Elly Jessop Nattinger, Experience Engineer

people + space (+ technology)

Disembodied Performance

James Maddalena wearing a prototype of the Disembodied Performance sensor system

Myself with James Maddalena

With Tod Machover and Peter Torpey

Early in the opera Death and the Powers, the main character, Simon Powers, is subsumed into a technological environment of his own creation. The theatrical set comes alive in the form of robotic, visual, and sonic elements that allow the actor to extend his range and influence across the stage in unique and dynamic ways. This environment must compellingly assume the behavior and expression of the absent Simon. In order to distill the essence of this character, we recover performance parameters in real-time from physiological sensors, voice, and vision systems. These gesture and performance parameters are then mapped to a visual language that allows the off-stage actor to express emotion and interact with others on stage. Our approach takes a new direction in augmented performance by employing a non-representational abstraction of a human presence that fully translates a character into an environment.

Related publication: Torpey, P. and Jessop, E. "Disembodied Performance." Proceedings of ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Boston, 2009.

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