Active Space Research
Motion Capture Research
in the Active Space is an interactive installation to be included
in the California Museum of Photography exhibition, Digital
Improvisation, scheduled for September, 2002 to January, 2003.
The purpose of the installation is to provide museum attendees with
an engaging experience of movement-based digital improvisation in
an Active Space environment; that is, an interactive physical space
designed to engage participants in a dialog of mutual influence
between movement, visual imagery and sound. The Active Space environment
is intended to be an "instrument" that is "played"
by its inhabitants, in which imagery and sound are produced in direct,
immediate response to how and where people move.
museum visitors enter the Dancing in the Active Space installation,
they encounter projected visual imagery and an accompanying soundscape.
Gradually they become aware that the system is responding to their
movement, and that the visuals and sounds are changing as they vary
their movement. As visitors become more aware of how the system
is responding to their movement, they also begin to become more
aware of how and where they are moving (and not moving). Interactive
visuals evoking human bodies and accompanying sounds subtly prompt
visitors to move in different ways, and unconventional movement
is rewarded with new and different segments of the visual imagery
and soundscape. Some types of movement call up imagery and sounds
that are incomplete, partial or fragmented. Other types of movement
bring imagery and sounds that are seemingly more complete, specific
of the key components of the installation is a video-based motion
tracking system that continually senses and measures the amount
of movement and various other movement characteristics of viewers
in the installation space. These measurements are analyzed over
time to drive the playback of video and audio clips from a library
of animations and sound on DVD. The video clips are combined with
the actual images from the sensing cameras and projected on the
wall for visitors to see and interact with.
A unique aspect of the installation is that the library of video
and audio clips in the installation (played from DVD) will be generated
from dancers’ motion-captured movement sequences that we are
developing in the Motion Capture Studio at UC, Irvine. These motion-captured
sequences will have a variety of physical qualities and characteristics,
ranging from pedestrian actions to stylized dance phrases. The video
and audio libraries will provide immediate visual feedback to participants’
movement in the installation space, therefore influencing the ways
in which a participant might move. The resulting movement will call
up new sequences of sounds and images. Such responsiveness from
the environment will inspire the participant to further his or her
improvisational exploration of movement within the environment.