Kirk Woolford


( Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster/UK)


Kirk Woolford studied both Computer Science and Humanities at Clarkson University and received an MS/MFA in Photography and Design from Chicago 's Institute of Design in 1992. He was a research fellow at the Kunsthochschule für Medien (Academy of Media Arts ), in Cologne from 1992-95, and has taught courses and workshops across Europe .

He co-founded Mesh Performance Partnerships in 1999, and has collaborated on performances with Charleroi Danse, Diller+Scofidio, and igloo. Kirk has won numerous grants and awards from Ars Electronica, ISEA, Arts Council of England, Amsterdam Art Council, South-East Dance Agency, Ministry of School and Science North Rhine-Westphalia, and others. In 1997, Kirk co-founded his first production company in order to finance his arts practice through commercial work.

From 1997-2005 he has worked in New York, London, and Amsterdam on projects ranging from online broadcasting and education systems, studio and editorial photography, to ³Girl Games² and ³First Person Shooter² 3D games.

Artist's Statemen: t My work focuses on the human body, human movement, and human perception. I explore them through the digital media. I spent most of the 90s exploring touch at a distance by constructing networked systems and wearable devices to physically stimulate visitors to my installations and performances. But, I later came to accept that sight and gaze are their own form of touch at a distance. Just as touch is bi-directional, so is sight. Because of my background in photography, and the virtual aspects of digital media, I hang on to the physical, material world. I prefer to use sampled sounds, and all my movement is live, roto-scoped, or motion captured. I have worked with Dance and dancers for the past 20 years because of their embodied knowledge of movement. The trick is getting that knowledge out of their bodies and into my work.                                            

Kirk is now a lecturer within Lancaster University¹s new Institute for Contemporary Arts. LICA is a merger of the Art, Music, and Theater Studies depts together with the Nuffield Theater and the Scott Gallery. He is setting up the Digital Arts program within LICA.

For a number of years, Kirk has continued to work with motion capture and particle systems. His new piece, ³Will.0.w1sp² premiered at the Waag Society (The Netherlands) last March. It has been shown a couple times in the Amsterdam area, and was just performed together with a live orchestra during Ars Electronica 2005. Kirk will present something from this project during the ³Capturing Dance² workshop of panel at Digital Cultures lab.