"A passion for bringing together expertise in the arts, computing and technology is inspiring the University of Greenwich's new Professor of Digital Creativity.
Gregory Sporton, who joins in January  from Birmingham City University, has spent much of his academic career researching the impact of new technology on the visual and performing arts. He is a former professional dancer and has also researched the history of ballet in Soviet times.
He is excited about introducing a new and original focus on the arts to Greenwich. 'I aim to gather together the expertise we have in so many disciplines, such as creative arts, computing, visualisation and all the rest, and make something new and interesting,' Professor Sporton says.
'The arts and sciences are drawn more closely together by technology: there is less differentiation than people think, and at Greenwich I want to build a research environment to explore that."
(University of Greenwich News, 17 December 2012)
"The basic idea of the project is built upon the consideration of creating a moving sound sculpture from the recorded motion data of a real person. For our work we asked a Laura Keil, a berlin based dancer to interpret a musical piece - Kreukeltape by Machinenfabriek - as closely as possible with the movement of her own body. She was recorded by three depth cameras (Kinect), in which the intersection of the images was later put together to a three-dimensional volume (3d point cloud), doing so we were able to use the collected data throughout the further process.
The three-dimensional image allowed us a completely free handling of the digital camera, without limitations of the perspective. The camera also reacts to the sound and supports the physical imitation of the musical piece by the performer. She moves to a noise field, where a simple modification of the random seed can consistently create new versions of the video, each offering a different composition of the recorded performance. The multi-dimensionality of the sound sculpture is already contained in every movement of the dancer, as the camera footage allows any imaginable perspective.
Similar to painting, a single point appears to be still very abstract, but the more points are connected to each other, the more complex and concrete the image seems. The more perfect and complex the 'alternative worlds' we project and the closer together their point elements, the more tangible they become. A digital body, consisting of 22 000 points, thus seems so real that it comes to life again.
Using 3 different microsoft kinect cameras the movement of the dancer was recorded into those 3d pointclouds that were synced and exported as one large dataset as Krakatoa particle files to be loaded into 3ds max for further rendering and creation of the 3d scene including the camera movement that is controlled by the audio as well."
(Cedric Kiefer and Julia Laub, onformative a studio for generative design)
"There are deep noises of gallops. The brown earth covering the floor reveals hundreds of tracks of wild animals in stampede. But instead, it is a set of dancers what appears on scene. Their presence is heavily felt through their turbulent footprints. The Rite of Spring is one of Pina Bausch's most celebrated choreographic pieces, included in the homage documentary PINA that Wim Wenders has just presented. A movie about the sign that her teachings on performative space left before her death in 2009: the Dance Theatre genre.
In her choreographies, earth is heavy. Flying dust materializes air. The void weighs. Water drops densify the emptiness. Living bodies become inert corpses. A closed-eyed dancer lets her mass fall down until the trust on her partner saves her from a mortal knock. Hands and feet become detachable prosthesis. The lightness of matter clashes over the presence of the ephemeral. Optical illusions...
In Choreographed Environments, Eva Pérez de Vega points out that 'considering immaterial effects in the production of a material practice, is not at all about ignoring the material per se. It refers more to the conception of a material production. It is about thinking how to make immaterial notions material; ultimately it is about creating material effects. [...] Architecture no longer consists of making building and Dance no longer consists of making dances. The hope is that as dancers continue to explore new territories as managers of space, architects too can conceive of space as managers of movement' (Eva Pérez de Vega, 2007, p.7).
For the movie, many pieces were performed again in unusual urban settings, such as inside and underneath Wuppertal's retrofuturistic sky-train, or inside other recent architectural iconic references (easy to guess!). Pina Bausch pioneered a strong performative approach to architecture and Wenders has made her pupils revive its immateriality in cult buildings for posterity: a clear effort to transmit Pina's philosophy of movement constructing space. Bravo!"
(via Daniel Fernández Pascual, Deconcrete, 16 February 2011)
1,2). Wim Wenders (2011). 'Pina', Germany.
3). Eva Pérez de Vega (2007). 'Choreographed Environments. A Performative Approach to Architecture', New York.