Signaletic Flow 2.0

Rewa Wright and Simon Howden

Medium: Video
Issues: Algorithm, Art+Science, Dance, Data, and Mixed Reality

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Signaletic Flow 2.0 is a digital file/film that plays with the visceral intimacy of a mixed reality live performance, attempting to transfer some of that intimacy to the screen audience. It proposes a multiplied body in virtual space that modulates itself with plant sonics and data generated by algorithms. Immersed in a bespoke mode of mixed reality, where they see in infra-red vision, a performer uses the tactile surface of plants to conjure digital augments into existence. The complex relationships between movements, dance, and virtual objects are explored through a distinctively personal and female expressive and embodied language that re-assembles the body in motion. Signaletic Flow 2.0 multiplies the performer’s body in virtual space in order to implicate it within the shifting and pulsing data generated by the living plants. Together these forces re-assemble across a signaletic field of data, where digital augments generated by algorithms, merge with the bio-electrical impulses from living plants, both of which are mediated by hand gestures Female influence in the AR/VR/MR space is currently marginalized, even though female participation in digital arts overall is strong. However, women have made an undeniable impact right from the pioneering days, with practitioners like Brenda Laurel and Char Davies creating groundbreaking paradigms in VR that leveraged embodiment and incorporated senses other than vision. Unfortunately, it seems there is also resistance to ‘herstories’ being told in this medium, and to an approach that is distinctively female and post humanist. As well, the body itself as a contested site is frequently left out of conversations about virtual worlds, and this is in contradistinction to the pioneering days of work by the likes of Davies and Laurel. The female body is its own traveling herstory, and when we travel in virtual worlds, it comes along for the ride. In my herstory, I am indigenous (Mäori from Aotearoa), I play piano, I grow (with) plants, I do martial arts, I am a mother. I transpose these elements to virtual space as embodied gestures, movements, actions.


Rewa Wright is fascinated by human/machine relations in dynamic systems and networked assemblages. She has presented her academic and artistic research internationally in Portugal, Canada, Hong Kong, London, and New Zealand. She has published several book chapters on augmented reality/mixed reality as an emergent cultural paradigm. She is a Mäori woman from Aotearoa/New Zealand, from the Ngapuhi and Ngatu Whatua tribes. Wright completed a Doctorate in Art, Design and Media at the University of New South Wales in Sydney in February 2019. Her thesis ‘Mixed Reality Re-assembled: Software Assemblages at the Edge of Control’ was awarded a Dean’s Award for Outstanding Theses by the UNSW Graduate Research School. She also holds a Master of Literature in Art History and a masters degree in Film, TV, and Media Studies, both from the University of Auckland. Before returning to academia, Wright had a professional career in the television industry, as an Avid Editor and director. She currently teaches creative technologies at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

Simon Howden is a musician, Billboard music producer, media artist and sound designer. With Wright, he was recently selected for the SIGGRAPH Asia Art Gallery, premiering the mixed reality performance ‘Contact/Sense.’