Project One – Precedents and Examples

Introduced in 2010, the Kinect was originally a skeleton tracking device that aimed to bring a embodied or motion gaming where users directly exact movements and actions to video games. Its preference port of USB connection and uncompressed transference of motion data attracted artists and practitioners of various fields ranged from visual arts to medicine to explore and experiment with the device. Today, it is one of the preferred tools in working with body and motion capture for new media enthusiasts and students.

It is natural that one should review his/her/its works in the light of creations and depictions of others. Thus, I found some interesting works from artists that chose to utilise the Kinect, looking at them in intrigued and curious light and putting my work side by side with theirs to allow contemplation and inspiration.

First, I would like to talk about the collaboration of a Polish choreographer-dancer-performer Irena Lipińska with media artist Paweł Janicki to produce an episode of ArtKod, a series of Kinect tutorials for the National Audiovisual Institute in Poland. In this episode, Janicki designed series of audiovisual output of stick, box and overlaying figure which danced in unison with Lipińska but in laterally inverted direction.The collaboration struck closed to my work as the embodied interactive and exploration with visual and audio dancing in accordance to the user movement and body position. Their work is of another instance of audiovisual performance that incorporated human actant with virtual materiality. I would love to achieve the balance and stability between these varying spectrum of spaces which my work lacked due site constraint and insufficient time.

Then, there was a group assignment of students from Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) of New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Jordan Backhaus, Sergio Mora-Diaz and Oryan Inbar teamed up to work toward their final project, Void in Introduction to Physical Computing. Their work caught my interest as they employed the art direction of projection mapping, and projected their light spheres of points on 32 tulles hanging around the space which provided a three dimensional visual screen. Once the light was off, one would be thrown into a ephemeral arena of light particles that changed their projectile and trajectory along with the user’s proximity and movement. It was a good exploration of tangible screen and offered an extension of thought in regarding the materiality of the screen..

Next, there was Wall of Rain 1.0 by Charles Bail which narrated a “forest” in peace until the “invaders” came and the storm started. When users enter the screen, the forest was clouded and in the total darkness only drops of rains could traced the silhouettes of “invaders” although limited which created another perception of self across another world, another screen. It offered a recognition of one which register through violent and forced intrusion and obstruction of the surroundings.

Finally, the “unnamed soundsculpture” by Daniel Franke and Cedric Kiefer. The motion and position movement of a dancer in visualising a sound work with her body was recorded and recreated in 3D environment. Three Kinect devices was used to triangulate the three dimensionality of the dancer to accommodate our perception and allow immerse freedom for subsequent post production. The captured data (.obj) would be transferred to 3D software (3DS Max) for creative development. The strange, mysterious and ephemeral world and its representation in existence owned partly to the sensitivity and limitation of the Kinect which Franke and Kiefer tried to reduce by creating a field of “perfect stage” with meticulous measuring and staging of the dancer. Their work took to the depiction of an alternative form of an existence, of a world, and of a camera.

While all of them strive to offer alternative to the camera and screen, their overall concept of a camera remained constant of a static rectangular box bounded to the ground by gravity. My work took a completely reverse direction. It tried to destablise the world/camera and its representation rather than to create a new one. The choose of the chaotic and uncharted navigation of creating or the recollection of order fell on its user. It also hinted at the larger-than-the-screen or the off-screen for the world is too large for a screen to contain and it spelt out of bounds but exists nonetheless. The reviewing of my work in the light of those works suggest many improvements, extensions, and further experiments that will surely come. All is left but the time.


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