Beverley Hood has spent the past fifteen years creating digital arts projects that interrogate the impact of the virtual on the body, relationships and human experience. She studied Sculpture and Electronic Imaging at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee and Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Canada. Beverley is currently Postgraduate Lecturer in the School of Design at Edinburgh College of Art.
‘glitching’ is an ambitious new digital installation and performance project commissioned for the Human Race exhibition, that attempts to re-describe the movement derived from characters in contemporary sports and action computer games.
As the gaming world grows ever more sophisticated and ubiquitous, the movements of characters become more and more ‘realistic’ and convincing, thanks to constant improvements in software and hardware. Often derived from the real (using motion capture and body scanning of professional sports players for example), gaming characters of the 21st century have an extraordinary embodiment, fluidity of movement and naturalness. However, there are always imperfections and glitches, and it is these imperfections that Beverley is interested in. Whether through unexpected programming errors or the users’ inability to control the characters in seamless game-play (resulting in bumping into walls, misfiring, etc.) there is still the potential for awkwardness between spells of perfection.
Beverley has focused on the artificial nature of these glitches by employing highly trained real bodies to re-stage them i.e. Tony Mills, a professional break-dancer with an extraordinary ability to interpret and create fluid, awkward and extreme movements. Beverley is interested in how real bodies cope with, and interpret into sequences of choreography, the limits of such foreign and unnatural movement. By taking the digital and transplanting it, re-interpreting it, embodying it within the physical body – literally re-enacting it – does it disintegrate, transform, and become something new? Does it add something to our vocabulary of movement/ physicality/ humanity?
In ‘glitching’ Beverley explores how this physically re-enacted choreography can be embedded and re-imaged within a ‘live’ digital environment, for an audience to interact with. Using the premise of home entertainment dance and training games (such as Just Dance, Zumba Fitness and Your Shape:Fitness Evolved), she has employed the motion-sensor controller, Microsoft Kinect, and large-screen display to create a digital installation for the public to interact with. The exhibition visitor is invited to step into the digital shoes of the ‘lead dancer’, and attempt to follow the awkward and intricate, glitch choreography performed by the dancing troupe on screen.
Alongside the Human Race exhibition there will be a series of ‘glitching’ live performances featuring the digital installation, dancers Tony Mills, Hannah Seignior, Felicity Beveridge, and a performance soundtrack devised by Martin Parker. These events will be advertised throughout the exhibition’s wider events programme.
‘glitching’ was created as an Artist’s Commission awarded by the Scotland & Medicine partnership. Additional funding was provided by a Visual Artist’s Award from Creative Scotland and a Research Award from Edinburgh College of Art.
Artist – Beverley Hood
Choreographer/Dancer – Tony Mills
Dancers – Hannah Seignior and Felicity Beveridge
Installation soundtrack – “Video Computer System” by Golden Shower
Composer (performance soundtrack) – Martin Parker
Kinect and Unity Programming – Hemal Bodasing Motion
Capture and 3D Assistance – Chris Davies