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Lights! Dance! Freeze!
Theodoros Papatheodorou and Jessica Wolpert
Lights! Dance! Freeze! is an experimental film installation exploring tangible, whole-body interaction between humans and machines, enabling new ways to navigate complex data such as movement, dance, and pose. It comprises of a pose tracking system, a film clip and pose database, and a pose search engine. Influenced by the concept of expanded cinema, we aimed to create an immersive and innovative experience, combining film, performance, and technology. Aesthetically inspired by The Clock and Land Lines we sought to allow participants to form a collage of movie clips from various musical eras and styles using their whole body. Inspiration for this work also came from Move Mirror where the authors matched participants’ live poses to similar poses in a random collection of static images of people performing daily activities. Building on this idea, we linked participants’ poses to videos of dance moves as well as images. We developed a pose indexing system and custom software to match participants' poses to dance videos and images, playing back matching clips with low latency. The skeleton tracking we developed accommodates even the most challenging dance poses.
Dr Theo Papatheodorou is a professor of computational art at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Guangzhou, a creative technologist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He completed his PhD in computer science at Imperial College London and has taught and researched computational arts since 2011 at various institutions in the UK, Greece and China. Since 2015, he worked at Goldsmiths, University of London where he setup the MFA in Computational Arts, one of the most esteemed programs of its kind. He is the founder and director of Random Quark, Creative Technology Studio, a cutting-edge digital atelier that specialises in crafting immersive and interactive experiences, seamlessly blending art, technology, and design. The studio brings together a diverse team of skilled engineers, designers, and artists, dedicated to pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation. Together they fuse generative design, artificial intelligence, and data visualisation to develop bespoke installations, performances, and exhibitions that challenge conventional notions of art and technology.
Jesse Wolpert is a senior lecturer in creative computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is also the Director of Goldsmiths’ flagship masters programme in Computational Arts. Her background encompasses physical computing, psychology and therapeutic processes. Her work is broadly concerned with how we can best use technology as a tool to help us think about and understand human emotions and behaviour. As part of this effort, she draws on methods from psychotherapy and performance as a way of commenting on the human condition. As a physical computing expert her work is deeply rooted in the user experience and the science of interaction design. Between academic positions she has worked variously as a technology consultant, jeweller, software developer for merchant banks, event planner and founder of a technology circus school for children and adults.