I can’t stop watching.
Someone posted many of his videos online. Here are a few of them:
Using lines to create organic movement
Axes and transforming/scaling axes
Following a curve to its logical conclusion
Rotating inscription with lines
Soft body part trajectories
And this is what some of his techniques, when ballet dancers apply them while freestyling, can look like:
Some very well-known examples of changing dancerly ways of moving come from the work of Loie Fuller and Martha Graham through their use of fabric.
I’m giving a talk at the new media art festival Fete dela Wsk! on my research on liquid dance and the research of the Art + Performance Research Group. I’m scheduled to talk at the Ayala Museum between 4pm and 7pm with Thierry Bernard Gotteland [FR], An Xiao Mina [US], Bong Ramilo [PH/AU], and Kai Lam [SG]. Tickets are 350 PHP.
Computation and embodied experience
In this talk, I discuss some of the research currently being done in the Art, Performance, and Technology Laboratory at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology. We deploy digital tools to investigate some of the hidden cognitive processes that performers and audiences rely on; we develop artificially intelligent systems that explores questions around cognition, consciousness, and creativity; we investigate how the embodied experiences can be used to design and evaluate digital technologies. Finally, I talk about my particular research, which focuses on liquid dance, a genre of dance that emerged from the North American underground electronic dance music scene in the 90s. Liquid dancers have been cultivating a particular approach to human movement that is sophisticated, expressive, conceptually and corporeally well-defined, and deeply theorized by many of its members. (Translation: they are incredible dancers and you should come to this talk just to see the videos I’m going to show.)
And if you’re wondering what wasak/wsk is, join the club. I see it as a contemporary, Filipino relative of Dada. Lourd de Veyra would probably disagree.
As the social events coordinator at the GSA SIAT, it’s my job to organize events for the grad students. It also give me a chance to advertise cool things being put on by friends and colleagues. Here’s a few of them.
My friend and dance colleague Melanie Kuxdorf recently filed a report on OpenFile.ca (a “collaborative local news site” which assigns reporters to stories that are suggested by the public) about the informal dance+theatre+technology meetup that I recently organized. The article accurately highlights my motivations for organizing the event, and I have nothing more to add to it that I haven’t mentioned elsewhere, but I did want to comment on one section from the article:
(Background: I’ve been building a half-sized version of Lumarca/Wiremap, an open source, low-cost, low-resolution volumetric display, and hooking it up to motion recognition systems as part of the research that I’m doing at SIAT. I posted an update a while back. Here’s the latest one.)
I’ve been able to get an older project (a Wiimote hack) to integrate with my implementation of Lumarca. I can control the size of a “3d diamond” in the display using the distance between my thumb and middle finger, and control its color based on the speed of my fingers/hand. It’s still pretty simple right now, but I’m excited to have finally gotten it to work. I’m beginning to appreciate the need for a lot of forethought in designing Wiremap visualizations (as I outlined in a previous post), because in a dark room, it can be hard to really appreciate the 3D-ness of the visualizations.
Much thanks for helping me understand some of the more technical parts of designing the display and coding against it goes to Albert Hwang, who managed to come out to Vancouver last week. I showed him around SIAT and I got a chance to introduce him to some of the grad students, who talked about their research here. It turns out that Albert is also a dancer (in a different genre than mine), and we spent a lot of time showing each other YouTube videos and websites. I hope he enjoyed his short trip here!
Anyway, here’s a (rather poor quality) clip that explains where I’m at!
I’ve been building a half-sized version of Lumarca, an open source, low-cost, low-resolution volumetric display, and hooking it up to motion recognition systems as part of the research that I’m doing at SIAT. Lumarca’s creators, Matt Parker and Albert Hwang, have already hooked it up to a Kinect, which is great:
Here’s a couple of short videos of what my Lumarca system looks like.
Lumarca is a wonderful tool with so many subtleties. I’m realizing a few things about it as I’ve been replicating it.
Given a certain combination of distance between the strings and the projector and distance between the viewer and the strings, what may appear to be smooth movement by the graphics on my monitor is revealed to be quantized when projected onto the Lumarca strings. That is, pixels become more obvious. This isn’t a big revelation; we see this all the time when we project onto traditional, larger screens. One solution to adapt anti-aliasing techniques from 2D graphics to motion graphics projected onto Lumarca.
I’ve also been thinking about how visually striking the string I have been using is, and how it really can’t be ignored. A viewer can’t pretend that the strings are “not there”. We need to consider the materiality of the display, and doing so would open up new possibilities. For example, one could really play with the architectural properties of the strings. I think it should be possible in theory to build a variation of Lumarca that uses strings that cross each other at different angles or clumped in different ways.
Also, although 3D objects can be represented using Lumarca (as evidenced by Matt and Albert’s Kinect video above), I don’t exactly see 3D objects in the display, especially if a viewer stays in one spot with respect to the display. In the real world, we perceive 3D through a combination of strategies, including motion parallax and shadow+light perception (which is difficult in Lumarca because the audience sees only light and no shadows). There are a few potential solutions to this problem of creating a more 3D look in Lumarca graphics if applied for live dance/theatre performance:
I’ve also been beginning to think of how one would build an immersive version of Lumarca where one can actually step inside it and play. Holes and pulleys and climbing rope figure in my designs.
Back to tying strings to nuts!
Update: I should point out that Lumarca is largely based on Albert Hwang’s project, Wiremap. It turns out that what I want to build is actually closer to Wiremap than to Lumarca.
Albert got in touch with me recently, and he’s thinking about visiting Vancouver and SIAT. Sweet. It turns out that 3D technologies for the stage are among his interests.
The (first) Vancouver Theatre + Dance + Technology meetup took place last night at the Birmingham Studio of the Dance Centre. There were sixteen people in the space altogether, and though it would have been even better with slightly more people from the theatre/dance community, it was the perfect size for the focused and interesting discussions we had:
(For people who would rather not join the FB group but would like to be informed of postings, there is a read-only Google mailing list that they can subscribe to which archives the posts on FB. To announce something to the group, please log into FB using firstname.lastname@example.org with a password you can obtain from me.)
One last promotional thing: Sara Coffin is performing with her collective, SINS Dance, as part of the Vancouver International Dance Festival, so check it out!