Tools That Propel

Sarah Levinsky and Adam Russell

These videos are session recordings from dance improvisations using Tools that Propel, a digital interactive installation developed by Sarah Levinsky and Adam Russell. In these videos, we see two different ‘interactors’, Yi Xuan Kwek and Maria Evans, both undergraduate dance students at Falmouth University. Confronting the interactor with a life-size projection of themselves and other bodies, Tools that Propel blends live ‘mirror-like’ video and recorded fragments from the recent past that resemble their current movement. The computational system compares what it sees in real-time with gestures and movements it has previously tracked, recorded, and categorised, and models the likelihood that the real-time movement might be a re-performance of any of these previous movements. If this likelihood is above a certain threshold then it plays the recorded footage (‘memory’) of that gesture or movement blended with the real-time live projection of the improviser on screen. The interactors improvise with ‘ghosts’ of themselves and others tracked by the sensor before them; the entanglement encourages breaking of habits and mining of memories, exploring subtle variations.