Isadora 2.5, new chapter for creativity server, 3D shaders

In the landscape of live visual tools, Isadora is something special. Despite being known mostly in certain circles – its name itself is a nod to the world of dance (Isadora Duncan) – it’s uniquely adept in those worlds. When it comes to mixing live visuals and interactivity with modern dance and theater, for instance, Isadora (now on both Mac and Windows) is essential. Why Isadora I always had special admiration for Isadora, and its creator, Mark Coniglio. In fact, his was one of the first computer performance tools I ever saw – his original project, called Interactor. I was …


The Visualized Opera: Vitruvian Melds Dance, Digital with Operetta [unrender]

Get ready for the high Renaissance of the digital. The individual ingredients remain the same. But the threads of transmedia work, spanning everything from traditional costume design and choreography to the latest generative projections, draw ever closer. A new generation of artists treats projection in the theater as something elemental, something that demands exploration. Vitruvian, premiering its latest iteration in Berlin Friday as part of our event unrender with LEHRTER SIEBZEHN, has gradually evolved in the ways it interweaves dance with opera, projected visualization and interactive sound with dance theater. An “interactive opera” in one act, it unapologetically adds digital …


Responsive Kinect Dancing Goes Hip-Hop [Video, Tips]

Body mapping and dance/visual fusions are still explored only in fits and starts, compared to the extent of live music and visual performance in other media. So, it’s encouraging to see this latest experiment from dancer Christian Mio Loclair. Working with Microsoft’s Kinect, the slowly-undulating tendrils of visuals behind him create visual counterpoint for headstands and hip-hop dance techniques. Far from running up against latency, here there’s a sense of visuals that answer the moves with a slow sigh, creating a kind of living architectural space behind him. The tools: ofxOpenNI and ofxCV work with OpenFrameworks to analyze imagery from …


Stories Come to Life, as the Human Element Meets Projection Mapping

Projection mapping live performance art – The Alchemy of Light by a dandypunk from a dandypunk on Vimeo. “The Alchemy of Light” makes projection mapping more than a sculptural, light-painting illusion. It allows the digital motion image to interact with the performer. And the human performer is a big part of what makes this work. The project comes from performance artist by the name of “a dandypunk” (Joel Sebastian), and the Cirque du Soleil-veteran performer makes his movement as dazzling as the projected imagery. The work is in turns fanciful and poignant, and the dance of imagery and the dance …


From Beautiful Ambient Modern Dance to Dubstep, Gestures to Music in Kinect (Download the Tool)

It started as some compelling demos or proof of concept, but it’s plenty real now: the tools for translating movement, gesture, and dance from the body to interactive music march forward. Empowered by Microsoft’s Kinect and an artist-friendly toolchain, even a single, clever developer can do a lot. Sound designer, music producer, and Max/MSP developer Chris Vik of Melbourne has been one of those busy early pioneers, with an incredible tool called Kinectar. So, the tech is cool and shiny and impressive: what about the actual music? And, even more importantly, what if all the hand waving and moving about …


Dance Technology: Proximity, with VDMX, Quartz Composer, OpenFrameworks, Syphon

With new hybrid performance comes new hybrid tools, as artists can work with an arsenal of evolving, often open, creative visual software. In a new performance for Australian Dance Theater, multiple tools merge to produce an array of visual features to accompany the choreography. Some of the glue is Syphon, the open source framework for sharing textures on the Mac, so it’s fitting this news comes our way from Syphon co-creator Tom Butterworth. Tom writes: I’ve just been doing some coding work for something I thought might make a good CDM story. It’s a new performance by Australian Dance Theatre, …


Remembering Merce Cunningham, Digital Motion, and Digital Portraits

Merce Cunningham has died at 90, having continued to work on innovative new choreography and digital choreography as recently as this year. His age makes that loss no less difficult artistically, and many of us are deeply indebted to his singular sense of time, as I discuss alongside electronic music connections on CDMusic. But he leaves behind, as well, a unique legacy in digital movement, one that is echoed in unending electronic portraits of him and his own motion. Merce led the way in applying digital techniques to motion – electronic movement, if you will – using software like the …