Biography Details

Data Golem Lab, University of Portsmouth, 27 – 31 July 2009-07-27
Participants – Biographies

Jacqui Banks was born in New Zealand and raised in North Wales I am a Welsh speaker aged 23. I trained as an Actor at Bretton Hall near Leeds. During my time there I specialized in two main areas ‘Modernism & Post Modernism’ and ‘Physical Theatre’, and became increasingly interested in Sensory Theatre. I got involved with a company called Cynefin ( who produce ‘Sensory Labyrinth Theatre with youth and community groups: what is Sensory Labyrinth Theatre I hear you cry?! ‘We make a kind of theatre which employs all the senses and which is performed in purpose built labyrinths with and for communities.

We create labyrinths either as instillations in large rooms from wire, scaffolding and black cloth or we create them in the landscape and perform at night.

Our performances provide audiences and communities with an opportunity to step out of time and enter a 'being' 
instead of a 'doing' mode’

Anyway I worked with them for a couple of years and still do on and off. My main job now though is as a community arts officer at a little theatre on the west coast of Wales where I have recently (only 2 days ago actually) finished a project involving 300 kids from 6 secondary schools where we created an outdoor spectacle that used The Mabinogion (ancient welsh legends) as a starting point for the work which included many different genres: digital projections, circus, drama, ballet, other dance forms, puppetry and pageantry…
I also have a keen interest in farming and beekeeping…

Simon Blackmore (born in 1976, UK; lives in Manchester) makes performative sculptures and installations using sound and custom-made technology. Since gaining a First Class Honours degree in Sculpture at The University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (1999), and an MA in Creative Technology at Salford University in 2001, he has received commissions and exhibitions from galleries throughout the UK and was nominated for the Beck’s Futures Prize in 2006 and undertook the Berwick Gymnasium Fellowship in 2009. He also creates and performs experimental music internationally as part of the Owl Project collective.

f.a.b. – The Detonators (Tiago Gambogi & Margaret Swallow) are award winning charismatic star performers Brazilian Tiago Gambogi and English Margaret Swallow. f.a.b. became one of the brightest contemporary dance / physical theatre companies to emerge in the UK on their return to the country in 2001. Since that time they have established themselves as a dynamic, mature company producing work of vision and humour.

Offering an engaging and dynamic blend of dance, theatre, design and music with a liberal helping of humour, the company is leaving an ever growing trail of thrilled and delighted audiences in their wake with previous productions that include ‘Carrot King’ (1999), directed by Mark Phoenix; ‘My Generation – infância caleidoscópica’ (2001), directed by the company; ‘Made in Brasil’ (2005), directed by Nigel Charnock. “…Stimulating…inventive…to the point…” (Venue Magazine, on ‘Made in Brasil’); and their latest work ‘Extraordinary’ (2008) “Hugely enjoyable, highly entertaining, laugh-out-loud dance theatre!” 4 stars from Venue Magazine. Ffi:

Already renowned for their energetic, passionate performances and their intimate approach to theatre, f.a.b. – The Detonators share their flights of imagination and their unique reflections on society with a contemporary theatrical audience. Using a wide variety of techniques, including improvisation, Grotowsky’s physical actions principles, clowning, they create a theatrical extravaganza - a distinctive, vigorous mix of dance, movement, text and music.

Aside from their live performance work they have been involved in dance for camera work, both as directors and performers. This has included working with Lizzie Sykes and her “BallCam”, a uniquely designed camera embedded in a foam ball (the ballcam) to produce these works. The ballcam enabled the dancers to become both filmmaker and choreographer as they held the camera while they performed. Angry Rambler and Unfairground Ride come from 11 short clips that have been shown as single screen pieces and as installation nationally and internationally.

About the Performers/Choreographers:

Tiago Gambogi is a passionate and enthusiastic maverick Brazilian star performer. He is Co-Artistic Director of Physical Theatre company f.a.b. - The Detonators, formed in 1999 with Margaret Swallow.

Spent his formative years in a crèche with four monkeys and a giraffe. He has had trainings across the globe in China, USA, Spain and new Zealand. A ‘total performer’, he worked in Brasil with legendary Group Oficcina Multimédia, under the direction of Master Ione de Medeiros. In 1996, he fled to London to see the Queen, to find himself and also to receive a full scholarship from Laban Centre for one year. Since that time his voracious appetite for the arts and for life gifted him with amazing collaborators, choreographers in the UK such as: Nigel Charnock, Earthfall, Gail Sneddon, Institute for Crazy Dancing, New Theatre Works, Fionnbarr Productions, Lisa May Thomas, Marie-Louise Flexen; as well as Cesar Volpe (Brasil), Paulo Ribeiro (Portugal), Jan Benes (Czech Republic).

Amongst his extraordinary achievements, Tiago has: made his first full evening solo show at the age of 22, nearly drowned as a cowboy on the River Wye, performed on Brasilian TV, played Adam in a film screened on Channel 4, was a Prince and danced under a train bridge, jumped in a lake in Belo Horizonte's (his hometown) central park in his underpants for a photo shoot, has been awarded the 'Top Banana Award - Category Dance' for three consecutive years (2006-07-08) from VENUE Magazine, made people smile, laugh, cry, danced with a carrot up his bum and has finally found simplicity in his heart and dancing. He lives in Bath with his wife Maggi and works worldwide. He hopes to be the first Brasilian to win an Oscar. For more information:

For those who like to know these things, Margaret Swallow was born in international waters as her parents returned, via ship, from South Africa. She therefore has true international status and free passage for life on a rusty ship! Margaret originally trained in 3D design in the UK (which she says “is like dance, but just happens to be very still!”) before going on to live and work in San Francisco. On her return to the UK she undertook contemporary dance training at the Laban Centre in London. There she met Tiago Gambogi with whom she founded the physical theatre company f.a.b. – The Detonators. Whilst in London she continued her theatre training - in devised theatre, theatre improvisation, physical theatre and singing.

She has directed and performed in several different projects, including her dance theatre piece Unfit for Habitation (Prague, 1999), which opened the Prague Dance Festival in March 2009. After this successful piece she moved once more, this time to Brazil, where she lived and worked for two years. She worked first as a dancer for Cesar Volpe and Tiago Gambogi and, after this, with Tiago in their first duet “My Generation – infância caleidoscópica”.

In 2003 she made her first dance for camera work Would You Adam and Eve It! and her work in this field is ongoing. Her most recent pieces for camera include Three In A Boat (UK 2007), Felicidade (Happiness) and Ahhh – Very Maria! (Brasil 2008).

Jeannie Driver works on innovative and challenging projects that directly engage with audiences, creating interventions and interactions where audience are renegotiated to participants or collaborators of the work. Projects collectively explore common situations and experiences.

Through this socially engaged practice Jeannie’s practice manifests her involvement in different roles including author, motivator, activist, documenter, collaborator and facilitator, testing the role of the artist, and questioning traditional boundaries between artist and audience.

Projects utilise a range of media and methodology including creating tools and frameworks for engagement and involvement, creating spaces for exchange and dialogue.

Jeannie’s practice evolves through a mix of residencies, public art projects, exhibitions and commissions. Her freelance portfolio career involves working within both the arts and public sectors in a variety of roles including artist, consultant, project management, visiting university lecturer. ‘Creative Champion’ for CIBAS, Portsmouth. and

Simone Gumtau, Senior Lecturer, MA Design for Digital Media (Joint Course Leader), University of Portsmouth
Simone is a Communication Designer with an emphasis on interactive media design. Her projects often revolve around the human experience: incorporating social, emotional, cultural approaches to aesthetic and technological concerns. Perceptual and embodied factors in interaction design have been a particular emphasis. She has been involved in Art & Design research, thematically located in the Responsive Environments/New Media Research Centre, at the University of Portsmouth, in several positions from bursary-funded PhD student to Research Associate since 2002. She has been lecturing History and Theory of Visual Culture since 2005 and has recently been appointed joint Course Leader for the MA Design for Digital Media. Previous to her university career, Simone was a first generation, auto-didactic web designer, swept up by the dot-com bubble and explosion of the www in the media capital of Germany, Hamburg in the mid-nineties.

Research interests
Moved towards themes of critically engaging with the screen and computer interfaces, which then led to a research position developing tactile interfaces for a multi-sensory environment for children with autism (MEDIATE), and subsequently onto her PhD investigating the potential of touch for Human-computer interaction and computer mediated communication. Recently investigating ways of using narrative to facilitate sensemaking and articulation of tacit knowledge, and looking at metaphors as having a bodily foundation.

Steven Lewis worked for over 5 years in film production as both cameraman and studio manager before going back to college to study fine art at Oxford Brookes University and Chelsea College of Art. He has walked the streets of Gotham City, filmed David Blaine in his glass box punctuating the boredom through interviews with Pamela Anderson and Dan Aykroyd, and spent time on Alien3’s spaceships. He studied for a further MA in Video Production and Editing in 2001 and has worked as a freelance film-maker and community media project facilitator for the last 8 years.

Alain Renaud is originally from Switzerland. After several years working as a sound engineer and music industry consultant, he embarked on a PhD. in network music performance at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen's University Belfast in 2005, to be completed in 2009. Alain was appointed as a lecturer at Bournemouth University in the southwest of England in November 2008.

His research focuses on the development of networked music performance systems with an emphasis on the creation of strategies to interact over a network musically and the notion of shared networked acoustic spaces. He performs regularly over the network with the NetVs.Net collective <> and has presented his research in various places, such as the Banff Center for the Art, The Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, where he was a visiting scholar in 2007 and various conferences, including New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) and the Audio Engineering Society (AES). He is also involved as an advisor and consultant in the EC network performance project, CoMeDia <>

Alain has been invited as an artist in residence at the Banff Center for the Arts in August 2009 and recently co-curated a large network music concert from Stanford University which included five physical sites and an internet presence, dubbed by some as being the largest ever concert hall worldwide. He is to co-direct the upcoming Sounding Out International conference at Bournemouth University in 2010. In his spare time, he has been producing music for the Montreux Jazz Festival
( <> ) since 1997.

SCAN is an agency developing media arts in the South of England directed by Helen Sloan. It works in partnership with a broad range of individuals, groups and institutions nationally and internationally to commission innovative projects that cross and merge disciplines drawn from arts, media, humanities, science and technology. SCAN explores ideas, sites and tools showing the creative potential that media arts offer in our changing society.

Launched in 2004, SCAN has worked all over the country and internationally in partnership with organisations to deliver innovative new projects and initiatives that develop creative technology, interdisciplinary practice and new models of working. SCAN supports artists on a 3 year rolling programme and its work with artists focuses on supporting research and process as well as outputs.

SCAN has worked with Universities such as Goldsmiths, University of Wales, University of Creative Arts, UAL and is currently hosted by the prestigious Media School at Bournemouth University. This work has been combined with the delivery of projects in arts organisations, museum contexts and working with organisations in other aspects of the public realm such as Arts Catalyst, John Hansard Gallery, Venice Biennale, Science Museum, ArtSway and ICA. Artists supported include Simon Hollington and Kypros Kyprianou, Tina Gonsalves, Steve Symons, Jeannie Driver and Igloo.

Helen Sloan has been Director of SCAN since 2003 and has worked as a curator of digital and interdisciplinary arts since late 1980s. Sloan first commissioned Elliott and Jones Morris to begin the i= series when she was Exhibitions Programmer at Camerawork in 1995. While the technology in terms of machine vision and interaction has developed rapidly in that time, Elliot and Jones Morris are among the very small number of artists who have demonstrated a vision for how these processes can be used in a creative context. It is appropriate that they update and revisit this work in 2009 in the light of developments in internet, enhanced interactive and responsive systems and the relationship of these with DataGolem’s highly innovative conceptual model of practice and software development.

Tessa Elliott and Jonathan Jones-Morris are co-founders of SURGERY-Digital Art Research (SURGERYDAR) which specialises in development and production of experimental installation and performance for both the commercial and art sectors. Utilising the techniques of machine vision, gestural interface and neural networks SURGERY installations are in the permanent collections of, amongst others, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; Science Museum, London; Horus, Moscow, Russia.

In 1995 Elliott, Jones-Morris were commissioned to produce a radical collaborative installation for Camerawork, London - entitled ‘ for (i = 0001; i <= 1001; i++); ’. Over a period of a month eight workshops enabled diverse groups of participants, ranging from school children to architects, to input images, sounds and reactive structures into the installations. The residency culminated with a performance by dancer Rebecca Skelton utilising reactive and interactive motion capture and image generation, pattern recognition and perspectival invertion. This work resulted in the encoding of Andrew Deakin’s compositional technique and the real-time filtering and mixing of sound which were entirely dependent on the dancer’s movement on stage. The dancer/choreographer rehearsed and performed with neural network pattern recognition system in performances at Sadler’s Wells- London, Split Screen - Chichester and - Leeds.

A further performance system was developed, from the installation ‘Periodyssey’ at Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, in which sound objects and the utilisation of granular synthesis, would allow gestural movements within the installation, to evoke sounds through a flame algorithm and orchestrate their distribution through 8 channels of sound. The pre-recorded digitised signature ‘release movements’ of Rebecca Skelton, resulted in ‘Odyssey’ premiered at Digital Dancing, The Place, London in which dancer/choreographer performed with her own pre-configured, re-configured self.

Tessa Elliott and Jonathan Jones-Morris are currently running a series of digital workshops in North Wales whose output will feed into large scale projections and interactive scenarios for a 400 cast production of the MABINOGION with Theatr Harlech in Harlech Castle, July 2009.

Olu Taiwo - dancer/choregrapher. Founder member and principal performer of Imule Theatre Co- Romeo and Juliet and the Covenant performed at the Cardiff Litrature Festival, Edinburgh, Glastonbury and Bath international Festival. Acted part of gang leader in the film Welcome to the Terrordome (1994). As choreographer/dancer has created works Waiting for a Train, Idanere and Dodecahedron. Dodecahedron was inspired by themes of interaction, sound, space rhythm, urban, life, relationships, self and group, with a view to presenting emotional truth on stage. One of his main choreographic concerns is performance within an interactive audio, visual and sensory environment raising issues concerned with the body and technology. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at University of Winchester and has worked extensively in collaboration with artists such as Lizzie Sykes.

Jo Tyler’s interest in sound and the use of sound, specifically in the medium of radio developed from an interest in live music and theatre production. Following a period working in these environments I went on to explore radio and worked in community radio at its inauguration at Sound FM in London then for the BBC at GLR 94.9FM. I went on to develop my career in Radio at the BBC (Radios 1 & 2, BBC LDN), eventually being employed as a development producer for BBC 6 Music, launched in March 2002. Having spent 12 years with the BBC, it seemed an opportune moment in 2004 to explore my other interests and I completed an MA in Radio Production and Management at Sunderland University in 2006. I was involved with community radio (Utopia FM) and continue to developing new radio initiatives within this sector. This led to me revisiting experimental production and narrative; also the use of radio within communities; investigating oral history and broadcast as event. I work in collaboration with artists to produce installations using these directives and concepts.
Currently I am a lecturer in Radio Production at Bournemouth University on both BA and MA Radio Production courses.
In tandem with production work, my research interests include the sonic narrative in radio production, the transposition of broadcast in a gallery or installation context and audio mapping. I am currently working with multi media producer Tim Wright on the Blake Walks and a linear production based on mental health.

Adam Vanner is an animator and programmer working within the visual arts, in particular 3D modelling, animation, rendering, scripting, real-time graphics, and motion capture. Previous work includes collaborations with artist Susan Sloan:
• Three Way Conversation, 2002- Maya MEL scripts were used to animate squares which received projected video from multiple viewpoints, rendered using a custom rendering script.
• Mel As Me, 2004- enabled by real-time rendering system showing moving 3D scanned and motion-captured figure, following generated motion pattern.
• Space 50, 2006- multiple animated sequences of spaceman, performing an integral part of the touring play Space 50 by Nikki McKretton and Guy Dartnel.
• Second Live, 2007- online game environment furnished with motion captured dance sequences
Other work:
• Digital Beijing Opera, 2006- pilot of project to capture 1000 characters from Beijing Opera- motion capture, animation and rendering of performer in Beijing Opera
• Captive, 2005– lead on the development of large scale 3D motion capture software still in development. Includes recording, filtering and mapping of motion capture to 3D characters
• HDRahhh, 2008- software which controls a SLR camera and motorised tripod using an Arduino board to allow 360x180 degree panoramic and HDRI images to be quickly and accurately captured.

Wanda Zyborska works in a wide variety of media, mainly in 3D and often drawing on textile methods to construct her work. She uses performances, both in real time and digitally recorded, and collaborates with artists, musicians and poets. Zyborska’s career includes international solo and group exhibitions and residencies, curatorial projects and authored texts. In 2006 she received a major award from the Arts Council of Wales to aid in production and developing links with eastern European countries, including Macedonia, Bulgaria, Austria and Armenia.

Zyborska‘s sculptural and written works relate to a theoretical context of the body and identity situated in the politics of place, and gender. ‘Her practice functions on the interface between sculpture and performance: both the making and installing are documented to form intrinsic parts of not only her practice, but also the piece of work as a whole. ‘ Jac Scott, Textile Perspectives in Mixed-Media Sculpture, Crowood Press 2003

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