80ºN is a practice-research project presented as an installation in three parts: In Search of Abandoned (Virtual Reality), Perfect Circle (film), and Kvitøya, White Island (Virtual Reality).
The 80º North parallel is the line of latitude where the Polar region begins. The trilogy considers this navigational concept centring on physical modes of interaction in virtual Arctic exploration.
Rope and yacht wheel interfaces invite audiences to explore desolate frozen landscapes. The experience is unique to each person as they shift panoramic gaze into somatic sensation. A movement dialogue ensues between the user/audience, the haptics and the glacial worlds. The choreography considers wayfaring and ways to signal perception foregrounding inertia, coordination and proprioception.
Research aims:1. Integrate the principles of Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT) in haptic interface design to transmit a sense of weight, buoyancy and balance.2. Increase audience engagement through physical interaction in computer game engine environments.3. Examine how immersive technologies can heighten the audience experience of the Arctic.
Utilising typical computer game development paradigms the research draws on cognitive neuroscientist Alain Berthoz’s notions of perception and action ‘go where you are looking’ and philosopher Laurie McRobert’s ‘suspension and consciousness’. Virtual Reality gives depth perception and embodied response as audiences can be immersed in, observe and traverse the arctic from a first-person perspective. Choreographic attention encourages audience agency and discovery developing experiential states of an embodiment of being in two places at once. Somatic principles are adapted from postmodern dance pioneers’, Halprin’s ‘exploration’ and Skinners’ ‘cultivating kinaesthetic awarenesses’.From an informed dance perspective, the work builds on the legacy of artists Jeffrey Shaw and Char Davies, allowing the visitor to connect to a physical world whilst exploring a virtual one. Immersive reflections add to audience bodily response and understandings of interactive spaces.