“Performance Capture is, like all Atkins’s work, much darker and weirder and unsettling. He is making a monster of multiple, morphing personalities, a thing possessed.” The Guardian
Simultaneously an installation, an exhibition and a document of Manchester International Festival 2015, Performance Capture provided a unique, behind-the-scenes, access-all-areas insight into the production of a computer-generated moving image artwork. Curated by Ed Atkins, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Alex Poots, with Pollyanna as consultant curator, it took place at Manchester Art Gallery in July 2015.
Performance Capture took its name from a process that records, maps and renders the movements of a performer onto an avatar – in this case, performers drawn from the MIF15 programme. Contributors wearing motion-capture suits peformed under the direction of Ed Atkins, and to his script, with their performances captured onto computer, digitally modelled, cut and soundtracked, and then screened in a cinema of the ever-accumulating footage. Over 130 individual contributors took part – including Mark Simpson, Wayne MacGregor and the Paris Opera Ballet – their facial expressions, hand gestures and voice transferred onto a single avatar. Visitors could view each part of the process, from performance to screening. Ed Atkins has subsequently edited the final footage into a film which exists as an artwork in its own right.
Performance Capture brought many of Pollyanna’s skills and experiences together. It built on her experience of delivering performance-based exhibitions, her understanding of digital media (see her work on Videogame Nation) and her ability to turn artistic concepts into workable, functioning projects. It reunited her with Hans Ulrich Obrist and MIF’s outgoing director, Alex Poots, for whom she has also produced 11 Rooms, 13 Rooms and Richter / Pärt.