StudioLab for Embodied Media
As a research hub within Arts University Plymouth, StudioLab unites the disciplines of art, biology, digital design, network ecology, neuroscience, haptics and bioinformatics to better understand the relationship between sensory data, emotion and corporeality in the context of digital culture.
Player of Cosmic ༄ؘ ° Realms (2022) The Life Game - Beta Bodies - Image provided by Keiken
The StudioLab for Embodied Media was founded in 2020 by Stephanie Owens, Dean of Arts, Design & Media at Arts University Plymouth, to gather a multidisciplinary team of artists, designers and researchers to collectively approach the integration of biological and computational systems in a more sustainable and ethical way.
Through strategic reimagining and playful interrogation of the aesthetic boundary between knowing and being, the StudioLab aims to produce new research as well as capture the knowledge gained through projects developed with external partners and institutions in undergraduate students’ second and third years of study.
As a knowledge resource for research and learning, the StudioLab will provide case studies, technical blueprints, code templates and intellectual mentorship related to the development of prototypes and dissertations aligned with contemporary notions of embodied experience in the context of technology. It also facilitates relationships between students at different study levels or in different degree courses with shared interests and compatible practical skills, to work together on complex projects through cross-University collaborations.
The StudioLab for Embodied Media exists alongside Arts University Plymouth’s range of undergraduate, postgraduate and Pre-Degree qualifications, offering bespoke support and mentoring to students and academics who choose to align their research interests, dissertations and creative projects to the concepts of immersive, embodied media. Future stages of development for the StudioLab include embedding its concepts more fully into the teaching curriculum, as well as fundraising to create an incubator space for immersive and augmented designs and service in the south west of England.
StudioLab plans for developing an incubator include running an Artist Fellow Programme + StudioLab Research Group in 2021, running an Art + Research Knowledge Exchange platform from 2022-23, and in 2024 establishing an AUP incubator and studio for wearable and embodied immersive media.
The first Artist Fellow for Arts University Plymouth’s StudioLab for Embodied Media was Simon Russell in 2021. Simon is a freelance motion graphic designer specialising in sound reactive design and projection mapping. His career to date has spanned collaborations with artists including Shawn Mendes, Elton John and U2, as well as film and television projects that include His Dark Materials, James Bond and Black Mirror.
The StudioLab for Embodied Media commissioned Simon as an Artist Fellow to create ‘Hello World’, an original audio-visual experience to showcase the potential of the 360-degree, 15m immersive dome at its launch in the Real Ideas Market Hall in Devonport, Plymouth. ‘Hello World’ was created with Arts University Plymouth Lecturer and sonic artist Neil Rose and BA (Hons) Animation & Games graduate Sam Grotzke.
The second Artist Fellow commissioned by the StudioLab for Embodied Media was Keiken, the artist collective co-founded by Isabel Ramos, Hana Omori and Tanya Cruz, named after the Japanese word for experience. The lived experience is an idea at the core of Keiken’s practice, which created a natural synergy with the work of the StudioLab for Embodied Media. They were commissioned to find new ways of working with Arts University Plymouth’s Microsoft HoloLens equipment, in an experience that’s planned to launch in December 2022 at GROW DIY Experiments in Plymouth’s cultural quarter.
Keiken are a winner of the Chanel Next Prize and are collaboratively building and imagining a Metaverse to simulate new structures and ways of existing and to test-drive possible futures, alongside creating speculative worlds through filmmaking, gaming, installation, Extended Reality (XR), blockchain and performance.
Keiken - Isabel Ramos, HanaOmori and TanyaCruz- Photo by Callum Leo Hughes (2022)