The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 25, 2008

experimental mathesis

Today we began working with Azure repeating, as best she could, a dance
figure she created; it was relatively simple and involved the whole body.
each repeat was sent through motion capture into a filter designed by Gary
Manes. The filters were as follows: 0tan, .01sin, .0001tan, 1tan, .01tan,
10sin, 10tan, 100sin, 1000cos, 1000tan, 10000sin, 10000tan, 100000tan,
1000000000sin; there were some duplicates as well, for controls. The
results were studied in Poser and Second Life.

Azure's performance was documented with an antique Sony Mavica camera set
to multiburst; see mocapdance series.

A sample Poser video using a number of linked bvh files:

A video of Nikuko in Second Life moving through a bvh sequence that
appears surprisingly 'alive' in the usual sense:

A video of Julu in Second Life motivated by a convoluted bvh behavioral
collision (simultaneous enactment of two or more bvh files); the skin is
surplus sexuality, theater, which also appears widespread at ; the Julu video is at

Because of the relative mathematical complexity of mapping three-dimen-
sional behavior with motion capture software, the visual results vary
widely from filter to filter; as in early crystal radio tuning, there's no
smooth differentiable curve as constants and functions slowly change.

There are so many patterns in nature! Beyond the usual simple and complex
tilings, there are non-repetitive tilings re: Penrose and others; there
are fractal and chaotic regimes as well. We can also mention all sorts of
'monstrous' curves. Given the complexity of human behavior and dynamics,
however, I think it's fair to say that the occurrences here at the Virtual
Environments Lab are deeply unpredictable; while the filter is relatively
rigid and secure (in these cases), the results are tempered with the
exigencies of muscles and bones and gravity, as well as creativity, skill,
intention, and so forth. A filter can exaggerate, i.e. increase time and
space contrast, minute differences, but it can also diminish them to the
extent that a kind of collapse occurs - the limit of course being 0,
reducing everything to equivalent quiescence. All of this is fundamental
and basic to the calculus; one might metaphorically consider what's
happening in these videos as a _double movement,_ of human behavior in the
first place, and shape-riding in the second. And how far must one go
through the process, only to return again to the semblance of organic
life? And what is the point of the journey, involving code and protocols,
the real and the virtual, concrete substance, organic metabolism and
mobility, as well as an overriding abstraction and impulse to re/produce
something elsewhere that is once more identifiable within the comfort zone
of lived experience?

These videos/stills always surprise, always seem to offer something to be
studied, from perception to a language of perceiving, and from the habitus
of deeply lived environment to insistent anomalies in dialectic with
problematic and overarching form.

Games and Cowers

The new scripts construct a game from SL exhibition space; fly through
(see and objects disappear for twenty seconds - how much
of the space can you clear? In the meantime clutter and new video
reconstruct the space, Julu (see cower jpgs) has a new look and powers,
and hysteria pervades prim prims and abject objects. Increasingly the
theory's in the doing of the space, the perceiving of it, the flying and
walking and running through it. Disappearing prims might send you spiral
downward, but there are teleport spheres below to return you to the
surface. It's all compact and blown apart ... cower jpgs

To access the Odyssey exhibition The Accidental Artist:

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