NUVE – Dancing with a Digital Virtual Body

By IGI Global on Apr 29, 2011
The International Journal of Creative Interfaces and Computer Graphics (IJCICG) provides coverage of the most innovative and cutting-edge computer graphics and interfaces, focusing on the latest visual technologies that raise the bar for novelty, aesthetic beauty, sophistication, and utility. This scholarly resource encompasses the pragmatic and scholarly aspects surrounding the design and creation of effective, novel, visual interfaces in support of creativity and productivity. NUVE in motion
Photo Courtesy of: balleteatro@LuisFerraz

Recently, IJCICG's Co-Editor-in-Chief, Adérito Fernandes Marcos from engageLab / Laboratory of Distance Education (LEaD), Universidade Aberta, Lisbon, Portugal, had the opportunity to instruct and curate an innovative artistic project titled NUVE. This modern study of art has been conceptualized by João Martinho Moura. NUVE aims to explore the artistic possibilities offered by the digital dance performances in the interaction between the individual and his virtual double. In NUVE the authors conceptualized, developed, and implemented a digital artifact, resulting in a fluid digital performance based on the theme of the analog body versus the digital virtual body. Contemporary art sets the scene for a body exploration based on movements, actions, and behaviors. Among the different crossings, digital art is still expanding in the dance domain. Although the art of dance has appropriated a variety of new technologies, it is still a domain to explore the potential of the aesthetic and the artistic level. NUVE uses full body interaction and expressive gestures to compose an immersive audio and visual flow that supports artistic expressiveness. In NUVE, the body is the first engine of action, and the choreographic body evolves into a relationship with its own "virtual double" to create a dialog challenging the choreographic boundaries and adding new dimensions to the gesture. Throughout the choreography, a tension builds between the performer's silhouette and the "virtual double". At some stage in the narrative, the "virtual body" detaches itself from the performer and the choreography evolves; the "virtual double" is no longer shadowing the performer, but in a way it seems to gain life from him/her, and they perform together. NUVE in motion
Photo Courtesy of: balleteatro@LuisFerraz

NUVE follows the line of generative digital art, composing in real time ever evolving visual scenarios that flow with the performer, movement and gesture contrasting light and darkness, body and gestures, real and digital. The audio and visual sequences of the narrative are pre-established to follow the created choreography.
NUVE was developed with the openFrameworks platform, an open source C++ programming language toolkit. It relies on an infrared firewire camera to capture the image of the stage 30 frames per second. Appropriate infrared lights are employed to obtain the best possible image of the dancer. A combination of standard image processing techniques is then used to capture the silhouette and the movement of the performer. At some points during the choreography the performer interacts with a particle based system that flows in the scene. This seamless interaction between the full body of the dancer and the virtual particles is possible by computing the different speed of the different areas of the body and feeding those to the particles' physics system. The sound composition was created with the software SuperCollider, a system to program generative sound. The NUVE project is an example of the synergies among the various facades of creativity, such as the performance, the visual, the audio, and the technological, brought together in a coherent and complementary fashion, and seeking the poetics that can result when the languages of arts and technology mutually comprehend.

Nuve. Dance and Digital Art
from Joao Martinho Moura on Vimeo.

Pictures and video can be explored at the website:

- João Martinho Moura. engageLab / Dep. Inf. Sys. University of Minho, Guimarães, Portugal. (Contact person)
- Né Barros. Balleteatro / Aesthetics, Politics and Art Research Group. Institute of Philosophy
University of Porto, Portugal.
- Adérito Fernandes Marcos. engageLab / Laboratory of Distance Education (LEaD), Universidade Aberta, Lisbon, Portugal.
- Pedro Branco. engageLab / Dep. Inf. Sys. University of Minho. Guimarães, Portugal

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