Choreographic Coding Lab: Motion Bank Report

Choreographic Coding Lab:

Motion Bank Report

Creative coding refers to the growing community of digital artists who use the language of code as their medium. Creative coding practice forms an essential part of the collaborative development of the on-line digital scores with guest choreographers for Motion Bank, and digital artists making their own choreographic work informed by Motion Bank research is an emerging new goal of the project.

16 February 2013, Motion Bank gave a first workshop 'visualising dance data' during the 3rd edition of NODE - Forum for Digital Arts in Frankfurt. The Choreographic Coding Lab (organised again in cooperation with NODE) was conceived to develop this connection further. The original announcement explains the thinking behind the Lab and has links to some of the artists involved.  

Deborah Hay 'Weather System' Patterns. Screenshot: Florian Jenett

On 25 November 2013, the following twenty-five artists from Europe, UK and USA arrived in Frankfurt to start the lab. Emanuel Andel, Marvin Bratke, David Brüll, Rodrigo Carvalho, Gyorgyi Galik, Rita Gobi, Alexander Graf, Alexander Grasser, Johannes Helberger, Raphael Hillebrand, Sebastian Huber, Cedric Kiefer, Anton Koch, Jannis Kilian Kreft, Zach Lieberman, Christian Loclair, Andreas Müller, Gabor Papp, Antoni Rayzhekov, Marko Ritter, Felipe Sanchez, Sara De Santis, Gabriel Shalom, Johannes Timpernagel and Steven Wong

First day set-up. Andreas Müller & Rodrigo Carvalho in the foreground, screens open. Sara de Santis stretching. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

In addition to creative coding, a wide range of artistic backgrounds including visual and media arts, filmmaking, music, architecture and choreography could be claimed by the group. What was unique was how many of these artists are creating their own software tools to make their art with. After an initial orientation, the group began work on different themes, e.g. the choreographic language of code, choreographic video composition, collaborative analysis of dance. Jeanne Vogt was the Lab Coordinator and has posted documentation of this process.

Jeanne Vogt addressing the open showing. Andreas Müller and Johannes Helberger in the background. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

The Lab was running in parallel with the Live & OnLine 2013 (LOL), the final event of the first phase of Motion Bank and each afternoon the Lab doors were open for visitors from LOL. On Friday afternoon, the Lab organised a more formal presentions of the outcomes of the week. The quality and range of outcomes achieved was impressive. Some worked with the existing Motion Bank dataset (as Rodrigo Carvalho has documented here) while Andreas Müller refined the tracking system used to capture Deborah Hay's dancers.

Gabor Papp and Gyorgyi Galik presenting. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

Zach Lieberman updated an old project called Rotosketch "an intuitive tool for sketching, doodling and notating on top of video" developed 2004-06 with Scott deLahunta (studio video) to work on IOS. Marvin Bratke, Alexander Grasser and Steven Wong explored ideas for 'digital motion sculpture' with data captured from Sara de Santis (see documentation), and Gabriel Shalom began a series of experiments with choreography video compositing (see documentation).

Zach Lieberman showing Rotosketch/IOS. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

A Motion Bank Hackpad was set up which has a number of screenshots. Johannes Helberger, Raphael Hillebrand, Antoni Rayzhekov, Marko Ritter, Felipe Sanchez and Johannes Timpernagel worked on real time systems to track dance qualities. This group made rapid progress on the complex problem of recording movement and using computers to provide a reliable evaluation of movement qualities. Their solution was not only creative and smart, but it also uses low cost capture systems and open source software.

The success of the Lab will be carried forward into Phase Two of Motion Bank and follow up Labs are being planned.

Christian Loclair & Raphael Hillebrand (in flight) worked together on a communication tool for choreographers. Photo: Jessica Schäfer