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Body Editing: Interactive Dance Experiments, With Sensors and Gesture-Based Technologies (2014-2021)

The series of research creation projects began with discoveries we made while experimenting with a series of interacting cameras and indoor sensors, as part of the Portage project, creating the ability to transform a person’s image into a perimeter or space made up of with any content developers chose. This became the I-spy/paint by body project, prototyped as a playful history game (allowing users to collage historic images at spaces in Toronto,) and the playful game “Chase Ken”, where users see Ken projected into a space, and try to locate him in Toronto. 

However, I was particularly struck by the embodied experience made possible by witnessing one’s real image as it is projected into and embodied by a different image on screen. This curious embodied experience became a space for subsequent embodied dance experiments that we call Body Editing. In a series of Iterations (noted below), we added gesture and sensor-based data capture and various forms of data feedback- visuals projected on screens and audio projected into the performance space. In these experiments we were seeking to challenge common theoretical claims that human machine interactive could be immersive. Instead we found, like in the case of mediation, movers come in and out of an immersive experiment when engaging with biofeedback – regardless of whether it is in visual, sonic or hybrid form. The closest dancers came to feelings of apperception or unthought interactive, was in the Pas des Deux with algorithmic creature iteration, where computer learning algorithm is deployed to create responsive creature interactions to the dancer’s movements. 

Subsequent experiments were derived from these, including the movement games for older adults, (see Ageing and Health Technology Research) and Satellite, Mandala and Pollinator games (see Games and Apps Development).


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