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Exploring embodied human interaction in the virtual world

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The experience is part movement/dance video game, part technological demo, part art installation, and part social experiment Paul Blakemore

Press release issued: 6 May 2016

Members of the public will have the opportunity to ‘become’ embodied energy fields within a virtual landscape as part of an interactive research residency by University of Bristol graduate student, Lisa May Thomas at the Arnolfini’s Dark Studio next week [Tuesday 10 – Friday 13 May].

The experience is part movement/dance video game, part technological demo, part art installation, and part social experiment.

Lisa May, who is currently undertaking a MPhil in Theatre and Performance at Bristol’s Department of Theatre, aims to explore the different types of human interaction that arise within spaces which are virtually connected.

She said: “The way that we perceive and interact with other physical bodies is influenced by a complex set of rules and conventions that operate across a wide range of social circumstances situated within political, cultural, and environmental frameworks.

“The aim of my research residency at the Arnolfini is to refocus attention from the physical body to the virtual body.  In so doing, I plan to investigate and raise questions regarding the rules and conventions to which we are accustomed.”

This research will build on algorithms and embodied aesthetic representations developed by Royal Society Research Fellow Dr David Glowacki of Bristol’s School of Chemistry using technology that was recently described in an article featured on the cover of the April issue of Leonardo,  (MIT Press), the leading international peer-reviewed journal on the use of contemporary science and technology in the arts and music.

On Wednesday 10 and Friday 13 May, the space will be set-up for an interactive experience which will be available to one or two participants at one time, and will last for up to ten minutes.

On Thursday 11 May, the technology will be set-up from 12 noon to 1pm for anybody to come in and play with the system or chat with Lisa about her research.  Larger groups are welcome during this time.

As part of the research, participants will have the opportunity to carry out a short recorded Q&A with Lisa.

Embodied Dances with Virtual Avatars takes places in the Dark Studio, Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 May.  The event is free and all ages are welcome.

Booking via email: Alternatively, participants can sign up at the door on the day.

Further information

Lisa May’s degree is partially funded through an award from Interactive Scientific as their first ever ‘hybrid arts scholar’.

This research builds on previous projects Lisa has undertaken, including The Touch Diaries, an intergenerational, participatory project examining physical touch and human connection, as well as the dance performance project Hidden Fields.

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