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Ruth Gibson

Creative Fellow

My Research Vision

Gibson’s current practice examines the postmodern notion of simulacra. This concept is based on the idea that nothing is real, the world is a series of interlocking illusions, swimming in a sea of media driven images and signs that are bewildering and ultimately uninterpretable. Her desire is to play in the spaces between the 'real' and the 'imaginary' to provide a counterpoint to simulated landscapes via the human form. She exploits virtual reality to explore the relationship between the natural and the artificial in both wilderness and urban environments. The creative expansion of interface development into new territories evolving science, new display technologies and somatic practices is at the heart of her research.

BIOGRAPHY

Visual artist and choreographer Ruth Gibson works across disciplines to produce objects, software and installations in partnership with artist Bruno Martelli. She exhibits in galleries and museums internationally creating award-winning projects using computer games, virtual reality, print and video.

A Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Dance Research, Ruth investigates and creates new performance spaces using digital technology. Her commitment to the field of interdisciplinary and collaborative research was recognised in 2010 when she was awarded a three year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Creative Fellowship to examine image interpretation through motion capture, dance and computer visualisation. She has received a National Endowment for Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Innovation Award for SwanQuake and a Henry Moore Foundation New Commission for VISITOR. Her first work with Martelli Windowsninetyeight won a British Academy of Film and Television Award (BAFTA) nomination for Interactive Art. More recently she won the Lumen Prize for MAN A, an augmented reality project.

Ruth has worked as a motion capture performer, supervisor and advisor for Vicon, Motek, Animazoo, Televirtual and for the BBC. She co-authored SwanQuake: the user manual, a selection of articles and essays opening up discursive reflections on the making of an interactive artwork, do-it yourself instructions of the process and the ontology of game art.

Skinner Releasing Technique underpins her practice, she is a certified SRT teacher and combines the technique with her performance technology research.

SELECTED OUTPUTS

  • Gibson, R., and Martelli, B. (2015) Big Bob Dartmouth College Artists-in-Residence program, United States of America. Exhibition.
  • Gibson, R., and Martelli, B. (2014) MAN A Exhibition/Publication World Tour with the Barbican Digital Revolution 2014 - present.
  • Gibson, R., and Martelli, B. (2013) 80ºN Exhibition QUAD Derby [Arts Council Christie Digital Systems Canada/Europe & WorldViz] 
  • Gibson, R., and Martelli, B. (2014) MAN A [Selfridges Commission, Arts Council & Barbican Commission] 
  • Gibson, R., and Martelli, B. (2013/14) In Search of Abandoned CAFKA/Christie Artists-in-Residence program, Canada Exhibition. 
  • Gibson, R., and Martelli, B. (2013) MocApp. iOs app.
  • Gibson, R. (2011) Capturing stillness: visualisation of dance through motion performance capture. Dunn, S. with J.Bowen and K.Ng (eds.). EVA London Electronic Visualisation & the Arts. BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. 
  • Gibson, R. (2010) Capturing Stillness. motion.lab residency. Australian Research Council Discovery Project; Deakin University, Australia 2010/2012. 
  • Gibson, R., and Martelli, B. (2007) SwanQuake. Exhibition/Publication World Tour with the Barbican Watch-Me-Move: The Animation Show 2010 - present. 
  • Gibson, R., and Martelli, B. (2007) Summerbranch [Virtual Environment]. Palazzo Zenobio, Venice Biennale 2007. 

SELECTED PROJECTS

  • Big Bob (2015): Big Bob is an exhibition comprising sculpture, print works, a custom app and VR headsets installed at the Jaffe-Friede Gallery Hanover, New Hampshire USA.
  • MAN A (2014):MAN A is a series of artworks that re-imagine 'dazzle' camouflage as tribal markings for invisible performers, moving within an installation, activated by a special App. MAN A tours with The Barbican in Digital Revolution 2014 - present.
  • 80ºN (2014): The 80ºN exhibition comprises three works which contemplate the overwhelming might of nature, its beauty and its vulnerability. White Island simulates S. A. Andrée's doomed Polar balloon expedition of 1897. Using height-map data the artists build a computer generated world experienced with a VR headset. In Search of Abandoned is a 3D interactive stereoscopic experience based on Abandoned a ‘non-place’ found in the Arctic Circle discovered on Google Maps. In Perfect Circle, a 100 year old Dutch sailing vessel, Noorderlicht, makes a 360º turn in an attempt to describe a perfect circle in the sea near to the Monacobreen Glacier.
  • Capturing stillness: Visualisations of Dance through Motion Capture Technologies (2010-2013): Capturing Stillness is an Arts and Humanities Research Council Creative Fellowship awarded to Gibson to undertake a three year research project examining avatar and environment design in relation to her dance and motion capture practice. This unique study focusses on the metaphoric imagery cited in Joan Skinner’s Releasing technique and how spontaneous movement data evoked through sensory imaginings can be captured and visualised - unearthed by the poetics in the pedagogy.
  • VISITOR (2011): VISITOR is inspired by travels to the snow-driven mountains of the Canadian Rockies, developed following research at the Banff Arts Centre - a Liminal Screen coproduction. 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 of the VISITOR project, 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.
  • SwanQuake:House (2008): Through re-purposing media tools and combining them with re-modeled householdobjects, SwanQuake: House simulates and reconfigures representations of an East-end underworld. Gibson / Martelli create a site-responsive work which taps into a sensorial flux where the real and virtual co-exist. SwanQuake: House received an Invention and Innovation Award from NESTA, The National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts and an Arts Council England award. SwanQuake: House tours with the Barbican in Watch Me Move: the Animation Show 2011 - present.
  • SwanQuake: The User Manual ( 2007): The User Manual opens the SwanQuake project up to discursive reflection and expansion through its selection of articles and essays. In the first section, the User Manual takes you through some of the processes of making SwanQuake including sound composition, choreography and computer animation work. Also in section one is a modicum of do-it-yourself instructions and two views on Gibson / Martelli’s work in relation to the wider field of digital arts practice and culture.
  • Summerbranch (2005-6): The Summerbranch exhibition is the result of a two month residency at the Artsway Gallery in the New Forest. Gibson / Martelli spent two months in camouflage to experience their woodland surroundings first hand. Using tools of the military entertainment complex such as game engines and motion 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 create an enchanting and at times ominous canopy of forest life. The Summerbranch virtual environment was exhibited at Palazzo Zenobia during the 52nd Venice Biennale.
  • Winterspace ( 2001): Winterspace is a large scale audio visual gallery installation and accompanying dance performance. Large screens carry images of computer generated snow which reacts to the presence of viewers, flurrying in response to their movement and falling in lesser or greater density depending on the speed at which they move through the work. The performance combines choreography with highly specialised optical and digital effects as the snow transforms itself into starlight. The audience is taken on a subtle journey through arctic and stellar landscapes where dancers appear and disappear amongst the snow flakes and stars in a seamless transition between real performance and virtual environment. The piece features a specially commissioned soundtracks for each event and continues to evolve as new elements of sound, image and movement are introduced to the work. Winterspace received an Arts Council National Touring Grant, Hoxton Hall Commission and was presented at the juried Monaco Danses Forum 2002, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
  • Viking Shoppers (1999): Viking Shoppers uses live performers to explore the body as a digital image. Building on ideas first explored in A Creature Very Like Us & Cuckoo (Arts Admin Bursary 1998), this work exploits telematic performance and motion tracking techniques to enable performers to discover relationships with their virtual, digital and spiritual selves through the use of real time ASCII cameras with interactive sequences of movement to explore the theme of dual identity. Combining sequences of film, dance, digital art and sound, this hybrid work is inspired by the physical and cultural landscapes of Iceland. Gibson/Martelli were awarded a Wingate Scholarship and a Lisa Ullmann Scholarship to travel to Iceland where they were introduced to members of Sigur Rós who's music forms the soundtrack of the work. Viking Shoppers received an Arts Council National Touring Grant and the final performance was held at Encontros ACARTE, Centre de Arte Moderne, Lisbon, Portugal two days after 9/11.
Research breakout image

Creative Fellow

Building: ICE Building
Gibsonmartelli
SwanQuake