About Kirk Woolford

Biography

Kirk Woolford is an artist/designer and software developer who works closely with digital and creative industries. He has taught in Media Arts, Design, Fine Art, and Choreography programs in Germany, Holland, the US and UK. Kirk’s research is practice-led and he continues to actively exhibit his work in international venues including Shanghai eArts, ARCO Madrid, Art Cologne, P.S.1. (MoMA), Venice Biennale, Ars Electronica, ISEA, and SIGGRAPH. He has collaborated on performances with Diller+Scofidio, Charleroi Danses, igloo, Susan Kozel, Frederique Flamand, Fabrizio Plessi, and others.

Kirk is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and has served in various capacities on international conferences including SIGGRAPH, ACM Multimedia, ISEA, and smaller conferences in the US, Germany, Holland, Portugal, and the UK.

Role

Sr Lecturer in Media Practice
Enterprise Director, School of Media, Film and Music

Community & Business

Prior to working in UK academia, Kirk set up and directed production companies in New York, London, and Amsterdam — with partners including the Economist Group, BBC, Channel 4, FilmFour, Illuminations, Babel Media, and THQ. From 1990-91, he worked with Eastman Kodak, Adobe, and Quark to incorporate their new technologies, including the first version of Photoshop, into early desktop publishing studios. Between 1992 and 2005, Kirk held several research positions in Germany and the Netherlands as he moved between academy and industry. He has produced online entertainment, education, publishing, and streaming systems, as well as video games for set-top-boxes, PCs and consoles. He has served as a board member for several foundations and continues to work with industry partners.

Research

Kirk’s research explores relationships between image, touch, and movement. His research can be roughly divided into two forms: practice-led research involving the creation of interactive installations, performances, photography, and video exploring concepts and experiences which defy textual representation; and more traditional scholarship exploring the role and value of the artist in collaboration with science and technology. The practice-led research focuses on the use of technical mediation to understand our own perception of our bodies and environments. This work began with an exploration of mediated and remote touch in the early 90s (see cyberSM). Over the last six years, an exploration of gaze, body maps and mirror neuronal systems has led to projects exploring our ability to touch and move one another other through media: sound and images (see contours,winterspacewill.0.w1sp). More recent work explores manners in which we are touched and moved by our environments (see Observing Nature, Performing Ecology), and new business models allowing artists and micro-enterprises to be active partners in creative industries, science, and technology research.

Kirk attempts to keep a separation between his creative practice and practice-led research. Often the creative practice is initiated without clear research questions in mind. The research questions arise through the exploration and reflection on the creation of the work and lead to technical and critical papers and presentations on process as the work is created and reflected upon.