Ruth Gibson (Artist), Bruno Martelli (Artist)

    Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchExhibition


    ExxWhy Zee is an Augmented Reality Installation on the ground-floor of the XYZ works in Manchester's, Spinningfields. Vibrant vinyl prints cover the walls of the foyer, staircase and walkways of the building and a unique App reveals a holographic dance.

    The research aim and challenge was to create a dynamic installation reflecting the architecture of the building and the everyday movement of the tech workers within it. The artists Gibson/Martelli used the Cartesian co-ordinates that the building is named after (their title and spelling of it phonetically as ExxWhyZee) to design three main works.

    How to create movement from a static image?
    How to bring the walls to life, mirroring activity of the working day?
    How to create an installation that reflects the movement of the workers within it?

    XYZ building in Spinningfields is a lively tech startup co-working hub that has a three-storey atrium bridged from the street level entrance into the reception area. To identify what causes the flow of movement, the artists went on-site to explore. Working with the three central Cartesian axis that orientate the building and thematically link the project, the artists motion-captured pedestrian movement. Using an inertial, wireless, 3D motion tracking technology system (Xsens) a set of travelling sequences captured each axis, up-down (staircase), left-right (across the bridge), backwards- forwards (in and out of the foyer). Examining what happened in each direction, they could calculate the course.

    Gibson, a trained dancer and choreographer, wanted to take her movement beyond the print and incorporate XYZ occupants. When the three-storey-high prints are activated by the artists custom augmented reality app Gibson's avatars appear as animated polygonal figures. Close attention paid to scale and position of the augmented figures helps make them appear to inhabit the space, a tricky technical challenge that required building physical scale models to test.

    The dancing phrases and dramatic artwork lend excitement to the building, embodying memories and the hustle and bustle of working life.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2017


    • Installation
    • Architecture
    • site-specific
    • Site-responsive
    • Motion capture
    • Motion tracking
    • Avatars
    • CGI


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