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Motion Detection’s New Aesthetic Outcomes

posted Jan 30, 2013, 10:24 PM by Ellen Pearlman

Motion Detection’s New Aesthetic Outcomes

Ultra Combos, a Taiwanese new media company founded in 2010 has worked with the Anarchy Dance Theater of Taiwan to create “Seventh Sense”, a dance theater piece that uses motion sensing and projection mapping to create mind bending visual effects.

Circular orbs of light follwing dancer’s movements in “Seventh Sense”

The troupe, whose early work Anarchy’s Dance was political, sexy and energetic needs their tough outlook to compete with, and integrate the flashing, scintillating graphics it now uses.

Graphics following motion in “Seventh Sense,”, photo from Anarchy Dance

The precedent for this is to be found in Denmark via Ole Kristen’s 2008 collaboration with Joans Jongeljan. Working with sensors has been expanded through Recoil Performance Group’s award winning piece “Living Room” that incorporates sophisticated interactive motion tracking with geometric shapes.

Excerpt from Living Room, Recoil Performance Group/Tina Tarptaarg

This brings up a whole new aesthetics of performance and performative language, as dancers not only have to navigate partnerships with other dancers, but have to navigate and incorporate relations with interactive mapping technologies and the choreographic language it engenders. 

Dancer moving in interactive light web, Photo by Jonas Jongelan

3D motion tracking is also behind the extraordinary installation by rAndom International at The Curve Gallery at the Barbican Centre in London. “Rain Room” is one hundred square meters of rain falls from the ceiling in straight, vertical lines.  When one walks through the backlit installation the deluge magically ceases, as if holding an invisible umbrella to the onslaught. It was  developed by three former students from the Royal College of Art in London, Hannes Kock, Florian Ortkrass and Stuart Wood. They conceived of it by imagining the grids behind  ink jet spray printing technology. The 3D cameras map moving bodies in the installation into a grid that controls nine outlets that turn on and off depending on the person’s movements. However, one must move slowly, as rapid movements do not allow for the sensors to coordinate correctly, and crowds of people also throw the sensors off. 

and the waters parted…in the Rain Room

Here comes the rain again - photos from Random International