DigitalBeing – Using the Environment as an Expressive Medium for Dance

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Dancers express their feelings and moods through gestures and body movements. We seek to extend this mode of expression by dynamically and automatically adjusting music and lighting in the dance environment to reflect the dancer’s arousal state. Our intention is to offer a space that performance artists can use as a creative tool that extends the grammar of dance. To enable the dynamic manipulation of lighting and music, the performance space will be augmented with several sensors: physiological sensors worn by a dancer to measure her arousal state, as well as pressure sensors installed in a floor mat to track the dancers’ locations and movements. Data from these sensors will be passed to a three layered architecture. Layer 1 is composed of a sensor analysis system that analyzes and synthesizes physiological and pressure sensor signals. Layer 2 is composed of intelligent systems that adapt lighting and music to portray the dancer’s arousal state. The intelligent on-stage lighting system dynamically adjusts on-stage lighting direction and color. The intelligent virtual lighting system dynamically adapts virtual lighting in the projected imagery. The intelligent music system dynamically and unobtrusively adjusts the music. Layer 3 translates the high-level adjustments made by the intelligent systems in layer 2 to appropriate lighting board, image rendering, and audio box commands. In this paper, we will describe this architecture in detail as well as the equipment and control systems used.
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