Bertha Bermudez, Scott deLahunta,
Marijke Hoogenboom, Chris Ziegler,
Frederic Bevilacqua, Sarah Fdili Alaoui,
Barbara Meneses Gutierrez

The Double Skin/Double Mind Interactive Installation


The interactive installation Double Skin/Double Mind is a virtual version of the Double Skin/Double Mind workshop. This workshop, which has been taught by dance company Emio Greco | PC since 1996, represents the basis of the creative work of choreographers Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten. Participants in this workshop are challenged to discover new interpretations of their dancing body.

Throughout 2006 an interdisciplinary research group, consisting of dance notators Eliane Mirzabekiantz and Marion Bastien, motion capture researcher Frédéric Bevilacqua, cognitive neuroscientist Corinne Jola, media artist Chris Ziegler, cinematographer Maite Bermudez, artistic researcher Scott deLahunta and EG | PC researcher Bertha Bermudez, focused on this specific workshop, trying to analyse and document it.

Different data from each research area were collected, and interactive graphic visualisation tools and motion capture implemented to create the interactive installation Double Skin/Double Mind. After its first test with dance professionals in the rich environment provided by Tanzplan, the interactive installation was developed further. With a particular focus on its use in professional dance education, the two-year collaborative, interdisciplinary research project, Inside Movement Knowledge, looked into new methods for the documentation, transmission and preservation of contemporary choreographic and dance knowledge. Currently the project is in its last phase of development and planned to be part of the year curriculum at the Amsterdam High School of the Arts, Modern Dance Department during the coming 3 years.

The interactive installation

The Double Skin/Double Mind interactive installation offers participants the possibility to take part in a virtual version of the workshop in real time, while receiving verbal, physical and peripheral information.

In the Double Skin/Double Mind interactive installation, an environment designed by Chris Ziegler (ZKM Karlsruhe) surrounds the participant, consisting of an aluminum frame construction with one projection screen, four sound speakers and one tracking camera. The movement-tracking program Gesture Follower developed by Frédéric Bevilacqua (IRCAM) compares the data of the filmed version of the workshop with the real time data of the participant’s movements. As result of this comparison different feedback will be given through an interface lay out that Chris Ziegler has developed. Through the terminological and movement analysis of the main chapters of the workshop (breathing, jumping, expanding and reducing), dance researcher Bertha Bermudez, together with Emio Greco and Pieter Scholten, has developed a glossary where most relevant concepts are defined. This glossary has been used within the research process as basic information for each discipline providing the main movement principles and qualities needed to create the interactive environment for transmission, the installation Double Skin/Double Mind.

Sonification, visualization and music accompany the experience of participants as they mentally and physically travel through the Double Skin/Double Mind structure and learn what the different demands of the workshop are. By following a life size-moving figure, the participants  recognize, compare and understand their actions and involvement in the practice of this workshop.

Defined by the research team during its development phase as 'an adaptation of the Double Skin/Double Mind workshop where participants can receive verbal instructions, visual and sonic feedback' the development of the interactive installation Double Skin/Double Mind departs from the research questions the interdisciplinary research project (Capturing) Intention was based on: What is it exactly that we do in our attempts at capturing dance? How do we deal with its ephemeral nature? Which are the existing systems for its documentation? How do these systems deal with qualities and intentions? And even more importantly: which disciplines can help us understand the knowledge that is dance? [1]

It is important to mention that some of these questions arise from the nature of the workshop Double Skin/Double Mind. This workshop focuses on qualities and intentions related to the form and execution of movements as well as on the idea of transfer; the process of transmission where main embodied concepts are passed from choreographer to dancer, or dancer to dancer, and in this case also to non dancers. With the workshop's specific qualities, intentions and modes of transmission providing the departure point for the installation development, the  need to question and adapt all involved elements (software, tracking systems, design and interactive modes) became essential. To achieve an awareness of embodiment the installation had to focus particulary on the question: how can motion capture, new media interface design and gesture analysis be used when looking at more qualitative elements than to quantitative parameters?

The installation environment, where workshop structures and feedback responses could be experienced, was conceived of as a space that could challenge motion tracking and quantitative analysis tools with principles related to qualities and states proposed by the workshop, such as:

Breathing.- Dialogue between inner body and outside space
Jumping.- Multiplication of the body.
Expanding.- Penetrating the space and lengthening the body
Reducing.- Incorporation of length and lines produced during expanding togethe

These previous examples from an early phase of development, are the result of thinking from and for different perspectives around the execution and analysis of dance. Trying to find common ground between language, physical experience and the sharing of expertise, the whole research process has been an achievement in the understanding of the other. The specific focus on four simple movement qualities versus a more general view of dance, allowed the research team to be very precise in their findings and proposals, while opening up ideas for future methodologies with more general purposes. On a different level, the developments made in relation to the field of dance education are still an open area, where much work remains to be done in understanding the use and function of such objects, within the studio and pedagogical curriculum of dance schools. As final reflection, the need for a long phase of categorization, definition and share parametrization of movement qualities has shown that the project's importance lies in its ability to to create common knowledge, language and ideas for the design, computarization and analysis of dance.

[1] Dedication from (Capturing Intention), Documentation, analysis and notation research based on the work of Emio Greco | PC© 2007, EG | PC and AHK ISBN: 978-90-810813-2-0

Modes of Performance

The performance of the Double Skin/Double Mind installation has been defined under two different modes; basic and workshop mode. The main difference between them lies in the structure length, on the performance of the software Gesture Follower and the type of sonic and visual interaction.

The basic mode represents a short version of the workshop Double Skin/Double Mind where some of the main qualities of the work of Emio Greco | PC are exposed and addressed to non-dance practitioners. The experience of this basic version is augmented through contextual explanations of what the action and purpose of each chapter’s use of sound feedback and different visualizations of the body (bounding box and silhouette) are. Participants can explore the installation during seven minutes or a maximum time period of eighteen minutes. In this mode, the installation is implemented to follow the actions of participants, responding to their involvement in the proposed actions. The main aim of this mode is to provide non-dance practitioners with an interactive physical experience as well as an insight into some principles of the work of Emio Greco | PC.

The workshop mode is directed at dance professionals and follows a format of four to five days. Divided into four different levels; workshop, learn, customize and play. The workshop level introduces participants to the space and content of the Double Skin/Double Mind workshop through a 45 minute video display, where Emio Greco teaches the workshop as in a real life situation. Emotive icons are projected on the body of Emio Greco providing the participant with immediate information on the essential quality of each workshop section. No interaction with the tracking and analysis system is active during this section.

The learn level, is a selection of the workshop's main chapters; breathing, jumping, expanding and reducing. Here the information is segmented into explanations, demonstration and close up details. For the first time participants are introduced to visual interaction and sonic feedback related to the actions of the participant within the system. Explanations are projected in a small monitor defined as ‘talking head’ and where the head of Emio Greco occupies the full screen while explaining essential information of each section of the workshop. On the main screen in front of the participant, demonstrations of the movements are projected. Close ups displayed to the side of the participant, in their peripheral vision, present details of the main body parts involved within each chapter. As remainder of the essential movement quality of each chapter previously presented emotive icons are displayed on the talking head area. Each chapter has a duration of 20 to 25 min allowing participants to access detail information of the workshop chapters while understanding the different feedback.

The customize level’s main condition is the possibility of choosing (customizing) the chapters and mode of interaction of the installation. In order to enhance the mode of learning of each participant, the full system can be modified through a selection of the chapters the participants wishes to experience as well as the mode in which the information will be displayed; with or without introduction videos, sound feedback, bounding box and silhouette visualization. A minimum of four chapters can be chosen through a mouse system allowing many different types of combination. An important part of this mode is the dissaparence of the body of Emio Greco as guidance and example of the movements and qualities. The body is replaced by written instructions that contain relevant summarized information of each chapter, acting as an experiential memory of the previous level. Participants enter in this customized level, the rich area of movement appropriation, where self-reflection and evaluation of their own actions play an important role.

The play level, changes the role of the game; participants stop receiving information and start delivering information to the system. Based on improvisation, play level makes use of the software Gesture Follower, where movements and qualities are recognized through pre-established parameters linked with the main chapters of Double Skin/Double Mind (breathing, jumping, expanding and reducing), to provide the participant with sonic, textual and visual feedback. On the side monitors words linked with the main qualities of movements appear as imaginary inspirational source for the participant to improvise. On the main screen an abstract object moving through four masses behaves in relation to the movements of the participant as result of the recognition of four main qualities; breathing, jumping, expanding and reducing. Each quality is also linked with a sound that is activated through the same process of recognition and that varies in pitch depending on the intensity of the movements of the participant. This level aims to test previous acquired experiences by the participant while testing the possibilities of the system to recognize different movement qualities. The final target is to give a life of its own to the learned material so that the dancer can feel free to develop new movements and qualities.

The workshop mode is the result of thoughts and discussions with an expert team of dance teachers as well as interdisciplinary researchers providing the interactive space of the Double Skin/Double Mind installation with an educational frame where the participant can have an enhanced learning experience through the use of emotive icons, text instructions, video explanations and demonstrations as well as sonic and visual feedback produced through video.
The development of this interactive installation has been driven by the wish to target different modes of learning (visual, kinetic, cognitive and sonic) as well as find the best way in which the structure and main principles of the workshop could be transmitted through new media .

Participants need to function as a group as well as individuals and progressively enter into an understanding of both the workshop as well as the system running the installation.


System Description

The Double Skin/Double Mind interactive installation is composed of: an infrared camera, four channel sound connection, infrared light and a display screen.

The infrared camera is placed at the top center of the structure. This
 device forms an image using infrared radiation, similar to a common camera forming an image using visible light. It allows the movement to be observed and tracked and sends the information to the software for analysis and feedback, mainly in the form of sound.

The four channel sound connection mixes the sound inside the interface, four outputs of sound inform the participant. The two at the front deliver Emio Greco's voice directions and the two at the back, the sound feedback produced by the visitor’s movements.

Light connection.
In order to be more visible for the tracking camera, four small infrared lights are placed centrally in the side of the structure. The two attached onto the lower part of the installation light the lower body and the two on the upper part, the upper body. For this reason is it important for the visitor to stay close to the center of the space so that the light can catch their full body.

Screen Display
. In front of the participant there is a main screen where all the directions and visual information are displayed. Emio Greco appears guiding the participant through the different parts of the workshop Double Skin/Double Mind. Besides him, a silhouette shows the body of the visitor and a bounding box, representing what the tracking system is observing.

Instructions for the participant

The installation is to be used by one single person at a time. Other people can watch if the person trying feels comfortable with it. The people watching should not stand within the frame of the installation and should keep a distance of one meter from the edge of the installation frame, to avoid disturb the tracking system. The space along the sides of the installation is a good place to watch.

Visitors to the installation should stand in the center of the space and try not to move too far forward or sideways, since then they will not be tracked by the camera and the whole system will not work properly. Some clothing can also disturb the tracking system and as result the bounding box won’t cover the full body. In this case it is good to tell the participant that this is happening. Then they can decide to change clothes or to continue the training knowing that their motions will not be tracked completely.

Visitors should feel free to follow the instructions given by Emio Greco through the main screen while being aware of the role of the sound feedback. Sometimes visitors do not realize that they are producing the sound, depending on how they move, in such a case it is good to tell them.


Inside Movement Knowledge

ICKamsterdam- Emio Gcreo | PC

Art Practice and Development Research Group (LKAO), the Amsterdam School of the Arts (AHK)

Gesture Follower:

F. Bevilacqua, F., Zamborlin, B., Sypniewski, A., Schnell, N., Guédy, F., Rasamimanana, N.« Continuous realtime gesture following and recognition », In Embodied Communication and Human-Computer Interaction, volume 5934 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 73–84. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, 2010.

F. Bevilacqua, F. Guédy, N. Schnell, E. Fléty, N. Leroy, " Wireless sensor interface and gesture-follower for music pedagogy", Proc. of the International Conference of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME 07), p 124-129, 2007

General Project:

, rtrsrch Vol.2 Issue 2, (published March 2010),

(Capturing) Intention, Edited by: Scott deLahunta, With contributions by: Marion Bastien, Bertha Bermúdez, Maite Bermúdez, Frédéric Bevilacqua, Maaike Bleeker, Franz Anton Cramer, Scott deLahunta, Marijke Hoogenboom, Corinne Jola, Susan Melrose, Eliane Mirzabekiantz, Chris Ziegler, Amsterdam 2007,,