Motion Capture for the Audible Space:
Empowering the Spectator
With consideration of the questions arising from my time in Culemborg, I realize a desire to work with a space that responds directly to the spectator: to create a real-time dialogue between the spectator and the space, the space and my media, the spectator and the media… I felt the urgency to investigate people’s aural sensitivity.
So, I got to work in a period of time with an infra-red, network-based Motion Capture system in the HKU Ina Boudier-Bakkerlaan BlackBox. I assigned and mapped trigger-points in the space at which when an infrared sensor is moved through the area of a trigger, a sound that I designed is played. I experimented with an open space and also with a space containing an array of objects. Both gave interesting insights to spectatorship and how we listen to a space and each other. I also realized the stories within objects.
The results of the Motion Capture work-in-progress taught me 3 main things:
1 : Gestural Communication
Participants begin to listen gesturally as the motion capture triggers the audio through movement of sensors. This encourages curiosity in the spectator about localization of the sounds and trigger points, and great playfulness emerges between peers as they can jam together in the space. The space itself becomes an instrument : an open performative body.
2 : Objectivity and assigning meaning
With the object array, I placed several tin-cans within the range of the Motion Capture system. The space was dark and I assigned torches to the tracking nodes – so the audible response was triggered by the act of searching with the space and discovering the objects within the space.
Through feedback, I learned that people assigned different meanings to the object: some felt they were in a factory, some felt they were uncovering a social issue of unfair wages as per the operations of the brand of tins, and some people felt suspended by the object as the experience orientated around using the torch to investigate the tins and receive audible location responses.
3 : Technology : go far and return
As a scenographic researcher, I found that working intently and intensely with technology for a period of time immersed me in the blackbox environment. I became affiliated with the technology. I discovered how the technology serves as a tool of a design execution, not as a sole reasoning to create. This was a very interesting realization as I found that the technology should be employed in my practice as an extension of creative possibilities. I came back to my core ethos as a scenographer and re-realized my desire to use the space to sensitize us to the present, which the technology served here to do.