United Kingdom/ Concept Documentation
An architectural/kinetic work immersing the participants within a responsive motion capture sculpture, offering them the opportunity to crystallise their movements, amplify their every gesture, and magnify their reach.
This multi-audience interactive installation by Alex Haw (atmos) & Mauritius Seeger (dr. mo) explores the intersection between surveillance and personal space. It presents an immersive environment for augmenting the scope and reach of the body – a performative apparatus carefully examining and dramatically magnifying the volumetric effects of human movement. It uses robotic articulation powered by the latest computer vision – using and modifying off-the-shelf technology for both.
The project encloses its visitor with a series of modular, vertical structures, each hung with a series of extendable articulating arms – interlocking lasercut polycarbonate limbs that rest in a vertical closed position, concealing the occupant, poised and waiting to react. Motion within the enclosure deforms the delicate lattice by precisely the degree of movement detected, mirroring the body – doubling and elongating the participant’s kinetic volume in all directions. The geometry of the static enclosure is generated from the dimensions of a statistically average human, and the radial reach of their limbs; the length of the extensions samples typical arm and leg dimensions. 3D motion is captured using an array of domestic motion capture cameras arranged vertically in a tight ring around the visitor, meshing portraiture (not landscape) formats and feeding a pair of computers above that control the installation.
Body-scanning usually compresses its rich 3-dimensional information back to a flat screen; our system turns the 3D data of its pixel points into 3d space around the body, surrounding performers with a light shroud of hairs which act as extruded pixels once activated. The shroud acts as a mask for the body – reassuringly protective, like a shield, but also keenly active, its balletic movements unfurling like a fern, rippling like grass in the wind, and glowing with minute point light sources at their tips as the house lights extinguish, translating the occupant into an ever-changing constellation of moving light.
Selected by the RAN (Réseau Arts Numériques) Digital Arts Prize 2011
Alex Haw (atmos) with Mauritius Seeger (dr. mo)
Alex Haw is an architect and director of the award-winning art/architecture practice atmos – a practice dedicated to rethinking and improving our spatial world across the scales, from furniture to urban design. Their focus is on producing highly-crafted sensual spaces and designs that deploy cutting-edge fabrication technologies to produce kineaesthetic sensory experiences that are meaningful and beautiful. Much of their work involves digital mapping technologies, exploring the connectivity of people to their precise place in the world. Atmos were part of the team behind the Olympic CLOUD which Mayor Boris Johnson called “fantastic, remarkable”. Rory Olcayto, deputy editor of the Architects Journal, heralded atmos as “the coming of a new modernist expression”; Jay Merrick, the Independent’s architecture critic, described a recent project by atmos as “one of the most boldly conceived and executed small projects I’ve encountered in the past decade.
Alex studied architecture at the Bartlett (UCL) and won a Fulbright to Princeton. He worked for the Richard Rogers partnership on T5 Airport and Korea’s Yoido apartments, Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners on the Eden project and Paddington station, Diller + Scofidio on Blur, and Seth Stein Architects on various homes. He has taught architecture at the Architectural Association, Cambridge University, and TU Vienna, and currently runs a Master design studio at the Royal College of Art. He writes for various magazines, lectures widely, and runs Latitudinal Cuisine.
Mauritius Seeger is a creative developer and video artist. His current work focuses on interactive installations, projections, lighting, information kiosk, games and art projects that draw on his experience in programming and computer vision, combining his interests in lens based media with the power of software to create engaging audience responsive installations.
Mauritius has a background in physics, a PhD in medical optics and has worked at Sony and Xerox R&D centres in fields such as user image processing, machine learning, computer vision, camera scanning of documents, mobile entertainment, user centred design and games development.