A tool for 3d, real-time visuals for live and interactive performance

For my class in Computational Poetics, I’m looking into how somatic-based and phenomenological knowledge of human movement (I studied dance and computing science in my undergrad) can be used to inform the creation of new media-based live performance. As part of this research, I’m investigating the use of Lumarca—an open source, low-cost volumetric display created by Matt Parker and Albert Hwang at ITP—for use in theatre and dance performance. I was totally fascinated with what they had done, and I was thinking how cool it would be use Lumarca as the basis for a complex, custom-made theatrical set piece. Like equipping the strings with flex sensors so that physical interactions with the strings could be detected (for example, the strings could be regarded as vibratory bodies which could then be used for making and visualizing music). Or using different kinds of materials to create a very different look and feel, such as using beautifully-grained, polished wood (something we had discussed in my previous project, Biomodd [LBA2]).  Or even eventually creating a theatre-sized version of the Lumarca/Wire Map so that dancers could be moving through and interacting with a sea of strings.

Basically, I’m tired of seeing 2D displays in dance performance, where they are projected on the floor, or on the ground, or rounded surface. I want to see/make something that surrounds the performer more!

What I especially love about Lumarca is how new media artists in resource-restricted contexts (such as in the third world; I normally live and teach at a university in the Philippines) can use it to create interesting work.

Construction on the Lumarca-based volumetric display is going well, though slow. I showed a super early version of it in a previous post, but I’ve come a long way from that. I’ve become recently become obsessed with making it as stable as possible. Not a bad obsession, and I justify it by thinking about how much I can save when I actually get around to positioning the strings. At any rate, this photo shows where I’m at with the construction.

I also have to write a paper around this project. So first I need to identify as many performances as I can that come close to what I want to do. For example, Improvisational Tools and Synchronous Objects come somewhat close, except that the viewer doesn’t actually get to experience these things live, in 3D space. I’ll look through the dance-tech maillist, my Delicious bookmarks, and YouTube for this.

One Response to “A tool for 3d, real-time visuals for live and interactive performance”

  1. [...] I  wrote about how I was 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 have already hooked it up to a Kinect, which is awesome. Here’s a short video of what my Lumarca system looks like. [...]

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