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The AVA Project
Terra Incognita: Human Nature/Technology

Presented at
The Arts Center of the Capital Region
Troy, New York
May 26, 2002

In collaboration with project designer Kathleen Ruiz,
Barbara Kilpatrick, Vicky Shick, Elise Kermani and Sarah Plant.

The AVA Project

Lisa and AVA reading the Copper Box

The AVA Project is a series of transmedia performances and installations exploring the delicate relationship between humanity, technology and creativity. Envisioned by Kathleen Ruiz, the project brings together a unique collaboration of six artists in dance (Lisa Naugle and Vicky Shick), animation (Kathleen Ruiz), motion capture animation (Lisa Naugle), sound design (Elise Kermani), music (Sarah Plant), and structural set objects (Barbara Kilpatrick).

See the performance web album or the animation web album for images and details about this project.

AVA is an animated figure, an archetype, an avatar. The process of creating AVA's movement began with Vicky Shick and Barbara Kilpatrick in New York who wrote ten action descriptions and sent those descriptions to Lisa Naugle in California via email. Naugle interpreted the descriptions into movement phrases, performed and recorded each phrase using the Vicon optical motion capture system. The motion captured dance took place at the University of California, Irvine, Clair Trevor School of the Arts, Motion Capture Studio. After the movement information was "cleaned" it was sent to Kathleen Ruiz, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where it was transferred into AVA's virtual body and skin, rendered and programmed to create the animations for projection. Animated AVA then became a virtual dancing partner whose actions were performed "live" via computer by Ruiz to interact with Naugle and Shick during the performance on May 26, 2002. AVA's image was projected onto different sculptural objects within the performing environment.

Together the artists constructed an interactive world of movement, projected animation, objects and sound using traditional and digital elements. These ranged from sculptures such as the Foot Light, Torso, Copper Box, and Twin Coat designed and created by Barbara Kilpatrick. Sound-generating objects such as the BodyChime Tower and hand-held speakers created by Elise Kermani also served as transitional objects during the performance that is, projection surfaces for AVA or interactive objects influenced by body heat and movement of the dancers.