Trailhead

“Trailhead” is the whimsical name of my final iteration of a three step process to create an interactive, experiential media patch in Isadora.

This patch was created in fulfillment of my work in Alex Oliszewski’s Devising Experiential Media Systems for Live Performance class in the Advanced Computing Center of Art and Design here in the Motion Lab (MoLa) at The Ohio State University. While it was created for this project, it’s reach and my exploration in the class already has further influence. I am working, in a Technology Practicum with Oded Huberman, to install the Kinect, projector and computer software in the Barnet Theatre for the upcoming Winter Concert, of which I am showcasing work.

This experience and plan to integrate is saddled alongside my interest to not only generate and utilize technologic systems for my movement compositions but involve them as a collabortive entity in the creation process. My cast for Winter Concert and I will be in the Barnett for rehearsals at the beginning of the systems to investigate our possible interaction with the technology to make a more cohesive and symbiotic outcome.

But before I get ahead of myself, the patch and open house experience itself:

We invited partipants into the MoLa and for my project I gave basic rules and verbal cues to interact. They included asking that 1-2 people enter the space at a time, exit the same way that they entered, and watch the floor for written movement prompts to explore when in the space.

Set up/behind the scenes

Set up/behind the scenes

Patch interactions

Patch interactions

Finding new ways to manipulate the projection/light

Finding new ways to manipulate the projection/light

Feedback from participants about experience and suggested improvements and alterations

Feedback from participants about experience and suggested improvements and alterations

Here is some of the feedback that was received as well as my observations:

  • One participant suggested I play with the velocity as a reactive element, using slow as well as fast as options. I explained that this actual was a step in the creation process but I preferred the allure of the constant light. I would like to in the future use the velocity in a different way because I agree it would add a lot of interest to the experience.
  •  When I asked them to “paint” the light with their hands, they actually rubbed their hands on the ground not in the air like patch necessitated. I realized after the first cycle of participants that using wording more akin to “conducting” would give them the depth information they would need to interact.
  • I found that their impetus after interacting for a while was to use try and use their feet to manipulate the light because the light was projected onto the floor. Giving them information about their vertical depth being a factor of body recognition would have helped them. On the contrary though, I did enjoy watching the discovery process unfold on its own as their legs got higher off the ground and the projection began to appear.
  • Another participant, when asked how they decided to move after seeing the experiential media said it was in a way of curiosity. They wanted to ask to test the limits of the interaction.
  • The most exciting feedback for me was when a final participant expressed their self-proclaimed ‘non-dancer’ status but said my patch encouraged them to move in new ways. Non movers found themselves moving because of the interest the projection generated. So cool!

I wanted to give the participants a little bit of information about the patch but not too much as to spoon feed it to them. The written prompts worked well, but as stated above, the “paint” wording while poetic was not effective. I am interested in how to improve this for future installation style interactions since my next uses will be more set in stone and the interactivity is exclusively with the dancers.

Here is the full video of the trail, the discoveries and manipulations were very exciting to witness, especially for something I created.

Below is the actual intelligence of the patch in Isadora and Vuo. I used the infrared sensors on a Kinect and a top down projector, both mounted in the grid, to achieve these affects. The use of infrared lights was important so that when stage lighting is added for ambiance, the sensors are not distracted.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 8.03.06 PM

Patch part 1

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 8.01.14 PM

Patch Part 2

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 7.54.38 PM

VUO connection.It received and sent the Kinect depth data to Isadora for me to use as tracking.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 7.55.09 PM

Different scenes in patch. “Come to me,” “Take a knee: Paint the light with your hands,” and “A little faster now” were all text prompts that would trigger when a person exited the space to give them instructions for their next interaction. The different “mains” was the actual trailing projection itself, separated into different colors. Finally, the “Fin” screen was simply there for a few seconds to reveal they had reached the end and the patch would loop all over again momentarily. This could potentially cause an infinite loop of interactivity, allowing participants to observe others and find new ways of spreading, interacting, hiding and manipulating the projected light.

I am extremely glad that I was lead to this class and am extremely excited to see how my future projects and impulses are shaped by this initial experience in my first semester. I look forward to asking how my relationship with technology, as a creator and user, can (in new ways) develop and be utilized over time.

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