Installation view as part of you feel me_ at FACT, Liverpool, 2019.  Photo: Rob Battersby.

This project engages painting, digital animation and virtual reality to explore ideas of worldbuilding, embodied perception and technologies of representation.

Central to the project is META, an experimental 360-degree animation.  As the viewer is transported between environments – from an unknown planet to a restaurant orbiting in space and beyond – we inhabit the bodies of different human and non-human characters in the narrative.

︎  See the Warm Worlds and Otherwise publication ︎

Equirectangular stills from META, 360-degree video with sound by Aliyah Hussain, 15 minutes, 2019

In exhibition, four specially designed viewing stations present META on a series of modified Oculus Go headsets.  These interactive painting objects make the SF-inspired images of technology from the animated storyworld manifest in the space of the gallery.  

Installation views at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, 2018.  Photos: Wilf Speller

Warm Worlds and Otherwise draws inspiration from a wide range of fictional and non-fictional sources, not least the collection of short stories by James Tiptree Jr. from which the project takes its title. 

META remixes imagery from the writing of theorists Luce Irigaray and Jakob von Uexküll, the work of painters Maria Lassnig and Maria Sibylla Merian, and SF texts such as Naomi Mitchison's Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) and Aliette de Bodard's 'Immersion' (2012); while “Well-come World Travellor!” reimagines a scene from Joanna Russ’s ‘Bodies’ (1984).  

“Well-come World Travellor!”, HD video, 4 minutes (looped), 2018.

“Well-come World Travellor!”, HD video, 4 minutes (looped), 2018.

“Well-come World Travellor!”, HD video, 4 minutes (looped), 2018.  Photo: Wilf Speller

As well as inspiring the visual imagery of these works, these diverse sources provide a starting point for the sonic worlds created by artist Aliyah Hussain for the project.  This ambient sound work underscores the viewer’s experience in the gallery space as well as in the virtual environment.  

Installation view at QUAD, Derby, 2020.  Photo: Charlotte Jopling.

Warm Worlds and Otherwise was commissioned as part of Worlds Among Us, a collaboration between Wysing Arts Centre, The Mechatronic Library, FACT, Liverpool and QUAD.  The project developed from the Worlds Among Us retreat in 2017, which featured contributions from Rebecca Allen, Katriona Beales, Anna Bunting-Branch, Ami Clarke, Sonya Dyer, Candice Jacobs, Wilf Speller, 555-5555, Werkflow and The Mechatronic Library.  

The project was first presented as a solo exhibition at Wysing Arts Centre in October 2018, before touring to FACT in November 2019 (as part of the group exhibition you feel me_, curated by Helen Starr) and QUAD in February 2020.  

Warm Worlds and Otherwise was supported using public funding by Arts Council England.


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