Full Circle: Towards VR

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Twenty years ago dancers working with performance technologies were happy to give away motion capture data in return for experience in systems or to simply get their hands on some equipment. 

They enjoyed the possibilities transformation and extension across media could bring. There were musings amongst the dance community in the nineties that motion capture might take away the spirit ( Kozel, 2007). Recently this fear has resurfaced —  this time, it’s not what is taken away, but what might become of the data. 

This paper follows a data journey through an AHRC-funded research project: ‘Capturing stillness: visualisations of dance through motion capture technologies’ to its present incarnation as ‘MAN A VR’. 17 dancers were motion captured to test how notions of embodiment are ‘read’, visualised and transmitted. An App MocApp was made for the dancers to view their data away from the studio. The research brought up ethical concerns, what culling and cleaning processes were needed to deal with the mounting accumulation of data. 

As the data makes its way into VR the artists’ processes loop. The dance navigates new performance spaces and game engines are used to explore how interaction experience re-engages with the complexities of the body to generate new understandings about our own body within the world. How does dance materialize and re-materialize in these different contexts? The performers are motion captured again, this time wearing VR headsets and responding to their original data selves. With our digital bloat have we come full circle? ‘swimming in a sensual digital pool of reciprocity’.

Kozel, S. (2007) Closer: Performance, Technologies, Phenomenology Leonardo Book Series MIT Press
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventDigital Research in Humanities and Arts: Data Ache - University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Sep 201713 Sep 2017


ConferenceDigital Research in Humanities and Arts
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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