Day 11 / Research: Physical space

Considering the space

Over the past few days Joanna has researched a lot in terms of environmental issues surrounding estuaries, human impact on living systems as well as the relationship between the body, it’s actions and the control it has over them (self-agency) – since there seems the be a big focus on the body in the way we edit our MoCap data sequence. For example Matt has stressed the importance of extending the arm movements along a plane which Darryl has created, and then has further emphasised this by experimenting with attaching camera’s to specific markers along that horizontal plane i.e the chest for more stable movement, and the hand for more erratic fast paced camera movement. While watching our assets move around in today’s test, the connection to the body and the notion of going from the outside, inside was something that both Chris and Holger mentioned. Therefore, I thought it would be very interesting to research into how the bodies of the audience would interact with the physical space as well.

What I found was this research report from Clare Dyson – a choreographer, researcher and choreoturg who’s research focuses on audience engagement. One of the key insights that I got from her report is the notion of the audience’s body as a site of understanding (Dyson 2015) as she explains “we experience the world via our bodies rather than only via the intellect”. (Dyson 2015) But as the curator of the performance, we have to engage with the audience and invite them to participate as ‘When the spectator participates in the work, they become ‘fused with it’”. (Oddey & White 2009) Therefore, it is only then that they can understand it through their body. Since, our 30-second animation is not interactive, don’t image that the audience would feel ‘fused’ with it, but it some way we would like to feel as though they are transported into a space, immersed in it. I think our approach to editing our assets and focusing on the way in which the camera shifts perspective, is a good start in bringing that level of immersion to the audience. However, for our 5 minute proposal, I feel it would be very interesting with the motion capture technology available in the Data Arena, to explore the possibility of interactivity and building that relationship between audience and the physical and screen space.

Another aspect of Dyson’s research that I was interested in was Audience Agency which can been seen in ‘The Scales’ diagram below (specifically the 3rd scale down). Looking at this diagram with the Data Arena in mind, our experience would be closer to the right of the scale – “open possibilities” – audience choose where to move and what to watch as there is no set seating or strict requirements of where our audience should be. They could be sitting, standing, lying down or walking around. Due to this, we cannot predict where they will be looking at a given moment, thus it is very important that we create focal point/s with our visuals and guide the audience through the experience.

Mapping the Experiential diagram

I like that Dyson has created these scales, as you can really gain a sense of how you can curate the experience and in effect understand how much choice you give the audience. Additionally, she writes “audience agency within the traditional presentation paradigm for dance, is often limited or non-existent…non-participatory engagement is a widely accepted for of spectatorship.” Therefore by creating a space that challenges convention and invites the audience to participate whether that be through actual participation in our 5-minute experience or by merely placing the audience at a perspective where they feel as though they are part of the environment around them, it could have a very impactful and emotive response from the viewers. In saying this, Dyson also notes that although an audience can be physically passive, it is not to say that they are unconnected or emotionally removed from the work. (Dyson 2015)

After going through this research, I appreciate the time we have available to test assets in the Data Arena as everything seems to change in there – assets come alive, everything is scaled up, you feel as though you are in the graphics and you quickly forget you are in a 4m high, 10m wide cylindrical space – it is kind of magical. Although we are only testing assets, I feel as though I have become ‘fused with it’ to quote Oddey and White.





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