Ascension Dance with ISS (Illimitable Space System)

Dr. Miao Song, has recently directed her Illimitable Space System exhibition to render a real-time background shadows with visual effects in real-time based on the dancers’ motion during the performance. This is the first time the ISS was used in this large public scale (previously only exhibited publicly at the Concordia Open House and Stewart Hall Exposcience events in 2012 and 2013). The dance called “Ascension” (performed by MCCCA dance group) tells a story of a god like creature surrounded by worshippers and is a beautiful depiction of an ancient Chinese myth. The original background of that dance was a static image. Dr. Song’s propose research-creation ISS project to replace the static image with color-shadows and real-time effects based on the actual dancers’ movement and motion tracking, their depth, etc. abstracted from background. The ISS used the Kinect sensor on stage with a computer running beneath the stage to process and output the graphical background in real-time as the dance was happening projected from a theatre booth thus creating an immersive experience for the audience.

The audience and even performers have found the background to be a very novel and interesting addition to the traditional dance performance.

Dr. Song says the system is still in its relatively early stages of development and production testing, but this run during the January 18-19, 2014 Chinese New Year Gala hosted by the MCCCA (Montreal Center of Chinese Culture and Arts) provided a lot of valuable data to work with, experience, and confidence in the system and its continued development and artistic deployment.

Credits: MCCCA, and their members, Dr. Ming Zhao, Mrs. Xianglian Lei, and Ms. Jiamin Qiu, the choreographer of the Ascension dance for accepting the system run; technical assistance and support from Ted Stafford and his crew at the DB Clarke theatre at Concordia; Computer Science Department at Concordia, Dr Peter Grogono’s Computer Graphic Lab, Dr. Serguei Mokhov, the ISS technical lead; and of course the Center of Oral History and Digital Storytelling that provided the equipment to capture some of the footage of the performance.

Ascension Dance with ISS

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