STAGING SUBJECTIVITY is a three year production project investigating immersive visuals, live performance and interdisciplinary research into presence. Starting in January 2011, this work has been supported by Brighton and Hove City Council, Arts Council England and Performing Arts Lab.

Artist’s statement:

Ten years ago, I fell down a ravine in Ecuador and broke three vertebrae: as I fell I had a powerful feeling that the experience “was just a dream” and on landing my body seemed far below me. Since then, my work has examined how we model and locate our lived experience. My intention always being to expose notions of presence, identity, agency and embodiment as intrinsically plastic and highly flexible.

My collaboration with scientists at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science seeks to bring together phenomenology and the brain sciences with my creative animation practice, to build hybrid performances and installations that investigate issues around presence, immersive environments and the body. With particular reference to the design of the eighteenth century Phantasmagoria, a form of immersive theatre that combined the magic lantern with stagecraft to conjure the feeling of impossible presences, the STAGING SUBJECTIVITY projects use the visual technologies of the 21st century to interrogate the deeply subjective and personal “feeling” of reality.

2011's work explored virtual reality and multi-sensory performance, culminating in a performance project, NO PLACE, commissioned by the White NIght Festival. Further project development through 2012 explores augmented reality, large-scale projection environments, biofeedback technology and a variety of motion tracking devices, from the Kinect to wearable vests. Work in progress has been shown at Brunel's Konnecting Gestures Forum and the pulse sensor installation, Impulse, was displayed at the Brighton Dome during the ASSC16, the international conference of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. The last project of the residency, Gather, started on in January 2013 in collaboration with artist David Montgomery during SCANZ 2013 in New Zealand is due for exhibition in June.

This extended Chroma Collective project aims to use immersive animation, binaural audio and movement work within structured, narrative experiences to explore the following:

•The plasticity of subjective perception with particular reference to the relationship of the body and the environment (how immersed participants navigate changes in scale, season, time – with particular reference to optical illusions)
•Emotional and visceral bodily reactions to immersive visuals (fear, vertigo, excitement, relaxation)

•Realtime exploration of virtual environments using Kinect sensors with the Unity 3D games engine

•Bio feedback from bodily reactions into the performance itself to explore new possibilities for embodiment (real-time heartbeat heard through headphones, EEG signals fed back to effect the visual elements of the virtual world)

•Social experiences of immersive media and ethical and behavioral implications of this contemporary phenomenon

•Out of body experiences and metamorphosis (exploring feelings of being outside your physical body, ʻbody swappingʼ, and impossible experiences such as flight)

•The active role that imagination plays in visual and auditory perception (to be explored by combining specific audio whilst shifting between stylistically different environments: both figurative and abstract.)

Recent Papers & Presentations

Remote Encounters (Paper presentation: Staging Subjectivity: Neuroscience, Embodiment and the virtual) Cardiff, UK. April 2013

SCANZ 2013 (Paper presentation: Paper: Latent Dimensions: Neuroscience, Embodiment and the environment) New Plymouth, New Zealand. Feburary 2013

Movement and Meaning Symposium (Invited Speaker)
Performance and Arts Lab, UK. Oct 2012

CEP 2012: Neurophenomenology (Poster presentation: Staging Subjectivity) Bristol University, UK. Sep 2012

Art and the Scientific Study of Consciousness (Panel Speaker and Curator) ASSC Expo, Brighton Corn Exchange, UK. June 2012

Round table session: Critical Performance Technologies (Speaker) Konnecting Gestures, Brunel University, UK. March 2012

Staging Illusion (Speaker presenting paper: Give Me Your Hand: Staging the Illusion of the Self) Sussex University, UK. December 2011

Cinematic Cities Panel Discussion (Producer / Chair)
Cinecity: Brighton Film Festival, UK. Nov 2011

Pecha Kucha (Speaker) Brighton Digital Festival, UK. Sept 2011

Virtual Futures (Speaker presenting paper Presence, Performance and the Virtual)
Warwick University, UK. June 2011

Residencies & Workshops during this period

Artist Residency at SCANZ 2013, New Zealand. Jan - Feb 2013

C H R Θ M A Residency at Blast Theory, UK, October - November 2012

Artist in Residence at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Funded by Arts Council England and Performance Arts Labs, 2012 - 2013

DACS Open: Post-digital
Invited participant at a series of experimental workshops organised by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS), Jan - April 2012

Act Otherwise: A harbourside meeting of ingenious minds - Invited participant and speaker as part of PARN (Physical and Alternate Reality Narratives) an EU Culture Fund Project, March 2012

Visiting Artist, Embassy Court
Funded by Bluestorm Ltd. and Brighton and Hove City Council. 2011

Video Vortex Summer Workshop, Island of Vis, Croatia
Erasmus-funded, August 2011

Laboratory Life Art Science Collaboration, Lighthouse, Brighton
Funded by The Arts Catalyst and The Wellcome Trust, Feb- March 2011