Nicola Plant

Nicola Plant

New Media ArtistUnited Kingdom
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Pip Jamieson
Matt Willey
JVG Studio
Nicola Plant

Nicola Plant

New Media ArtistUnited Kingdom
About me
Working within art and technology, I create interactive installations and virtual reality artworks, specialising in movement-based interactivity using motion capture and depth cameras. My background is in new media art, computer science and music technology. Following a PhD from the Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University on non-verbal interaction and expression, embodiment and empathy, my work has focused on how expressive movement can cross the boundary to translate the inner world of experience to a human connection. Presenting at venues such as the V&A, the barbican as well as at conferences and festivals worldwide. Notable works are 'Parallax', a two-person interactive VR artwork for a solo exhibition at the Amar Gallery, February 2019, and 'Sentient Flux', an immersive VR installation for exhibition at the Barbican, August 2015. Both made with Unity, Oculus Rift and depth cameras. Trained as a programmer, I also work as a creative technologist for clients and commissions, offering skills and expertise in: - Real-time graphics and interactivity in C++/OpenFrameworks, Processing and scripting in C# for Unity. - Interactive Experience Design; developing movement-based installations that are intuitively responsive and usable within their local environment. - Motion-capture systems. - Physical computing using Arduino, sensor-based electronics and reactive table-tops.
  • Sentient Flux
    Sentient FluxA Oculus Rift based VR installation that immerses the participant in an atmospheric reality of glowing particles that orbit the body; illuminating themselves only when disturbed by movement. Using a Kinect to track movement the viewer will interact by agitating the particle system, the particles react by performing complex expressive patterns, gestural movements and swarming behaviours. The experience intends to allow viewers to explore what qualities of movement convey a sense that something i
  • Parallax
    ParallaxSolo Exhibition at The Amar Gallery. A Digital Immersive Experience This exploratory artwork invites the audience to use their own inherent expressivity as the research matter of a work that assiduously examines how it can be possible to translate the visceral experience of our inner flux of emotions and sensation into a communicative form of movement? Parallax is a movement-based interactive VR artwork. The audience communicate with one another by intuitively performing hand expressions and g
  • Affective Delineation Series
    Affective Delineation SeriesThe affective delineation series is the result of a month-long digital residency at the Gazelli Art Houses' online platform This was a series of experiments that question how movement qualities can evoke a sense of a sympathetic presence in an immersive VR environment. Within a long corridor, the user is enveloped by the waves of moving but disembodied entities that subtly inhabit the space. Starting with an empty and vacant space, the work will build in flowing sheets of moving light
  • Sound Mapping London Tea Houses
    Sound Mapping London Tea HousesI co-developed an interactive table for sound mapping tea houses across London. Through mapping field recordings project investigates social and geographical landscape of contemporary tea drinking culture in London. The interactive tea table covered with a map of London activates a recording from a teahouse in each of the thirty-three London boroughs. A teapot marked with an infrared LED allows it to be tracked by a computer vision system. As the teapot is moved around the map, the vision system recognises which borough of London it has been placed on and plays the related tea house soundscape. G.Hack presented Sound Mapping London Tea Houses as participating artists in the Chi-TEK project.
  • Surface Tension
    Surface TensionThe human body has a privileged place in explanations of how emotions are communicated. Tangible human bodies, it is hoped, can provide a conceptual and empirical bridge sufficient to convey intangible human experiences; a hope shared by technologies such as avatars and embodied robots. Surface tension explores this idea by testing the boundary between the embodied and disembodied expression of pain. The installation uses motion-capture data of people describing personal experiences of pain. Their original gestural movements are extracted and translated into mechanical gesticulations that stretch and trace forms onto the surface of a canvas; mapping the twists, turns, contractions and accelerations of fingers and hands articulating an experience of pain. We manipulate the parameters of the original motions to ask in what ways can a disembodied translation of a human description of pain evoke recognition or empathy in the viewer? Arduino, servos, 3D printed parts, Vicon motion-capture and Processing.
  • Mirror Being
    Mirror BeingA mirror to explore the contagious phenomenon of interacting with embodiment. This installation presents to you your shadow mirror image, interrogating your sense of embodiment as the mirror breaks off and forms an autonomous existence. Uses the Kinect and a motion-capture driven avatars. Programmed in C++/openFrameworks.
Work history
    Goldsmiths, University of London logo
    Goldsmiths, University of London logo
    Postdoctoral Research AssociateGoldsmiths, University of London
    London, United KingdomFull Time
    Unity Developer and researcher on project building machine learning tool InteractML ( for movement interaction design in immersive media – a node-based visual scripting plug-in for Unity developed for artists, dancers and game designers. Other activities working with and mentoring users, organising and delivering workshops and presentations at conferences and industry events and disseminating research in articles and publications.
    blue{shift} logo
    blue{shift} logo
    Creative Coding Tutorblue{shift}
    London, United KingdomFreelance
    Alongside a group of digital artists and educators across London, I lead classes and workshops that teach creative coding and virtual reality at schools, holiday camps and for private tuition to students aged 6-13. Platforms include: p5.js, BitsBox, Scratch, Unity and MicroBit.
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  • Teaching
  • Visual Arts
  • Programming
  • Multi-media Artist
  • Digital Artist
  • Interface Design
  • Javascript
  • UI Design
  • Unity3d
  • Virtual Reality
    Queen Mary University of London logo
    Queen Mary University of London logo
    PHD Media and Arts TechnologyQueen Mary University of London
     - London, United Kingdom
    Under a full scholarship awarded by the Digital Economies EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre, I completed a PhD in the Cognitive Science Research Group. Supervised by Professor Pat Healey and Dr Martin Welton, my thesis is titled 'Intersubjectivity, Empathy and Nonverbal Interaction'. The thesis sets out to investigate the the validity of the argument that embodiment has a key role for empathy by providing a vehicle for simulating the experience of another, claimed to be manifested empirically as behavioural mimicry. Analysis techniques included: -Video observation and annotation in ELAN and SPSS. -Motion capture data techniques to recognise posture congruence using a Vicon passive marker system with analysis in MATLAB. -Python scripts to detect nonverbal cues such as nodding, gaze and verbal signals such as repair. Additionally I used a software library developed at goldsmiths (PIAVCA) to rig and control avatars using code for various motion capture demos within the department.
    MA Digital Arts in PerformanceBirmingham City University
     - Birmingham, United Kingdom
    This practice based masters was studied between the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and the Birmingham Conservatoire. I created various digital artworks, installations and performances. These included: - An audiovisual installation for group interaction using sensor-based electronics and 5 networked screens. - An explorative movement performance using sensors and computer vision - programmed in Max/MSP and Arduino. - Collaborative performative projects with musicians and dancers using an exo-skeleton motion capture suit. Additional assessment included: Philosophy of art, contemporary art critical studies, curatorial studies and composition for film and visuals.