>Music, Performing Arts

Body, Full of Time

Project Description:

“Body, Full of Time” is a solo choreographic work performed and created by movement and media artist Scotty Hardwig in collaboration with visual artist Zach Duer. Using motion capture, projection, and interactive avatar designs, the work presents a chimeric vision of the human body fragmented in the cyber age, examining the relationship between physical and digital versions of self. The dance emerges in the space between the human and the virtual, with the body both as active sensor and passive recipient to technological currents. The goal is to create a linked choreography between reactive animations and avatar designs and the live, performing body. We are investigating both the fragmentation of physicality that is emerging between the human body and the digital world (which is constantly evolving with the rapid transmission of data, human-computer interfaces, social media, and  smartphones) -- this idea that physicality/embodiment is being ”lost” or “fragmented” in the cyber era. But we are also looking at it as a form of hybridity - a new potential of physicality that is interwoven with the mechanical and the digital. That theme appears in the formal elements of the work (the choreography and the digital aspects, the projections, and the animations), but also in the interactivity between the body and the projections. In essence, these formal elements come together to craft a performance experience that exists in this chimeric relationship between the human body and technology. In the first movement, we see the human body in a raw form (it’s a very physical, highly choreographic section with minimal projections), in the second movement, we see a duet between the performer and an avatar responding and coded to respond to movements in various ways. In the third movement, we see a pacified, passive body being actively “scanned” by the projections. The three movements take us on a surreal journey from the body as active, into a hybrid technological space, and finally into a passive body overwhelmed by technological forces.

Body Full of Time

The methods of this work combine the practices of visual arts, performing arts, and music, with the goal of creating a live performance work to be premiered at Virginia Tech over the week of April 22-28. Assessment of the creative process and product will take place in the creative team, as well as during Q&A sessions with the audience immediately following each performance. This project may also serve as the foundation for future discussions, presentations, or talks on campus.

Statement of Innovation:

This performance integrates inertial motion capture technology with custom software to freeze, record, and playback portions of a controlled avatar linked to the movement performer. In this way, the choreography is “re-coded” in digital space so that two simultaneous  performances are happening: the movements of the live body alongside the “digital choreography” of the avatar and animations. This is a work that draws together the visual languages of dance, choreography, visual art, 3D and 2D animation techniques, and contemporary digital aesthetics. It is in this blend of art forms that a hybrid live performance mode take shape, of  embodied fragmentation and multiplicity into three-dimensional virtual space. One of the goals is to investigate this hybridity of form between traditional choreographic arts and the potentialities provided by digital technology. In form and in content, the work investigates the relationship between the physical and cyber forms of embodiment.

Zach Duer, School of Visual Arts
Scotty Hardwig, School of Performing Arts
Nathan King, School of Visual Arts
Estefanía Perez-Vera, School of Performing Arts
Caleb Flood

Collaborative Colleges:

Performing Arts