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13th Dec - 12th Apr

80ºN by Gibson/Martelli


Inspired by the spirit of discovery and celebrating the pioneers who break new ground through science and new technologies, with exhibitions, digital experimentation, talks, events, film screenings and educational activities that journey into the art of exploration.

80º N by Gibson/Martelli 

13th December 2014 – 8th February 2015

QUAD Gallery

QUAD presents a trilogy of works by artists Gibson/Martelli. 80º N is the result of a four year research project that centres on Arctic exploration. The 80º North parallel is the line of latitude where the Polar region begins. The Gibson/Martelli trilogy considers this navigational concept from three different perspectives:

In Search of Abandoned responds to a marker on the Google Maps for Spitsbergen that is labelled ‘Abandoned’. The artists sought to rediscover this location, both physically during a residency Martelli attended in Svalbard, and also through a computer generated virtual experience.

White Island draws on S. A. Andrée’s doomed Polar balloon expedition of 1897. Attempting to reach the  Pole, Andrée’s balloon crashed on the ice near Kvitøya (White Island). The three expedition members perished, and their final campsite was only located in 1930. Consulting textual and photographic documentation left by the original expedition members, Gibson/Martelli built a computer generated world using height map data and game engine technology;

In Perfect Circle, a 100 year old Dutch sailing vessel, Noorderlicht, makes a 360º turn in an attempt to describe a perfect circle in the sea near the Monacobreen Glacier.

In its attention to the expansive frozen lands and seas of ice, the exhibition contemplates the overwhelming might of nature, its beauty and its vulnerability. In each project, the artists depart from classical representations of heroic voyages of discovery enabled by engineering mastery. Gibson/Martelli invite the viewer to observe the Arctic from a first-person perspective. Employing immersive techniques from virtual reality and video games, the viewer’s panoramic gaze is transformed by individual agency. In these spaces science & fiction merge, addressing the position of the self in relation to nature and technology – imagined & experienced views of place where invention and memory collide.

“Gibson and Martelli’s work pushes both the capacity of cutting edge visualization technology and our understanding of where contemporary art can take us.” – CAFKA Biennial Director Gordon Hatt, 2014

Ruth Gibson & Bruno Martelli see their practice as an ongoing investigation into simulacra and the sublime underpinned by the tradition of figure and landscape. They make environments and performances using print, video and computer games. Known as igloo from 1995 – 2010, their first work together won them a BAFTA nomination. They exhibit in galleries, theatres and festivals around the world including The Detroit Institute for Art, the Barbican, SIGGRAPH, ISEA, The Royal Opera House, Royal Festival Hall & 52nd Venice Biennale. Bruno lectures at AA School of Architecture, Slade & Goldsmiths College; while Ruth is Creative Fellow at the Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University’s School of Art & Design. Their work can be found in private and public collections including Sarah Meltzer Gallery, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art & the British Film Institute.

80ºN by Gibson/Martelli is produced in association with QUAD, supported by Arts Council England and CAFKA14 – with generous sponsorship from Christie Digital & WorldViz.

Gibson/ Martelli are QUAD Digital Fellows for 2014.

Image Credit: Charlotte Jopling


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