Elly Jessop Nattinger, Experience Engineer

people + space (+ technology)

Crenulations and Excursions

Rendering of installation

Detail of the Crenulations and Excursions set

Inspirational images for the development of the installation

As part of my doctoral thesis work, I developed a set of movement experiences titled Crenulations and Excursions. This work consists of two aspects: a public installation that allows visitors to explore a rich sonic space through their expressive movement, and a short dance performance that allows a trained performer to explore the expressive capabilities of the installation environment. With a tiny, energetic gesture, with a fluid and sweeping movement, a performer can create and shape layers of sound around herself. The installation and performance both explored the body as a subtle and powerful instrument, providing continuous control of continuous expression.

This piece was related to my doctoral work on new high-level analysis frameworks for recognition and extension of expressive physical performance. I built systems to intelligently capture and analyze qualities of movement, which were used in this context to control a rich audio environment. The goal of this framework is to analyze and recognize qualities of movement rather than to perform gesture recognition. The important thing is how a movement is made, rather than the identification of a particular movement. Crenulations and Excursions draws on a conducting metaphor rather than an instrumental metaphor, where the performer's or visitor's movement is used to shape and guide the qualities of the resulting soundscape.

This installation also incorporates a scenic design component to transform the space and create an evocative and inviting environment for performance and experience. This environment appears as a sculptural and textural outgrowth of the building, visually extending and surprisingly shifting the space. It mirrors the rich range of textures and qualities present in the sound and movement, and physically alters the acoustic results of the sonic playback to create an enveloping sonic environment.

I completed an early version of this installation and performance for the Media Lab's first internal version of "The Other Festival" in April 2013. A final version of the work was presented with in Fall 2013.

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