
In its attention to the expansive frozen lands and seas of ice, the 80ºN exhibition contemplates the overwhelming might of nature, its beauty and its vulnerability. In each project, the artists depart from classical representations of heroic voyages of discovery enabled by engineering mastery. Gibson/Martelli invite the viewer to observe the Arctic from a first-person perspective.

CREDITS

In Search of Abandoned 2013
Concept & design Gibson/Martelli
Sound – David Jensenius
Programming: Dustin Freeman
Additional programming: Al Pagan, Jeremy Sioui, Brandon Ryan
Interface: Michael Yan, Rex Lingwood, Dustin Freeman
Special thanks to: Pol McLernan, Greg Cox, Brian Hawthornthwaite, Iain Klugman at Communitech | Gerry Remers, Pal Roppa, Carl Fowler, James Belso & Rob Sayer at Christie Digital, Marian Wihak, Jesse Scott, Kristina Foster, Sarah Kernohan, Gordon Hatt, Dylan Reibling & all of the CAFKA, Christie & Communitech crew.

80ºN is supported by a CAFKA / Christie Residency Program, Christie Digital & WorldViz, Arts Council England and QUAD.

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Perfect Circle

Perfect Circle

2013 Single channel looping HD colour projection, 4’04”, meteorological balloon, rope, iris

– the shape of the globe is problematic. Constantly in motion, this Earth has no borders, no up no down, no beginning and no end, and one side is always hidden from view. . . 

– Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands

During a sailing expedition in the Arctic, Martelli challenged the boat’s captain to complete a full 360º turn in the sea, saying that the legend of a true artist is to be able draw a perfect circle freehand without a compass ( Giotto ). The captain drew his circle and said it was a first for him on the GPS. Martelli filmed the event and after a lucky escape from a wave that damaged his camera, the footage was salvaged for the film.

Credits

Concept & design: Gibson/Martelli

Editor: Raj Yagnik

Noorderlicht Captain:  Gert Ritzema

Special Thanks: to the crew of the Noorderlicht, Christina Seely, Pol McLernon, Richard Ducker & Frances Coleman

Capturing Stillness

Capturing Stillness

2013 Falling Upwards – Realtime Virtual Environment with Oculus Rift (video extract).

Capturing Stillness uses performance capture and computer game worlds to create transformative experiences derived from Skinner Releasing Dance Technique and its poetics. The study questions the relationships that arise between the poetic imagery cited in the pedagogy aligned with motion analysis, visualisation techniques and digital technologies & how these findings in combination with SRT principles can permeate the development of kinaesthetic Human Computer Interfaces for mobile devices and large scale projected realtime 3D environments.
Gibson / Martelli performance captured 16 dancers from across the globe in the Bugatti Lab at Coventry University and motion.lab at Deakin University, Melbourne. Visualisations of the movement data are incorporated into a series of new Augmented Reality and Stereoscopic Virtual Environments for CAVE & Oculus Rift.

As the first study of its kind to interrogate SRT dance practice in the field of motion capture and interactive virtual environments, the project resulted in exhibitions, conference contributions, multimedia publications, didactic materials and various other events and public engagement activities.

Selected Talks:

2014

Figure in a Landscape Institute of Sustainable Engineering, Derby University.
Figure in Landscape CAFKA 14 Communitech, Kitchener, Canada.
Walking with Dancers Leeds University.
Palais de Danse III C-DaRE, Coventry University.
Sensing Virtual Space QUAD, Derby.

2013

I danced myself to a standstill Research Seminar Series Plateau a loeuvre. Universite Stendhal, Grenoble, France.
Figure & Landscape at Proto-Tools, a 2 day event at Flat-Time House, London.
kinosphir: shes lost control at Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, London.
spatial illusion velocity perception: places that exists in reality but may only be found in the imagination Dance & Somatic Conferences, Streamed event from Canada.
Gestalt Grace Psi Stanford University, USA.
Figure & Landscape OCADU, Toronto, Canada.
still moving Unknown Fields Division Architects Association, London.
Palais de Danse Salon II ICE, Coventry.
hanging in the balance Shifting Balances Symposium, ICE, Coventry.
kinosphir – shes lost control – as yet Impossible- futurology lecture series MediaCity /Salford University.
kinosphir – shes lost control Computer Arts Society Lectures, British Computer Society, London.

2012

and the stillness is dancing National Institute of Creative Arts, Speaking Performance Series at University of Auckland, National Institute of Creative Arts, NZ.
Figure & Landscape Media Design School; Game Development Department Auckland, New Zealand.
Keynote Address: Dance research directions from a UK perspective – and the stillness is dancing National Dance Research Forum, Ausdance held at Deakin University motion.Lab and Victoria College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia.

2011

Motion Capture and Dance: what it can do, what it can’t do, what it should never attempt ISEA Sabannci University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Capturing Stillness Best Papers Electronic Visualisation and the Arts EVA British Computer Society.
Porous Borders Dance & Somatic Conference, Coventry.

2010

Capturing Stillness Somatic Embodiment, Agency & Mediation in Digital Mediated Environments (SEAM) Conference, The Seymour Centre, Sydney, Australia

Credits:

Dancers

Gaby Agis, Eszter Gal,Bettina Neuhaus, Kirsty Alexander, Joe Moran, Florence Peake, Julie Nathanielsz, Nicola Gibbons, Siobhan O’Neil, Robert Davidson, Theresa Moriaty, Titta Court, Katye Coe, Wendy Smith, Polly Hudson & Ruth Gibson.

Special thanks

Joan Skinner, Skinner Releasing Institute, Patrick Dickinson, Duncan Rowland, Ida Topft

Supported by

AHRC Creative Fellowship, Coventry University C-DaRE (2010-2013)

Lisa Ullmann Traveling Scholarship (2010)

Deakin motion.lab artists- in- residence ( 2012) Australia, ARC Discovery Grant – Project Building Innovative Capacity in Australian Dance.

Communitech, Kitchener, Canada.

CAFKA/Christie artists -in-residence ( 2013 -2014), Canada

Vermilion Lake

Vermilion Lake

2011 installation: mixed media, computer game environment, 5.1 channel sound

Inspired by the artists’ travels to the snow-driven mountains of the Canadian Rockies VISITOR was developed following research at The Banff Arts Centre. Vermilion Lake comprises a full-scale replica of a trappers cabin housing an interactive virtual environment. A companion moving image piece, where the bears are sleeping, depicts monochromatic imagery of glaciers, forests and frozen lakes. In both works, either a friendly or malevolent force is suggested, evoking the hunter being hunted, the tracker being tracked. Employing techniques used in video games, bringing exterior virtual space into the physical gallery space the exhibition plays with our apprehension of different forms of reality.
‘The worlds they create are total simulacrums: there is no separation between the invented & the real, the site & the represented, the local & the imagined. It is a territory that is cohesive & singular in language, yet simultaneously is forever folding in on itself. Their work engages the particular of the site while undermining its place, the original & point of departure become one in a conceptual unravelling.’
Richard Ducker – Curator, Fieldgate Gallery 2010

‘…half-hallucinatory spectacle’ – The Guardian

CREDITS

Vermilion Lake  2011

House: Greg Cox.
Boat: Matty Bickerton, Sam Lanyon, Pat Bond.
Sound: Adam Nash, Luke Pither.
Programming: James Tan.
Additional modeling: Helen Street, Alex Woolner
Concept & design: Gibson / Martelli

VISITOR is a touring exhibition in association with artsdepot and commissioned by the Henry Moore Foundation and Arts Council England supported by The Banff Centre, Canada

where the bears are sleeping

where the bears are sleeping

2011: single channel HD video 42′ looping, colour

where the bears are sleeping depicts monochromatic imagery of glaciers, forests and frozen lakes. In both works of the VISITOR exhibtion, either a friendly or malevolent force is suggested, evoking the hunter being hunted, the tracker being tracked. Employing techniques used in video games, bringing exterior virtual space into the physical gallery space the exhibition plays with our apprehension of different forms of reality.

‘The worlds they create are total simulacrums: there is no separation between the invented & the real, the site & the represented, the local & the imagined. It is a territory that is cohesive & singular in language, yet simultaneously is forever folding in on itself. Their work engages the particular of the site while undermining its place, the original & point of departure become one in a conceptual unravelling.’
Richard Ducker – Curator, Fieldgate Gallery 2010

‘…half-hallucinatory spectacle’ – The Guardian

where the bears are sleeping
2011
Single channel video installation
Editor: John McMullin
Concept & design: Gibson / Martelli




Faith

Faith

2011 computer game modification

A series of new works that subtly place the viewer in a somewhat neurotic state of calm. Gibson/Martelli refine motion within the manipulated moving image to alter our perceptions, building on the idea that movement can solicit sensory awareness. Faith is a modificaton of the ‘Mirrors Edge’ computer game, stripping away all the models to leave an empty sky. Using ingame physics, the dislocated character endlessly falls. The 2011 solo exhibition title ‘Messenger’ comes from the works eponymous characters role in the game.

FallFell

FallFell

2010 installation, customised furniture, 3 channel computer environment

‘CARTER presents some of the most exciting new art emerging from Britain and Europe at Leroy House London.

Throughout the world the global population carries on to dramatically rise. The cities expand and we require ever increasing resources to keep our modern world turning. The extraction of metals, minerals and fossil fuels, their processing and consuming that drives and powers our modern world pose the greatest risks to our future and our environment. For we will be known as the toxic generation. Natures’ dawn chorus has been silenced by our pervasive urbanity a constant background of noise and a pounding in our heads, in the cities and on the battlefields. These mortars at dawn and their dusty craters of rubble will be our ignominious legacy.’

Pitch, Roll, Yaw

Pitch, Roll, Yaw

2009 3 site specific installations — mixed media, 3 channel computer animation with sound, James Taylor Gallery, London

Three site responsive works created for the Dumb Waiter show which deconstruct the thresholds of a space in the James Taylor Gallery.

Press Release:

As it happens, there is no Dumb Waiter in the building, and one could hardly be imagined, but it remains a useful curatorial metaphor for passing from one environ to another. Each artist is given space to develop a site-specific installation, and in some cases were asked to produce an idiosyncratic response to the space. In Harold Pinter’s play of the same name, which takes place in a basement room, it appears that two hit men, Ben and Gus, are awaiting “orders” regarding their next unknown victim. Simultaneously comic and threatening requests emanate from the unseen operator of the dumbwaiter who appears to be “senior” partner Ben’s intended victim at the end of the play. This exercise in semantics and menace corresponds with much of the work in the exhibition.

The word ‘dumb’ in Dumb Waiter implies a stupidity and/or muteness. Yet within this pejorative term of abuse there is a resistance. Muteness has power: it refuses dialogue. Much of the artwork here exploits this paradox. Language is obfuscated, while sound/noise disguises primal anxieties and architectural interventions demarcate zones. The obscuring of meaning by language is explored in the installations of Margaret O’Brien, Richard Ducker and Lee Holden where they operate at the pre-linguistic, with Kristevian visceral utterances. Bruno Martelli & Ruth Gibson (igloo) creates installations of virtual landscapes that conflate the imagined with the real as they develop ever-overlapping simulacrums through the language of the video game. Tod Hanson and Alex Schady respond architecturally to the space, using direct interventions, getting their hands dirty with the stuff of the real world, often with a charming wit or Baroque exuberance, while Denise Hawrysio uses the fly poster to create a bricolage of repetition. In the mix of this is Neil Bromwich and Zoe Walker inflatable landscape that addresses socio-political borders – both cultural and national.

In a number of Hollywood films, the hero escapes via the dumbwaiter, thus travelling efficiently from one floor [set] to the next. The exhibition’s curatorial oversight is just this intention of moving between one total experience to another within the space of the building. In this way, the viewer could perceive themselves as the dumbwaiter, travelling silently, unseen, between the rooms/zones, developing a dialogue as one passes through to the next. Alternately, as in Pinter’s play, it could be the curator who is the dumbwaiter, delivering increasingly unhinged instructions to the artists. When Gus leaves the room to get a drink of water in the bathroom, the dumbwaiter’s speaking tube whistles. Ben listens carefully. We gather from his replies that their victim has arrived and is on his way to the room. Ben shouts for Gus, who is still out of the room. The door that the target is supposed to enter from flies open, Ben rounds on it with his gun, and Gus enters, stripped of his jacket, waistcoat, tie and gun. There is a long silence as the two stare at each other before the curtain comes down.

– Richard Ducker 2009

Exhibitions

2009 James Taylor Gallery, London

SwanQuake

SwanQuake:House

2007 installation: digital wall print, customised furniture, computer game environment, 5.1 channel sound, installation view Barbican Art Gallery, London

The Swan Quake project is concerned with the quest for self-identity in an immersive constructed environment. Here the artist plays herself as a troupe of ghostly avatars — the narratives of dance playing out in a series of interlinked void spaces. The general themes are the body, architecture, urban landscape and revealing & concealing. Loops are used here as a motif for the entrapping behaviours associated with compulsion, obsession and anxiety.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication: SwanQuake: the User Manual 

Performers: Antonia Brett, Ruth Gibson, Joannne Fong, Julia Griffin
Motion Capture Choreographers: Ruth Gibson, John McCormick
Programmer: John McCormick, Rachel Cordone (Angel Mapper)
Virtual Environment: Bruno Martelli
Motion capture avatar designers: Bruno Martelli, Alex Jevremovic, Marshall White
Music & sound: Adam Nash
Customised furniture: Greg Cox
Motion capture provider: Motek – Oshri Evan Zohar, Jasper Brekelmans & Nathan Ornick

Silent Spring

Silent Spring

2007 Giclee print series edition of 5 plus 1 AP 49.5 x 35 cm

These images were created during the computer modelling process of virtual trees. The title refers to Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring:-

The history of life on earth has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings. To a large extent, the physical form and the habits of the earth’s vegetation and its animal life have been molded by the environment. Considering the whole span of earthly time, the opposite effect, in which life actually modifies its surroundings, has been relatively slight. Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species—man—acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.

Credits

BackStrikesEmpire

BackStrikesEmpire

2006 Twin channel moving image with dual stereo sound.

The second part of a trilogy of moving image works produced for gallery installation. Composed as a series of short interrelated films for presentation as a twin screen installation, BackStrikesEmpire is concerned with abstracting images and creating sequences which refer to the figure in the landscape and to the natural phenomena. Shot in the salt flats, gorges, deserts and bush of Australia with an original score commissioned from leading Australian sound artist Adam Nash. Random programming is applied during the screening of the work to produce juxtapositions of sound and image.

Summerbranch

Summerbranch

2005-6 installation: computer game environment, 5.1 channel sound, customised controller

For this exhibition the collaborative unnervingly intervene in serene walk-through forests in a study of camouflage and the use of disguise. Through meticulous examination and understanding of human vision and pattern generation and observations of movement and stillness in nature they have created a theatre of concealment and deception. Extracting scenery from three-dimensional gaming they toy with our perceptions in identification of the human form by way of a computer-generated world and a video installation.

The Summerbranch exhibition is the result of a 2 month residency at the Artsway Gallery in the New Forest. The artists spent two months in camouflage to experience their woodland surroundings first hand. Using tools of the military entertainment complex such as game engines and Performance capture techniques they continued to examine the forest and collected photographic data to construct their own inhabited world. Modelled from and referencing the flora and fauna of the New Forest itself by growing specific trees from virtual seeds they have created an enchanting and at times ominous canopy of forest life.

The Summerbranch project culminated in a series of works including: Ghillie, NewForest, NeverSummerNights, Silent Spring & Summerbranch: a video installation, two virtual environments, a series of Lenticular prints and site specific Wall prints

(adapted from New Forest Pavilion, Venice Biennale catalogue)

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The Art of Simulation:

‘The permanent co-evolution of cryptic characteristics, or camouflage, and the ability to detect camouflage for what it is, a simulation of the real, forms the dramatic theatre of forest life. This dense eco system is delicately balanced between moments of visibility and invisibility – the dappled light on a leaf turns out to be a clever duplication created by a leaf insect. When the same leaf insect turns out to be a computer-generated simulation of the real thing, the interplay of encrypted layers reminds us of the problematic status attributed to fixed notions of reality. Igloo’s Summerbranch (2005/06), a simulation of the New Forest in Hampshire, England, performs a similar game of hide-and-seek with reality – following a Baudrillardian logic, the installation simulates the forest environment, throwing into jeopardy the category of the ‘originary’ by both propagating the precession of simulacra and subtly modifying the understanding of what the ‘originary’ could be (in this case, the notion of ‘nature’) – one can’t help but wonder what else is veiled or concealed in this forest.

Igloo’s appropriation of military camouflage techniques and a computer gaming engine, continue this play between the ‘real’ and the ‘imaginary’. As camouflage developed in response to aerial photography during the early Twentieth Century, it heralded the start of a new war paradigm, where beginnings and endings were destabilised, panoramas visually occluded and illusory, appearances susceptible to correction, identities made malleable. The playful, continually changing surface of Summerbranch gives legitimacy to Hillel Schwartz’s assertion that camouflage today cannot be conceived merely as a trompe l’oeil, rather it must be acknowledged “as central to the way we make peace as [well as] the way we conduct our wars”(1).

By prompting connections between simulation and camouflage, and providing civilian sympathies and applications for military practice, Summerbranch repositions critical themes of current cultural production. On reaching the edge of the installation, we come face to face with legacies of land (art) and the future of earthly habitats. Through simulating and reconfiguring representations of our environment it implicates itself in the continually changing narrative of nature and its parallel development with technology. Summerbranch brings to the foreground our politically-charged preoccupations with topological Interior and Exterior – the dialogue of reconciling a sophisticated, highly technologised world with competing narratives about the resources and uses of our environment.’

– Colm Lally & Cecilia Wee 2007

(1) Hillel Schwarz, Culture of the Copy, Zone Books, New York, 1996 p.208

Credits

NeverSummerNights
2008
Computer Game Environment
Dancer: Joannne Fong
Choreographer: Ruth Gibson
Programmer: John McCormick
Virtual Environment: Bruno Martelli
Performance capture avatar designer: Bruno Martelli
Sound: Adam Nash
Performance capture provider: Animazoo – Ali Kord
Concept & design: Gibson / Martelli

SilentSpring
2007
inkjet prints
igloo – Gibson / Martelli

english oak
2006
Lenticular print series
igloo – Gibson / Martelli

NewForest
2006 – ongoing
Wallprints
igloo – Gibson / Martelli

Summerbranch
2005 – 6
Computer Game Environment
Dancer: Joannne Fong
Choreographer: Ruth Gibson
Programmer: John McCormick
Virtual Environment: Bruno Martelli
Performance capture avatar designers: Bruno Martelli, Alex Jevremovic
Sound: Adam Nash
Performance capture provider: Animazoo – Ali Kord
Concept & design: Gibson / Martelli

Ghillie
2005
Single channel video
Performers: Ruth Gibson, Joanne Fong
Director | Camera: Bruno Martelli
Editor: Ruth Gibson
Costumes: Military Camouflage Systems
Concept & design: Gibson / Martelli

Exhibitions

2011 Smoke on the Water – Aubin Gallery, London
2010 Tales from the Forest – Virserums Konsthall, Sweden
2008 V22 -Wharf Road Project Wenlock Building, London, UK
2008 Landscapes for Frankenstein – Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York, USA
2007 AV – London Games Festival 333 Hoxton, London
2007 New Forest Pavilion – Palazzo Zenobio, 52nd Venice Biennale, Italy
2007 GamePlay – Around the Coyote, Chicago, USA
2007 Summerbranch – Space4, Peterborough, UK
2006 Artful Gaming – London Games Festival, Dana Centre, Science Museum
2006 ISEA/ZERO1 – San Jose, Silicon Valley, California
2006 btween – National Media Museum Bradford
2006 Imagined Landscapes – CLEAR Centre for Landscape and Environmental Arts Research, Cumbria
2006 NIAF – Norwich International Animation festival
2006 Summerbranch – ArtSway, New Forest, UK

Viking Shoppers

Viking Shoppers

1999 -2001 Hybrid Live Performance

A performance unraveling the strange nature of dual identity. Dropping sequences of dance, film, digital art and sound into the same performance environment, exploring the body as digital image. Viking Shoppers unfolds as an intriguing mix of new media work. Both the design and choreography are inspired by the physical and cultural landscapes of Iceland, and the dual identity present in telematic performance and motion capture. Live dancers explore relationships with their virtual, digital, and spiritual selves through the use of interactive movement sequences and real-time ascii cameras. Viking Shoppers features the celebrated music of Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

Credits

Performances:
2001 Encontros ACARTE – Centre de Arte Moderna, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal.
2000 Hoxton Hall, London.
2000 Digital Summer, The Green Room, Manchester.
2000 Scratch Dancers, video installation – NOW Festival, Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham.
2000 Curtain Theatre, Toynbee Hall, London.
2000 Jackson’s Lane Theatre, London.
1999 Virtual Ruth, video installation – London Electronic Arts, LUX Centre, Hoxton Square, London.

Viking Shoppers
1999 -2001
Hybrid Live Performance
Performers: Mark Bruce, Ruth Gibson, Joanne Fong,Yumino Seki, Carolyn Roy, Alex Campos, Ines Jaques, Maria Joao Garcia.
Trapeze/Strop: Kirsty Little.
Lighting Design: Guy Hoare.
Costume: I.E.Uniform & Vexed Generation.
Music: Sigur Rós
Concept & design: Gibson / Martelli

Dedicated to the memory of Asta Wathen

WindowsNinetyEight

WindowsNinetyEight

1996 CdRom with sound

WindowsNinetyEight surveys the lives of three women living alone in a high-rise, each with a unique story to tell, revealing their daily struggle for survival and identity, their tragic past experiences and their expectations for the future.

Devised for CdRom format, WindowsNinetyEight was BAFTA nominated in 2002

Credits

CdRom and installation

Performers: Shirley Lundstram, Ruth Gibson
Choreographer: Ruth Gibson
Assistant Choreographer: Chatalle Nasseri
Interactive Design: Tim Schofield, Bruno Martelli
Music: Parker
Photography: Vanessa Jones
Costume: Conscious Earthwear
Concept & Design: Gibson / Martelli

Dedicated to the memory of Clare Godfrey and Sandra Fisher

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