Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The movement of air

More magic from Adrien M / Claire B in October 2015's Le mouvement de l'air / The movement of air:
A front show designed for three dancers in an immersive environment shaped by projected images. Those are computer-generated for the dancers to play with, making up a digital score performed live by a digital interpreter. The performance matches seemingly impossible visions: images look alive while bodies fly, defying gravity. The acrobatic and digital choreography outlines a body language that involves a new relationship to time, space and the whole world. Beyond looking for technical achievement, what matters is the attempt at creating a motion dreamscape by way of images.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Haiku in motion

La compagnie Adrien M / Claire B presented Hakanaï at the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) in Vancouver last Friday. Those of us who couldn't see it live will have to be content with the trailer:

Hakanaï / trailer from Adrien M / Claire B

PS: I do love what these guys do...

Le mouvement de l'air: Work in progress from Adrien M / Claire B

XYZT - 2015 from Adrien M / Claire B

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What's New, Pussycat?

The moment I saw our Bottom up, I figured it was a matter of months till we saw the Cheshire Cat mocapped on stage. And here it is! The one thing I can't tell from these videos is whether the motion capture is live or pre-recorded.

Lysander Ashton of 59 Productions talked with The Guardian about wonder.land's visual inspirations, and also touched on the question of capture:
Q: Will you be making any technological innovations? 
A: We’ll be using quite a lot of motion-capture, which is quite new and novel in a theatrical environment, if not in a film-making one. Because there are going to be moments where the actor onstage interacts with a projected character, we’re going to have a motion-capture suit in the rehearsal room and have the scene played out between the two actors.
That sounds like it might possibly be pre-recorded, but I'm still not sure. I'll keep digging to see if I can find more in-depth intel on the making-of.

On a not unrelated note, fellow Manchester International Festival artist Ed Atkins explains his more conceptual Performance Capture to Aesthetica magazine.

(hat tip to Ryan Porter and Alan McLaughlin)

Friday, June 26, 2015

One step closer to the Holodeck...

Connected Worlds by studio Design I/O: a large scale immersive, interactive ecosystem developed for the New York Hall of Science.
"The installation is comprised of six interactive ecosystems spread out across the walls of the Great Hall and connected together by a 3000 sqft interactive floor and a 45ft high waterfall. Visitors can use physical logs to divert water flowing across the floor from the waterfall into the different environments, where children can then use their hands to plant seeds. As the different environments bloom creatures appear based on the health of the environment and the type of plants growing in it. If multiple environments are healthy creatures will migrate between them causing interesting chain reactions of behaviours. 
"The installation is designed to encourage a systems thinking approach to sustainability where local actions in one environment may have global consequences. Children work with a fixed amount of water in the system and have to work together to manage and distribute the water across the different environments. Clouds return water from the environments to the waterfall which releases water to the floor when it rains."
(h/t Nick Pagee!)

Stills after the break...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Full-length video of The Augmentalist at AWE 2015

This live presentation, the grand finale at last week's Augmented World Expo 2015, features Pascal Langdale as "The Augmentalist", with real-time animation powered by Dynamixyz Performer.

The eight-minute demo is followed by a four-minute behind-the-scenes talk by Pascal Langdale (performer, co-writer, producer) and Alison Humphrey (director, co-writer, producer) about The Augmentalist and the 2014 project that informed it, Faster than Night.

This story didn't actually start here, though. 

The previous day, our "augmented mentalist" worked his digital psychic mojo one-on-one with any visitor who stopped by our fortune-telling booth on the Expo floor. For more details, see these photos from the expo floor, and this teaser trailer:

And throughout the Expo's last day, leading up to his presentation as the grand finale, The Augmentalist introduced several keynote speakers, starting with the grandfather of VR and AR, Tom Furness:

Followed by renowned science-fiction author David Brin:

And finally Google Project Tango lead Johnny Lee:

Aug-ust company!

The Augmentalist
Presented June 10th 
at Augmented World Expo 2015 
in Silicon Valley, California.

Performed and co-written by Pascal Langdale
Directed and co-written by Alison Humphrey
Facial capture operator Solène Morvan

Performance capture powered by Dynamixyz
Facial animation by Centaur Digital and Dynamixyz

Produced by Motives in Movement
in collaboration with Dynamixyz and Augmented World Expo 2015

With development support from
and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council

Monday, June 15, 2015

Photos of The Augmentalist at AWE 2015

Pics from Augmented World Expo... Huge thanks to Ori Inbar, Tom Emrich, Gal Yaguri and the whole AWE 2015 team for three incredible days of futurevision!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Synetic Theater Gets Wet Wet Wet

I need to see this company live. At first I thought the water was a projected digital effect (as in Crystal Pite's The Tempest Replica), but nope – those folks are soaked!

Synetic Theater's The Tempest – multimedia design by Riki K.

(Hat tip to Matthew Olwell)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Trailer for the Augmentalist at AWE 2015

If you happen to be in Silicon Valley tomorrow, drop by Augmented World Expo for a fortune-telling session with The Augmentalist!

Animated using Dynamixyz Performer Realtime

Performed by Pascal Langdale

Directed by Alison Humphrey

Written by Alison Humphrey & Pascal Langdale

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Interactive Fiction and Fan Transmedia, Circa 1997

Today I belatedly discovered on Gizmodo a happy little history of a project I worked on back at the dawn of the interwebs: "The Secret Douglas Adams RPG That People Have Been Playing for 15 Years."

In the mid-'90s I worked as the web producer for The Digital Village, a multimedia company whose first product was a CD-ROM game titled (in the grammatically clunky but franchise-forward marketing spirit of Tom Clancy's Splinter CellDouglas Adams's Starship Titanic.

During the many moons the game was in development, we decided to help Douglas's fans cope with the suspense by creating a series of in-fiction websites – which eventually turned out to be one of the earliest examples of an alternate reality game.

The intergalactic travel agency website Starlight Travel was the first chapter, written by Michael Bywater and coded by Yoz Grahame. We then popped that propaganda with the "accidental" leak of a password to the Star-Struct Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Starlight Lines Corp.) Starship Titanic Construction Intranet. Yoz slapped together a rudimentary "StarStruct Employee Forum", the party started, and it's been fan-fiction-tastic for going on two decades since.

As long-time forum inhabitant Carolyn Wilborn wrote to Yoz when the site was in danger of falling victim to the dot-com bust:
Many, and maybe most, people watch TV to relax. They want to be told a story. All of this is well and good, but in my experience with the Forum, I saw something far more interesting. While the producers and programmers work to find a way for us to play with their creations, we are busy building our own. The StarStruct Employee Forum is interactive fiction. We didn't sit around and discuss what the game will be like or how we liked the book. We created characters, we put them on the ship, we invented storylines and conflicts, and we wrote a kind of story. It was often chaotic and frustrating, but it was (is) great.
I've been thinking a lot about this kind of interactive storytelling lately, with a project in the works aiming to mash up live theatre, interactive digital effects, and online co-creation. But when you're cooking up something new, it's always good to be reminded that we didn't start the fire...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Science + Fiction + Theatre

At a conference on public health history yesterday at the University of Toronto, I had some intriguing conversations about crossovers between science and art/entertainment, particularly how science fiction can welcome audiences deep into issues in public health.

It brought back a chat I had last year with Conall Watson of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

He described his work on a promenade theatre event called Deadinburgh, set during a zombie outbreak besieging the Scottish capital.

His team ran the public health advisory cell, "tasked with guiding the audience through different approaches to controlling the zombie epidemic; giving them insight into the usually back-of-house practices of the public health authorities.

We also had input into the epidemiological parameters and narrative of the overall show."

In a paper titled "Deadinburgh: zombie epidemics, citizen power and public health", he and his colleagues Kate Harvey and Nigel Field of University College London, describe the scenario:

"An unknown pathogen was ravaging Scotland’s capital in April 2013, turning unlucky infected souls into bloodthirsty, ambling beasts. The city was under military lock-down and scientists were working around the clock to identify the pathogen and develop means of control.

"Each night, 250 uninfected citizens reached the safe zone at a former veterinary college, taking democratic responsibility for the public health and military response.

"Whether immersive theatre and simulated situations can get people to engage with public health on a larger scale and help build trust and empathy with the way that science is used to inform public sector decision-making remains to be seen. What we do know is that people like science; people like zombies; and the two combined can help us to reflect on our own practice as public health professionals."

In the video below, Kate Harvey says, "Bringing in something from popular culture helps to appeal to a wider audience.... Public health has both art and science at its core. Public health is the art and science of promoting health and preventing disease and prolonging life.... But maybe what we haven't done so much of is using it as a means of communication, and actually putting some of the science back into art as well."

Click here to watch a video of Conall Watson and Kate Harvey discussing "Deadinburgh - the science of zombies" – a London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine podcast.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pixel Perfect

A fascinating discussion with theatre/digital media innovator Robert Gardiner and his stage design class at UBC yesterday reminded me that I've been meaning to post this:

Once again, the dance world is at the cutting edge of interactive projections in live performance. (Shades of Seventh Sense by Anarchy Dance Theatre & Ultra Combos!)
"Pixel is a dance show for 11 dancers in a virtual and living visual environment. A work on illusion combining energy and poetry, fiction and technical achievement, hip hop and circus. A show at the crossroads of arts and at the crossroads of Adrien M / Claire B’s and Mourad Merzouki’s universes."

Artistic Direction and Choreography: Mourad Merzouki
Composed by Mourad Merzouki & Adrien M / Claire B
Digital Design: Adrien Mondot & Claire Bardainne
Music: Armand Amar
Produced by CCN de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne / Compagnie Käfig

Pixel - extraits from Adrien M / Claire B

Some technical background from an interview by Vezér:
"eMotion is an app created by Adrien M / Claire B for creating interactions between graphical objects and real world information. Each scene is a Composition... trigged via OSC from eMotion or from QLab. This allow us to be perfectly in sync with sound. We mainly vary physical parameters (camera positions, frictions, gravity, viscosity, etc.), and trigger some cues in eMotion with the OSC Flag feature in Vezér."
Watch the full-length show on Arte Concert:

And watch them perform some mini-magic using the Leap Motion:

eMotion with the Leap Motion - Pepper's Ghost technique from Adrien M / Claire B