> Motivation
> Example Movie
> Comment
> Conclusion
> Related Experiments
> Setup

Performance Photo


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How can a dancer visually define the virtual space? In addition to a thin line which describes the motion path, we introduced gray poles, which appear in regular intervals in time. The poles' locations and orientations are determined by the position and direction of the current sensor motion, thus accenting selected properties of the motion at certain measuring points in time and translating them into objects with spatial properties. In order to span the virtual space, we chose long poles in analogy to motion vectors serving as metering rules.

At the same time we were interested in the discontinuous properties of the digital space and tried to find a visual translation for that. Starting from the digital image being a raster of adjacent points, we conceived the space as a raster of adjacent cells. For visual and technical simplicity we decide to subdivide the virtual space into slices which are arranged along one axis and which move relative to each other (effectively each slice is displayed from a slightly different point of view). A rod shifting though the slices periodically shall serve as a visual constant to support the understanding of the split up of the space.


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Example Movie

Stage View
Computer Image
A red and a green ball indicate the dancer's hands, the red and green line are traces of the hands' paths. According to the direction and angle of the hands and attached sensors, gray poles are placed in space in the direction of their motion.


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When one looks at only the right side of the performance movie one sees two mercurial balls hopping around that at first do not seem to have any relation to what is happening to the poles. Later you realize that they are actually the moving motor of this rotating picture, always prefiguring where the poles will appear next. Maybe if the body movement had been kept simpler one would more easily recognize that the sensor's orientation cause the poles to be placed accordingly either vertically or horizontally.

It takes time to recognize which moving elements on the screen are dependent on Thomas' movement and which are independent. The slow turning of the virtual space and the slow passing of the square bar, both are not connected in any way to the dancer's movement.

The complexity of the projected image with its' different elements made it at first difficult for the dancer to find a way into it. The experience of moving in this set up was a lot about becoming aware of the surrounding virtual environment with its proposed elements. This awareness - once established - would stay with the dancer for some minutes even when stepping outside of the experiment.


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Compared to the thin line of the motion trace the poles are giving a stronger intuition of the space. Because only a few of them are visible simultaneously, the intuition stays vague and since the poles are disappearing, the structuring the space is temporary. In we let the dancer build up a construction of poles to keep the coherence of the established virtual space.

Because the subdivision of the space is legible only indirectly - when objects intersect or pass through several slices - the visual concept of a discontinuous space is hard to understand. In we tried to make the visual concept more explicit by giving the slices a graphical outline.


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Related Experiments:


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  • Graphics PC
  • Projector
  • Polhemus tracking system: 2 Sensors


  • The Sensors are attached to the dancer's left and right hands. The position of the sensors is controlling the positions of a red and green ball. When moved, the balls leave a trace in the form of a colored line. In regular time intervals Gray Poles are placed at the current position of the sensor. The poles' orientations are aligned to the 3 spatial axes according to the closest direction of the related sensor movement.
  • The Virtual Space is cut into 12 slices. Each slice has a defined extension within which a part of the virtual space is displayed. The slices can move arbitrarily in space. In this setup the slices are rotated and shifted slightly amongst each other. The effected part of the virtual space is transformed with the slices' transformation. Technical Screenshot 2 shows the slices as white outlined cubes.

Technical Setup

Spatial Setup

Technical Screenshot 1

Technical Screenshot 2
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