UNITY is an interactive installation that explores the relationship between music and consciousness and how it reflects – and is reflected – upon our sensorimotor response to music. UNITY was presented during the MA Digital Direction's final show at the Royal College of Art in London, 2020. UNITY uses motion capture and real time particle systems to provide each user with a visual representation of how we synchronize to music when we dance and how people dancing around us also influence the way we synchronize to music. The idea of synchronization and human entrainment are visualized to represent the vibe, an invisible feature inherent of both clubs/raves and ancient rituals. While collectively listening to the music and dancing with others, as we watch them synchronize to the rhythm we synchronize ourselves to both music and people, feeding a feedback loop of positive vibrations.
/ TECHNICAL DETAILS
UNITY consists in three rear projection screens applied onto a metal structure. The central screen presents real time motion capture data captured with a Kinect v2 camera attached to the frame, rendered with a particle system that responds to velocity. The avatars on the left and on the right are recordings of previous users, rendered with different particle systems sets but presenting the same motion capture data and velocity of their relative users.
A TV screen displays raw velocity data captured from the user, along with the visualization of the music frequencies. Through a custom algorithm based on the Laban Effort paper (1947) (for more info about research and development, please visit Laban Effort Algorithm, which tracks the velocity aggregate from each user’s movement, mocap data can be aggregated and sent to a sphere, affecting its size accordingly. The sphere will therefore respond to the effort – translated into velocity data – of each user’s movement, indicating the movement intensity compared to music's dynamics.
Music features and repetition analysis was developed by duo TSN1 & Ostalgia (from the pugliese team Equipe Fatale). They produced a acid-techno track that perfectly facilitates the syncronization of bodies through a repetitive, arousing tempo ranging from 125 to 130 BPM, plus a serialized syncopation. Thanks to their track, we were able to simulate a clubbing environment and therefore elicit the feeling of dancing and synchronizing with other people around us.
Music - TSN1 & Ostalgia (Italian Electronic Duo)
Technical Support - Thomas Deacon (Specialist Technical Instructor in XR, Royal College of Art London)
Research Support - Maria Witek (Researcher in Music & Cognition at the University of Birmingham)