Day 3, Stream 4


Converging and diverging realities


Kim Vincs


John McCormick: Deakin Motion.Lab / Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, Deakin University, Australia

Megan Beckwith: Deakin Motion.Lab, Deakin University, Australia

Stephanie Hutchison: Deakin Motion.Lab, Deakin University, Australia

Kim Vincs: Deakin Motion.Lab / Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, Deakin University, Australia



Mixed reality, in the sense of integrating actually and virtually present information and interaction, is increasingly embedded in our day-to-day lives. This panel, comprised of artist/researchers from Melbourne’s Deakin Motion.Lab and Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, will explore and discuss the shifting relationships between movement, embodiment, somatics and image made possible by a series of artistic projects that use technologies such as motion capture, movement data visualisation, 3D stereographic projection and remote motion capture interaction. We will focus specifically on the artistic, conceptual and poetic implications of motion capture as a technology that bridges live performance and data-generated environments, and on the benefits this connection has for computer enabled performance, as well as the resistance it can engender in transforming or even, in extreme instances, subsuming live performance.

We approach this task from the dual perspectives of artists interested in exploring new ways of creating movement based art, and of researchers interested in the ways this kind of work both connects and potentially alienates traditional performance audiences. We will explore the sensory and conceptual shifts (which, we argue, are not unrelated) that these technologies induce in movement art, and examine their potential to integrate movement art within a broader, data enabled and transmitted cultural context than is possible if movement remains within ‘real-space’ and ‘real-time’ contexts.



Kim Vincs: Dance and Virtual Physics: the mass of the object does not necessarily equal the object of the mass

The term ‘virtual’ is central to dance poetics, initially through Susanne Langer’s formulation of dance as virtual force, and more recently through Erin Manning’s argument for understanding dance movement as possibility and incipiency, and hence concerned with temporality and intentionality, rather than simply as shape, gesture and spatial displacement. Motion capture and 3D animation enable the creation of dance in which relationships between mass, weight and morphology are not restricted to the parameters of real-world physics. This paper will draw on a range of motion capture projects to develop an understanding of the virtualising potential of motion capture as an encoder of not simply spatiality or temporality, but of the physics of movement, and therefore as a potential means of encoding the gravitational poetics at the core of contemporary dance.


John McCormick, Saeid Nahavandi, Douglas Creighton and Kim Vincs: Learning to dance with a human

Artificial neural networks are a popular means of allowing systems to learn about and filter aspects of their domain. In this presentation we will discuss the use of artificial neural networks in the context of dance performance. The network is presented with movement in the form of motion capture streams, both pre-recorded and live. Learning can be viewed as analogous to rehearsal, recognition and response to performance. The interrelationship between the artificial neural network and dancer throughout the process is considered as a potential means of allowing the network to function beyond its limited self-contained capability.


Stephanie Hutchison & Kim Vincs: Dancing in suits: a performer’s perspective on the collaborative exchange between self, body, motion capture, animation and audience

The motion capture process places unique demands on performers. Performers must wear a suit made of industrial strength Velcro or have markers taped to their skin, must remain within a specified volume, and must ensure that their markers are visible at all times. The impact of this process on the simultaneously artistic/somatic nature of dance practice is profound. This paper explores, from a performer’s perspective, how the process of performing in an optical motion capture system can impact and limit, but also expand and reconfigure, a dancer’s somatic practice. It argues that working within motion capture processes not only affects the immediate contexts of capture and interactive performance, but also makes possible new approaches to practice beyond the motion capture studio.


Megan Beckwith & Kim Vincs: The impact of Gestalt perceptual organization in the stereoscopic theatre environment

The stereoscopic illusion is compelling; images appear suspended impossibly in space. The use of the stereoscopic illusion within theatre is a new process that brings with it new layers of both creative possibilities and technical problems. This paper addresses the incorporation of stereoscopic illusion within a contemporary dance practice to create hybrid performances that fuse the stereoscopic and physical body into one live performance. Through this work, we begin to address some of the problems and opportunities that arise when using stereoscopic imagery alongside the real body within a live theatre environment. This presentation addresses these issues using the Gestalt theories in perpetual organisation.