Web and installation work
Commissioned by Future Physical and essexdance as an installation 2002. Online version produced in association with SCAN, 2005. Currently it can be seen adapted for the web as part of the Data Agency exhibition curated by SCAN www.scansite.org and also on the Igloo website www.igloo.org.uk
A landscape from beyond the edges of the browser window that gives glimpses of unseen places. dotdotdot is constructed using several different motion capture systems and improvised performances creating abstract digital portraits. These animated avatars move and react to players inputs within an online virtual environment.
Optimised for WindowsXP with IE 5.2 or Mozilla Firefox - will run in Mac OS X & Os 9.2 but may crash browser when closing the window.
Requires the Shockwave plugin and Real Player
“dotdotdot provides a good example of the ways in which practitioners using old media and new media can collaborate to produce an ongoing body of work challenging the canons from which each component of the work orginates. Using motion capture, web tools, animation, games engines, sound and movement dotdotdot presents a series of animated interactive vignettes. These can be manipulated in terms of speed, sound, rotation and movement so that the basis of the range of visuals on offer stays the same but also so that the viewer/player can change them to accommodate their own preferences. Each work has an Igloo signature but it allows the viewer to manipulate, play and be creative - after years of artists striving for truly interactive work, dotdotdot knowingly works with the limitations of interactivity in order to give the piece a characteristic style,
The viewer/player is presented with a range of choices involving genre orientated radio stations (you can choose drum & bass through to chart music) and a variety of visuals such as red, dot, bendy and plane. All these permutations and combinations together with the ability to interact with the animated figures in terms of speed and rotation challenge the viewer to think about the visual and audio styles in relation to their own experience of video, sound, animation and movement drawn from a variety of sources in day to day culture.
The project, which has been ongoing, is the product of Ruth Gibson, a dancer who is specifically looking at development of movement in the context of motion capture, and a programmer Bruno Martelli, who is interested in pushing the limits of technology in real physical contexts. The artists draw in expertise and collaborators as and when they need and the quality of the work is enhanced with every reworking. Their animations reflect these concerns with their 3D quality combined with recognisability of the human form in spite of the abstractness of the animated shape.”
Helen Sloan, Director - SCAN
“The physical and the virtual meet most agreeably in dotdotdot. A landscape from beyond the edges of the browser window that gives glimpses of unseen places. dotdotdot is constructed using several different motion capture systems and improvised performances creating abstract digital portraits. These animated avatars move and react to players inputs within an online virtual environment. The brainchild of Igloo - aka Bruno Martelli and Ruth Gibson - dotdotdot physically resides on two laptops hooked up to plasma screens.
dotdotdot’s accessibility belies its underlying complexity. At its heart is movement data, motion-captured from six dancers. Launch the program - having chosen one of six dancing forms - and you are presented with a dancing figure with which you can interact. Visually, the figures come in a variety of forms: from collections of dots which mirror the raw motion-capture data, via a figure that looks like it was constructed from pipecleaners to a figure constructed from typography. Instantly, you grasp the possibilities offered by motion-capture. Each dancing figure can be rotated and repositioned using the mouse (they all respond to mouse input in subtly different ways), panned and zoomed in and out. Extra visual effects can be applied to many of them, such as the addition of trails. The overall effect is fascinating and certainly leads to musings about the body and technology: however inorganic the figures look, they move in a human manner. The ability to rotate can create interesting visual effects - it is possible, with some of the dancing figures, to create the illusion that you are looking up at them from underneath the dancefloor, for example. Gibson’s choreography for the motion-captured dancers took in several styles of dance, including contact improvisation: Gibson explains that one dancer wore sensors while their partner did not - creating the effect of an invisible presence.
Martelli, meanwhile explains the complexity of the installation: five software packages were used to get from mocap data to end-product - namely Hypervision, Filmbox, Maya, Director and Shockwave. Martelli says that thanks to Shockwave’s advanced compression, even a five-minute looping dance sequence equates to a 600Kb download.’
Joining the dots by Steve Boxer, games journalist.
dotdotdot: choreographies by Ruth Gibson, Antonia Grove, Steven Brett, Jovair Longo & Rick Nodine. Interactive media Bruno Martelli, Guy Hilton. Design Igloo. Special Thanks to Company InSpace and Marshall White, Televirtual & Vicon. An igloo production, commissioned by Future Physical Commission in association with essexdance and online support from SCAN