Monday, August 27, 2012

Forms (process) by Memo Aktin, Quayola +

Forms (process) from Memo Akten on Vimeo.

This provides some exceptional food for thought regarding the khyāl gesture mapping challenge. Akten and team demonstrate powerfully that there is a sweet spot to be found between a direct mapping of body motion and a more abstracted visualisation.

Why is this so effective?

The multiple layers of material originate from the same physical motion, but have independence from each-other and from that motion.

The original motion is, in a sense, providing the impulse that shapes the behavior of different systems. The resulting system behaviors don't just "track" the motion directly, but also clearly reflect the velocity and trajectory of that motion. These velocity patterns cause changes in the behaviors that echo past the time sequences that shape them. Like the "memory trail" one might have of the original motion, the systems emphasize that the dynamics of the motion have perceptual implications beyond the specific narrow windows where they occur.

Because these layered systems both have their own behaviors and are impulsed by the same original motion, there is an engaging "counterpoint" arising between the different layers, all pointing clearly back to the character of the originating motion — even while that original motion has been eliminated from the picture. (I have a long-standing fascination with the idea that audio-visual complexes could achieve coherence due to their relationship to an underlying system that is neither audio nor visual and is not directly perceived).

It is interesting that the left particle system helps emphasise the body mass and its distribution, while the other systems seem to emphasise more the trajectories of points on that mass. I find having both there quite compelling; they tell different aspects of the story.

In the right-hand system, the spline curves seem to shift even after they have been drawn, perhaps even more so with wide arcs of high velocity. It seems likely simply that those points take on an initial velocity and trajectory and that velocity decays over time. Lovely idea.

I'm still scratching my head a bit on the center system — though some kind of spring model seems at play.

If one applies some similar techniques to the khyāl gesturing, it seems that there is a risk that the time independence of the visual systems could blur, rather than highlight, the motion-to-music relationship. But this is certainly worth experimenting with.

Further, it is worth considering what other higher-order aspects (beyond velocity) in the originating motion could fruitfully be applied to shaping system behavior.

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