Over the past several years I have been managing the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater Motion Capture Studio. Our space is relatively small and we use a markerless system manufactured by Organic Motion. I was drawn to the use of MOCAP in animation because it offered a different way to make things move on the screen in relation to human movement. As I learned more about what MOCAP data looks like, I started to see potential for its use beyond conventional approaches that create figurative remediated versions of captured movements. This lead me to begin using samples from our studio to animate things like cloth simulations or typographic characters.
I began formalizing some of these interests through research and then started to write about my experiences. I noticed more instances of artists and musicians working with movement data in creative and expressive directions. Along with two of my colleagues at UWW, Jeff Herriott and Nick Hwang, I put together an invitational exhibition and music performance event at the Crossman Gallery on our campus. The show, “The Body Electric”, opened on October 13 and will run until November 12 with the performances occurring in the evening of October 20.
The poem “I Sing The Body Electric”, written by Walt Whitman and published in 1885, addresses a body and soul entwined. The body is electrified through various interactions that may be both explicit and implicit. These and other themes from Whitman’s poem can be extended to our contemporary culture where the ubiquity of digital technologies is evolving to extend our bodies. Artists from wide ranging fields of experience and creative practice regularly explore the relationships between the body and its multi-faceted involvement with digitized emergence. This invitational exhibition explores some of the threads where art, technology, interactivity, music, performance, and movement cross over in ‘singing the body electric’. It also investigates some of the latest technological works emerging from the studios of artists using new media and time based technologies.
Featured Artists Include: #Additivism (Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke), Jeremy Behreandt, Christopher Burns, Dylan Bernard, Maria Gillespie, Nathaniel Stern, Jeff Herriott, Paul Hertz, Nick Hwang, Dale Kaminski, Justin Lincoln, A. Bill Miller, Alex Myers, Nicholas O’Brien, Anna Weisling, Connor Yass and Giselle Zatonyl.
Special thanks to Mike Flanagan of the Crossman Gallery and his staff for accommodating the show and allowing us the space to explore this work in the context of the gallery. Additional thanks to the New Media Caucus for the support and networking opportunities that help to make exhibitions like this possible.