Using Motion Capture And Code, To Turn Gymnasts Into Data Art

Amazing animations turn motion capture into high art. Or Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 3.0

A part of the London 2012 Olympics, collaborators Quayola and Memo Akten have made Forms, a series of animations based on the motion of athletes. To look at the stills is to stare uncomprehending at strange 3-D objects, but then you see them in motion.

In the installation, the animation plays out on a big screen, while nearby a smaller interactive display allows visitors to see the footage upon which the animation is based and to separate out the various components that build up the final piece.

In an interview on The Creators Project, the interviewer compares the work to pioneers in motion capture photography like Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey. I think that the more apt comparison is to Marcel DuChamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (which is 100 years old). Like Duchamp’s work, Forms takes the raw data of observed motion and makes it something more.

If you are in Bradford, the piece opens today at the National Media Museum.

[Hat tip: The Creator’s Project.]

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