3D (embodied) projection mapping and sensing bodies : a study in interactive dance performance




Beira, Joao Filipe

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This dissertation identifies the synergies between physical and virtual environments when designing for immersive experiences in interactive dance performances. The integration of virtual information in physical space is transforming our interactions and experiences with the world. By using the body and creative expression as the interface between real and virtual worlds, dance performance creates a privileged framework to research and design interactive mixed reality environments and immersive augmented architectures. The research is primarily situated in the fields of visual art and interaction design. It combines performance with transdisciplinary fields and intertwines practice with theory. The theoretical and conceptual implications involved in designing and experiencing immersive hybrid environments are analyzed using the reality–virtuality continuum. These theories helped frame the ways augmented reality architectures are achieved through the integration of dance performance with digital software and reception displays. They also helped identify the main artistic affordances and restrictions in the design of augmented reality and augmented virtuality environments for live performance. These pervasive media architectures were materialized in three field experiments, the live dance performances. Each performance was created in three different stages of conception, design and production. The first stage was to “digitize” the performer’s movement and brain activity to the virtual environment and our system. This was accomplished through the use of depth sensor cameras, 3D motion capture, and brain computer interfaces. The second stage was the creation of the computational architecture and software that aggregates the connections and mapping between the physical body and the spatial dynamics of the virtual environment. This process created real-time interactions between the performer’s behavior and motion and the real-time generative computer 3D graphics. Finally, the third stage consisted of the output modality: 3D projector based augmentation techniques were adopted in order to overlay the virtual environment onto physical space. This thesis proposes and lays out theoretical, technical, and artistic frameworks between 3D digital environments and moving bodies in dance performance. By sensing the body and the brain with the 3D virtual environments, new layers of augmentation and interactions are established, and ultimately this generates mixed reality environments for embodied improvisational self-expression.


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