Elly Jessop Nattinger, Experience Engineer

people + space (+ technology)

Four Asynchronicities on the Theme of Contact

As part of my master's thesis work at the MIT Media Lab, I created an initial version of the Gestural Media Framework, a new development environment for gestural control of media in rehearsal and performance, allowing users to create clear and intuitive mappings in a simple and flexible manner by using high-level descriptions of gestures and of gestural qualities. Numerous mapping systems for digital media have been developed, but few of these systems incorporate gesture representations, or even much conception of gesture. I designed a system with a vocabulary of abstracted gesture and gesture quality objects, allowing for higher-level control of mappings. As part of the evaluation of the current version of this system, I choreographed a set of four pieces for public performance that uses this system to map dancers’ movements to control sound and visual elements, including video projection.

This dance/theater performance work, Four Asynchronicities on the Theme of Contact, was performed in Februrary 2010. In this performance piece in four movements, the performers' gestures and qualities of movements are used to control and shape media elements in real time, exploring the shifting and complex relationships between individuals, between the body and technology, and between the past, present, and future.

Related publication: Jessop, E. "A Gestural Media Framework: Tools for Expressive Gesture Recognition and Mapping in Rehearsal and Performance." M.S. Thesis. MIT Media Laboratory, 2010.

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The First Movement was a duet in which the performer's movement affected the theatrial lighting.

In the Second Movement, a solo performer shaped a complex soundscape through her dance.

The Third Movement was a duet where the performers created a musical score by the variations of their interactions.

In the Fourth Movement, the quickly shifting relationships between all five performers were echoed by fluid projected visualizations.

An early version of the Gestural Media Framework mapping system.