DansAR workshops

The DansAR workshop series was an Augmented Reality (AR) performance project exploring how digital media content (e.g. videos and still images) can be made accessible and lived by means of augmented reality technologies.

This post is an edited version of DansAR 01 & 02 Feb-March 2013 written by project partner Jeannette Ginslov, with contributions from Susan Kozel and Richard Topgaard.

The video below (link to YouTube), made by Jeannette Ginslov, is a 30-minute documentary on the process of making these performances.

DansAR 01 was a week of experimenting with AR and dance at Skånes Dansteater in Malmö. This short but intense creative collaboration traversed choreography, screen dance, live performance and technological production. Four dancers of mixed abilities from of Malmö’s Aktiva Tjejer group worked choreographically with Melody Putu from Skånes Dansteater. Jeannette Ginslov shot and edited eight videos of the dancers which were then imported into the AR app Aurasma and tagged to spots in the foyer of the Skånes Dansteater building. Daniel Spikol with five students from the Media Software Design programme at Malmö University worked with the technical constraints, and all of us tackled the question of how to integrate the media, live performers and audience members holding mobile devices for a small performance the final afternoon.

Video: Kinect Overlays – AR video triggered by room and poster (view on YouTube)

Video: Audience, dance performance and AR (view on YouTube)

DansAR 02 continued the exploration from DansAR 01 but with a slightly different group of collaborators: the dancers joining Ginslov, Spikol, Kozel and Puto were from Lunds dans- och musikalgymnasium. This group of 26 dancers worked on choreography with Melody Putu from Skånes Dansteater and were introduced to Aurasma. They divided into four teams and developed their choreographic concepts. They were given basic screen dance instructions by Ginslov, then they shot and edited the short screendance works in locations in and around Skånes Dansteater: the children’s park, the skate park, the entrance to the University and inside the Skånes Dansteater building. They selected and printed paper triggers for the videos and a journey was created for the audiences for the final event on March 1. More than 50 people visited the performances and experienced the locative choreographies, inside and outside the Skånes Dansteater building. It culminated in a large dance ensemble where all the students performed the main dance sequence live to the the assembled audience.

Video: AR performance in the STPLN Skate Park (view on YouTube)

Video: Hidden memories: Integrating Live Performance and AR (view on YouTube)

The best AR outcome was the one shot and created by the Kinect group who created “auras” at the Skate Park. The five dancers wore their triggers, images of daisies, on their backs and shoulders and moved ever so slightly. One dancer stood in the skate park bowl and lured the audience members into the bowl. Here the dancer improvised, moving his trigger quite significantly. The audience member had to then move in tandem with him, so as to keep the AR video looping on his mobile device. A choreographic moment was born, a mobile encounter took place.

The DansAR workshop series was done in a collaboration between researchers in the Living Archives project, Skånes Dansteater, artist Jeannette Ginslov and masters students from the Department of Computer Science (in the program Media Software Design) and School of Arts and Communication (in the program Interaction Design) at Malmö University.

The DansAR experiments relates to the Performing Memory strand of this research project.

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