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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.
Concept and execution: Gibson / Martelli
Soundtrack: David Jensenius
Special Thanks to Nic Nell
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