XR Technology Team Serves 2023 Taubman Artist-in-Residence

A London-based team specializing in extended reality technologies will partner with the UM Arts Initiative to become the 2023 Artist-in-Residence at the A. Alfred Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Bruno Martelli and Ruth Gibson, commonly referred to as Gibson/Martelli, will begin this semester working closely with Taubman faculty and students on XR technology through development work, workshops and student projects.

Taubman Visualization Laboratory Artist Residency combines artistic practice, broad research methods, and an openness to experiment and explore possibilities within the context of a research university.

In pursuit of new modes of storytelling, design research and hybrid automation processes, the residency program, known as TVLab, runs a series of tested and yet-to-be-discovered applications of breakthrough visualization tools on the North Campus.

A. Alfred Taubman Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning's photo of people in the Television Lab.
TVLab is the virtual, augmented and mixed reality space of the A. Alfred Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning.
(Photo courtesy of Taubman College)

Gibson/Martelli collaborate to develop interactive immersive installation exploring perception, embodiment and presence in XR. Martelli is a programmer, software designer, and visual artist for virtual environments. Gibson is a choreographer and movement scholar.

Combined, these artists have over 20 years of experience in technical and interdisciplinary research in national and international higher education and industry sectors. Both graduated from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, with joint PhD degrees in the field of immersion and kinematics.

Gibson/Martelli’s proposed research agenda will explore virtual reality experiences, multi-screen video installations, creating immersive worlds, and developing open source tools in the first year of the TVLab.

The duo will use their internship at Taubman to continue to develop their skills and their latest project, “PAN + TILT.” They will focus on:

  • Incorporate live performance into the experience so users can animate characters in real time.
  • Develop characters and scenarios for the project.
  • Examine the thoughts of players, performers, and visitors, deploying machine learning and live simulations to create immersive virtual reality.

The couple will also open up about their R&D process and invite students to join them, creating a unique scenario for UM students to implement virtual reality or XR R&D in the classroom.

“We are excited to work with the talented, creative and expert Gibson/Martelli pair to leverage UM resources – in this case the newly launched TVLab – to our students in a way only an artist can impact on campus and campuses,” said Christopher Audain, Arts Initiative managing director. “We’re eager to see what we’ve learned working with the artists and the Taubman Institute.”

The TVLab Artist-in-Residence program is a pilot project of the UM Arts Initiative’s Visiting Artist Integration Program, a visiting artist program designed to integrate the creative vision and dynamic thinking of artists into the engagement and learning process at UM.

This project is just one example of how the Arts Initiative works with emerging and established artists to create a mutually beneficial exchange between artists and universities to enhance learning, support artists and drive discovery.

“The extended reality platform is an increasingly important space-making and spatial visualization framework that has long been at the heart of architecture and planning,” said Jonathan Massey, Dean of the Taubman College. of students, faculty and staff find new creative possibilities in XR.”

Anya Sirota, Associate Dean for Academic Initiatives and Associate Professor of Architecture at the Taubman School, said, “We are delighted that Arts Initiative has recognized the Taubman School for its leadership in experimental models of spatial visualization and has chosen us as collaborators to launch this residency.

“We established TVLab to showcase the myriad contributions our faculty and students have already made in the field of spatial visualization, to foster new pedagogical and professional experimentation, and to make emerging tools accessible and enjoyable.

“The artist-in-residence will bring another fresh perspective to the space and will benefit from a fertile ground for engagement with the Taubman Institute and the wider university community on the future of art and visualization in public discourse.”

TVLab is aligned with the University of Michigan’s XR program through the Center for Academic Innovation.


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