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

Performance Photo


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Footprints in the sand tell us where a person was walking. Imprints in an object indicate the presence of another object in the past. To define the space a body is occupying, we can use imprints as indicators of the object's presence. Since our intention was to define the dancer's presence within the virtual space, we needed an initial space with objects, which could be imprinted. For simplicity we used a literal implementation of a room with a table, chair and a column.


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Example Movie

Stage View
Computer Image
As with there is a space that is explored by the movement of the dancer's hand. Not only a light source is attached to the hand, also a factor that deforms the surfaces inside the space, for example the floor, the wall or the furniture. The deformation stays as a trace of motion, as a memory of imprints inside the space made by the body.


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In this experiment the clear connection between a body moving in real space and the body's effects in the virtual room is easily legible. The dancer is causing imprints and leaving behind a recorded translation of the movement sequence in the unstable room.

A very valuable tool for any dancer is the imagination, for example the ability to internally visualize moving with or around an imagined object and examining the details of one's vision. In this experiment a very concrete setting of a room with objects in it is displayed on the projection. In the experiment set-up the time of deformation (the time it takes to deform one part of the room) is fixed. This has an influence on the dynamic and movement-speed of the dancer, in this experiment limiting it to a slow speed.
When improvising with an internally visualized image a dancer is just imagining the deformation of an object and he is free to adjust the degree of deformation with his imagination at any moment and can easily change between different speeds of movement.

At times we continued to run this experiment for more than 5 minutes which resulted in an image on the screen that was not recognizable any more as a distorted room with furniture but became a composition of abstract objects that held information about direction and force of past movements.


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Admittedly a ball is not a very accurate approximation of a human, but the impression of a spatial presence in the virtual space is surprisingly strong. We guess this effect is related to our concept of presence of being able to have an impact on the surrounding.

It was difficult for a spectator to correlate the virtual space with the real space at locations other than the location where the action took place. Additional hints, e.g. real objects like a chair and a table having their representation in the virtual space, might help.

Given our setup parameters the action had to be distributed over the space to get a legible result and motion had to be relatively slow for a reasonable deformation.


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Related Experiments:


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  • Graphics PC
  • Projector
  • Polhemus tracking system: 1 Sensor



  • The Sensor is attached to the dancer's left hand. The position of the sensor is controlling the position and orientation of a directional deformer. Additionally a mobile light source is attached to the sensor's position.
  • The Deformer has a constant spherical extension. All polygons which are within the deformer's extension are displaced according to the deformer's direction and strength. The direction of the deformer is related to the current direction of the sensor movement and limited to a spherical section. The deformation strength depends on the speed of the sensor's motion. The Technical Screenshots below show the deformer as a green wireframe sphere and the calculated direction of deformation as a green cone.


Technical Setup

Spatial Setup

Technical Screenshot 1

Technical Screenshot 2
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