Holding Moments in Place


Session Title:

  • Performance (Papers)

Presentation Title:

  • Holding Moments in Place




  • Moments in Place is a series of site‑specific virtual performances, created for the Brighton Digital Festival, inviting visitors to consider movement qualities of different locations in the city of Brighton as well as relationships between these spaces and the visual artworks, including murals, mosaics, and graffiti, which have been created in them.

    Each of the performances were recorded on Brighton’s streets using portable motion capture systems. When phones or tablets are pointed at select urban artworks (graffiti, benches, mosaics, etc.) around the city, the Moments in Place app recognises the location and plays out the performance previously recorded at the location. The performances are re‑created in 3D and anchored to specific locations allowing the viewers to walk around and explore the relationship between the performance and location.

    Double‑tapping on the screen while the Moments in Place app is running brings up menus displaying “what to look for” and “where to look” in order to help find the appropriate artworks. Alternatively, users can select “Just Dance” to view one of the performances without tracking.

    The project invites viewers to think about movement qualities of various locations. Some of the locations are quiet and     inspire slow, reflective movement while others are very hectic ‑‑ full of shoppers and tourists. Audiences are invited to visit at least a selection of locations. However, if this is not possible, the project website contains images of each location to allow audiences to trigger the performances as well as allowing them to play a single performance directly from the app.

    The underlying Motion in Place Platform (MiPP), used to created the piece, was developed through a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council grant of £435,345 to develop portable motion capture and analysis tools for exploring relationships between movement and place. MiPP was created through a combination of traditional scholarship and     practice‑based application. Initial field tests were conducted through VERA (Virtual Environments for Research in  Archaeology) before addressing contemporary Arts practices through the creation of the Moments in Place project. The MiPP tools were initially trialed through the (re)construction of movement within an Iron Age Round House, and later to (re)construct performances on the streets of Brighton during both the 2011 White Nights and 2013 Brighton Digital Festivals.

    This paper details the initial research questions and contexts behind the MiPP projects, how these have been applied through creative practice in the development of Moments in Place, and future plans for the platform.