Day 2, Stream 2


Kate Richards: Sparkle Media, Sydney


Ruth Aylett: Heriot-Watt University, UK

Alexandra Antonopoulou: University of Greenwich, UK

Anne Niemetz: Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Carol Brown: University of Auckland, New Zealand

Rachael Priddel: University of Technology, Australia

Marie-Claude Poulin: kondition pluriel, Canada

Thecla Schiphorst: Simon Fraser University, Canada



Ruth Aylett, Andrew MacVean, Stefano Padilla, Jose Magalhaes, Lynsey Calder & Sandy Louchart Kinect-Based RGB Detection for ‘Smart’ Costume Interaction

This paper is an overview of a Kinect-based RGB detection software developed as part of a ‘Smart’ Costumes: Smart Textiles and Wearable Technology in Pervasive Computing Environments” project. This project involves a multi-disciplinary team involving textile design, engineering and computer science. We aimed, in this work, to establish initial studies on how the Microsoft Kinect performs in tracking a ‘smart’ costume that has thermochromic elements under different lighting conditions. For that, a computer application was created using Kinect API an application that is capable of detecting, tracking and measuring colour (Red, Blue and Green) via the Kinect sensor.
A second aim of the project was to create an automated colour detection mechanism through which a change in colour would act as a trigger and work as a catalyst for another colour change to take place and so on. Thus enabling a ‘Smart’ costume to continuously change throughout a performance and creating a cyclical process of events.
This research was validated through two distinct experiments in which several thermochromic samples were subjected to four different lighting environmental conditions. The RGB values of each sample were collected under each lighting environment and compared to a benchmark RGB reading taken from a high-resolution digital reading.
Our results show that lighting conditions significantly affect the Kinect’s performance, and that it performs better under higher lighting conditions. This is of particular interest for costumes that will be subject to a multitude of lighting conditions in the performance space. They also showed that lighting conditions significantly affect the colour that is detected through a Kinect device and that green is the colour most affected.


Alexandra Antonopoulou & Eleanor Dare The interactive dream-catcher

The interactive dream-catcher is a collective dream machine that allows people to capture, visualize share and discuss their dreams.” According to Freudian theory (1900) dreams express our deep seated fears as well as our most repressed desires and fantasies. Epistemically it has been proposed (Descartes (1641), Zhuàngzi (1996)) that dreams prove the unreliability of our sense perceptions. Although dreaming is a widespread human experience the surreality and apparent illogic of our dreams makes it hard to theorize or formalize dreaming within digital structures and computational projects. The interactive dream-catcher explores new ways in which contemporary technology can work with dreams.

The application allows participants to design their own dream-catcher (digitally or physically) and use it as an avatar for their online profile. Entering this online dream-space, they are then given visual aids to create images of their dreams that can be subsequently discussed, collaboratively interpreted reshaped or even re-visualized. The process showcases, how sharing the design authorship, can result in the production of digital tools that explore and materialize individual views, needs or even subconscious messages. Therefore, in accordance to critical and speculative design ideas, the projects is a manifestation of design and digital technologies as social mediators, tailored by and open to a wider audience.

In this presentation, we will outline the reasons for pursuing the project as well as the philosophical/epistemic implications of embedding dream-theory and the alternative logical framework of dreaming into code.


Anne Niemitz & Carol Brown REVOLVE or the impossible task of performing sleep

Revolve is an ongoing research project addressing the complexities of combining choreography, sleep science (chronobiology) and media art/design for contemporary performance. The outcome, an interactive performance that unfolds through story-telling, sound, light, video and dance, follows the path of the sleeper’s mind and body through the night. Driven by a curiosity about the body, its rhythms and potential for change, Revolve brings audiences an intimate, multi-sensory encounter.

The proposed presentation will outline the development of Revolve, discuss the various outcomes and address a number of different issues around the dramaturgies of collaborations and the role of agency when spread across multiple collaborators. Revolve derives from experimenting within the areas of intersection of the collaborators’ respective disciplines, and as such stands as a valuable experience in art-science collaboration.

Further on, discussion points will include the design of the lighting score and interactive system that utilises wearable technologies to allow the solo dancer to control a generative sound environment. In turn, the sonic feedback influences the emerging choreographic score, inducing constraints and generative cyclic patterns for movement.
The concept for Revolve developed in part through consideration of the impact of electronic and digital technologies upon our body’s capacity and desire for sleep in an era that is always ‘on’. Today’s multitasking digital media environment is changing the way we process information, and has the potential to transform sleep patterns, much in the same way as the invention of artificial light changed our sleep habits. Performance, which has the ability to slow down thinking and invite contemplation through physical effort and corporeal presence, insists upon the variability and affective trace of the body. It is one way of addressing or connecting those forces that relentlessly impinge upon us, from the outside, and those forces we can muster within ourselves, to transform that outside.


Rachael Priddel Tangibility

As our reality becomes increasingly mediated and the environments in which we live continue to be augmented by digital technologies, there can seem to be a loss of physical connection with the world around us. Tangibility is an experimental situated animation piece exploring how tactility and touch can be highlighted, celebrated and experienced within the digital world. Through manipulation of both the physical and the digital, Tangibilty seeks to answer the question, can the intangible be made tangible?

Currently in development, this project explores the nature of touch through visual representations of four common, whilst varied, tactile experiences – walking in high heels, running a hand along a chainlink fence, sipping a warm cup of tea and sinking into a comfy armchair. These experiences are represented through abstract stop motion animation and projected into tactilely interactive environments. As the tangible medium of stop motion becomes an intangible digital projection that, in turn, is controlled by interactive tactile objects within the space, the work explores the complexities of the role of touch in the convergence of our digital and physical worlds.

This work is based on extensive research into sensation, representation and interaction. Deleuze’s concept of the movement-image, as well as his and Guatarri’s discussion of the aesthetics of sensation combined with recontextualisations of Norman McLaren’s animation aesthetics and modern understandings of spatiality and interactive mediations, Tangibility presents its audience with an immersive, visceral experience designed to elicit a physical sensation as much, if not more so, than an emotional one.


Marie-Claude Poulin & Martin Kusch Intérieur – a multi sensory immersive experience

This paper documents Intérieur, a dance-and-media live performance specifically conceived for an immersive fulldome environment, created by the digital performance group kondition pluriel. Presented as the inaugural event of the Satosphere, a new dome-shaped theater in Montreal, this artistic project intermixes a virtual immersive image and sound environment with live performance and culinary arts. Engaged in victual consumption and social rituals, the public becomes an integral part of a multi-sensory happening involving several senses: taste, touch, vision, smell, hearing, and movement.
The paper discusses the methodologies and artistic research undertaken towards the conception, development and implementation of a dramaturgical structure incorporating live performance, choreography, social rituals, savory delights and the experience of an immersive media environment, in order to provoke extreme states of sensorial empathy in the spectator. The text focuses on the creation process in this multidisciplinary project, the technological framework, the virtual scenography, the preformative strategies and the project’s artistic context.
It describes the steps that had to be taken to develop the central element of the work: the hyper amplification of the inner state of a woman with mental disorder and psychotic behavior. In the piece two live performers are incorporating one personality. The dome is used as a magnifying glass, as a huge organ reflecting the brain and the internal psychological state of the two performers, engaging the audience into a strange feast, an immersive experience that explores the possibilities of what one can describe with “trompe sense”, an attempt to create a total visceral experience for the audience.
The author argues that with this type of artistic explorations new avenues of hybrid converging and diverging realities can be critically examined and a new sense of space and place, of object and subject can be displayed.

Thecla Schiphorst self-evidence: a fertile resistance : a non-alienated view

This paper explores the concept of self-evidence in our experience with technology. Hilary Putnam, has suggested that a ‘non-alienated’ view of knowledge should include the internal reckoning of the self in connection with external account of the world: “The current views of ‘truth’ are alienated views; they cause one to lose one part or another of one’s self and the world… my purpose is to sketch the leading ideas of a non-alienated view.” Supported by concepts of somaesthetics, somatic phenomenology and discourse surrounding ‘felt-life’ within human computer interaction, this paper describes a history of applying somatic body-based practices as an epistemological framing to interaction design. The purpose is to invite a re-thinking of the process of design for technology, one that includes design for the experience of the self. This paper critically reflects upon the historical design of a series of wearable installations called whisper, exhale, soft(n) and tendrils. By engendering a role for cultivating self-awareness within interaction, our digital technologies can support the development of an attentional skill-set for experience. Viewing experience as a skill that can be evolved, is an epistemological framing that is central to somatics practice and growing interaction design principles which include self-efficacy and self modification as experiential outcomes of interaction. In Personal Knowledge , Michael Polanyi proposes the concept of indwelling: the application of experiential skills within our use of tools and technology. Polanyi describes the way in which we ‘share a field of experience’ by extending ourselves into our tools and technologies. Polanyi exemplifies the connection between an experiential self-evidence leading to a non-alienated view of technology design.
By framing somatic body-based practices as an epistemological strategy that incites a fertile resistance within normative technology design, we suggest a fertile resistance that includes self-evidence as a central material in the design of ourselves.