Immersing audiences in 360º film technology

A showcase of striking works by Plymouth University graduate Sue Austin will go on display for three days of interactive activities.

The internationally acclaimed artist – whose work has been seen by an estimated global television audience of around 150 million – is inviting audiences to become ‘Immersed in 360’.

Designed as a research exhibition – and taking place in the University’s Roland Levinsky Building from July 15-17 – it will feature video footage of dance and performance by Sue and Kevin Clifford, using Oculus VR headsets and projection onto stunning, ethereal 360 degree installations to create a fully immersive audience experience.

The activities are part of 360 Degrees – A New Angle on Access, a project launched in October last year thanks to a grant from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts.

It is being pursued in partnership with Affinity with Plymouth University, Eye Mirror and Living Options Devon and will use digital technology to take art into community venues, and even people’s homes.

Sue, who initially came to Plymouth University to study on the BA (Hons) Fine Art course, said:

"I’m completely passionate about 360 imagery because it’s a new aesthetic, it’s very powerful. But I also realise that the costs make it inaccessible to most, so this project is specifically about developing 360 in a way that’s usable and affordable for the arts sector and beyond.”

‘Immersed in 360’ is an exhibition of prototypes which will also research the experiences of home and community-based audiences currently excluded from accessing arts venues due to disabling physical, psychological and financial barriers.

Visitors will be encouraged to participate in the research, particularly on Wednesday 15 July when members of the SERIO team at the University will ask participants about their experiences of the exhibition.

On the same day from 10am to 5pm, Sue will partner with the team from Affinity with Plymouth University for a workshop in which filmmakers, artists, venue programmers and producers will be able to get their hands on the latest 360º filmmaking equipment.

After her undergraduate studies, Sue completed a masters degree in contemporary art practice in 2014, having earned widespread international acclaim for her inspirational project Creating the Spectacle!

Premiered as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and supported by an Unlimited Commission, the project saw her working with the University and Arts Council England to develop a powered wheelchair which she then used in an eye-catching underwater performance.

Since then, Sue has travelled the globe to talk about her work, with invitations to address a TEDx conference in Washington DC and a conference for NASA scientists in Houston, Texas.

She has also become one of the artists in residence at Plymouth University’s Marine Institute, using her creativity in conjunction with world-leading scientists and students to enhance understanding of the marine environment.

Sue Austin - 'Creating the Spectacle!'

Pushing the boundaries of art and forcing people to reflect on their view of disability, Sue's masterpiece 'Creating the Spectacle!' is a ground-breaking series of live art and film events recording an underwater wheelchair as it flies through the water.