Derby Quad, a large gallery and arts complex, invited me to be the digital and participatory artist-in-residence (effectively two related residencies), beginning in the spring of 2018 and working towards exhibiting in their ‘Extra Gallery Spaces’ as part of the VR season running from autumn 2018-Feb 2019.

I used the residency to develop my work on several levels:

    • Participatory work with vulnerable groups is a new area for me. A dance/tech workshop with patients at NHS Derby was a major part of this residency. I collaborated with dancer Rosa Cisneros on this.
    • I experimented with 360 filming for the first time, a technical development opportunity I wouldn’t have had, were it not for this funding.
    • The ‘diffused box’ presentation I had experimented with in the mermaid work earlier this year really came into its own. This is the first time I’ve made work specifically to be shown this way.
    • This expands on the dance-in-water video techniques I started developing with for the Lowry exhibition two years ago. I was able to work with two new dancers and a new dance org, Déda.

The work exhibited in Quad is a combination of Raspberry Pi, LED matrices and gifs from real dance film, and builds on techniques I’ve been developing for a few years. The 360 work and workshop are new to me. They constitute essential parts of the research.

The piece is about the value of ‘in-between places’ in a polarised world. For me, it’s a major theoretical step forward, crystallising some feelings I’ve had around the body as a mediator, technology as peripheral, and how our relationship with digital might be usefully inverted to restore it to joyful mystery and remove us from the centre of every technological story.

The accompanying essay I’ve created outlines some of this, bringing in some thoughts about VR and AI. I’ve been lucky enough to complete four funded projects about AI in the last 1.5 years, so have had many opportunities to think about it!

I’m really enjoying working in water these days, too. I think I’m finding it to be a great way of keeping human bodies feeling, well, safe. It slows you down and stops you having to make a decision yet.

You can download my essay here.