[NetBehaviour] Some theory for the recent motion capture work

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sun Nov 4 02:09:40 CET 2018



Some theory for the recent motion capture work

http://www.alansondheim.org/figure3.jpg (still)
http://www.alansondheim.org/figure2.mov (loop)

The space reflected in the recent motion capture files is three-
dimensional; a file is only a representation of that space from
a particular perspective. Any still image within the file is a
temporal slice of that representation, and the file is itself a
sheave or well-ordered catalog of temporal slices. There is
_nothing_ between one image at t = x and the immediately
subsequent image at at t = x+1. But the movement in real life,
the temporal stream, is not discontinuous. So a reasonable model
is that of the cinema film, which is optically sutured into a
continuous representation of reality, by the spectator. (Not
through the 'persistence of vision,' by the way, but as a result
of active processing in the brain.)

The space represented is also a supple and deep space, cut or
modified to appear as a proscenium of action; the constructed
images of the performer (or coalesced performers) may disappear
at times - indicating the proscenium is also an activated space
of representation. It is not the same as "any other space,"
since the software creates a stage where recording occurs. It is
a fundamentally dialectical space, always under negotiation
among the actants in any particular session.

The figures in the motion capture imagery are themselves
simultaneous representations of physical and virtual bodies. In
other words, they are residues of physical bodies and mappings.
It is not too much of a stretch to consider consciousness
entangled here between real and virtual bodies, as a form of
Polyani's tacit knowledge and appetition developed through the
appearance of a diffused and distributed totality, instead of
based, for example, on the human body's use of a tool such as a
screwdriver, with its related focus.

Given this, one might consider the state of affairs as cyborg,
cyborgian (depending on one's epistemology), a coalescence of
"real" and "virtual" which emerges by virtue of the machinery -
but also and basically points to this coalescence in daily life
where representations are more complex and implicit. Here,
culture, rules, norms, etc. form the _proscenium of daily life,_
which the models, videos, etc. can only imply. In other words,
what I'm modeling is _implicit_ and _implicated_ in daily life,
and - on a practical level - these videos, these artifacts - are
a form of research into both whatever the "organic" might be -
as well as the entanglement of the "organic" into and within a
multitude of environments - organic, technological, geological,
and so forth.

So these ensembles - videos, still, texts, are a way of thinking
through issues of theory as well - considering the body's (and
multiple bodies') - behaviors, minds and mindings, graspings,
tool-usage, interactions, sexualities, accumulations (from what
might appear as uncanny and problematic singularities of
consciousness and prehensile physicality), cultural constructs,
etc.

Two points - First, look beyond the surface appearances with
these pieces; they represent different but related dynamic
states, spelled out in the accompanying texts. Second, the
jerkiness, the result of computer processing (as well as
simulacra of collapse), related to ideas of edgespace and
catastrophe theory, is itself a scaffolding whose leaps or
divisions (as above) can be overcome by curve fitting or
smoothing functions. However, the leaps may also be relevant to
breaking - the image of the physical body extended and devolved
into untoward spaces. This can occur, for example, by occlusion
of some of the markers, by altered mappings, by distribution of
the avatar body among several performers, etc. By creating
"coherent" (non-random or loosely structured) mappings, the
transformations are readable back into imaginary phantom bodies
that open up new realms of exploration among cyborgian entities.
(Such entities extend beyond downloads or implants to regimes of
_accumulations_ or swarms of organic and non-organic particles
acting within some coherency in relation to each other.)

There is also the fractured and crystalline beauty of these
dynamic-hypnagogic formations within the imaginary; watching
even the few-seconds segment in the video accompanying this
test, all sorts of fairy-tale structures may be imagined. This
is of course another interaction - with the spectator who may be
willing to spend some time with the videos, the texts, the still
images, the accompanying sound tracks. If this is phenomenology,
it is experiential as such.

There are so many actants! Live performers; their individual
images; the "coagulated" images inhering in the computer; the
screen with its projected avatar or avatars; the intersections
of the projections with the live performers (who may be watching
their image/s on a screen or screens); the internal projections
or introjections of the performers ("this is what I want to do"
etc.) - related to scripting and plans; the edgespaces and
"breakdowns" of the software and software arenas; the strategies
necessary to "back away" from collapsed states; the viewers in
the room itself who may or may not be calling the shots, making
suggestions, creating performance structures; everyone's and
everything's personal and communal histories; the physical
limitations of the performers ("i can't bend this way (but maybe
my image can"); and everything occurring in a room which has its
own characteristics (temperature, boundaries, hard surfaces and
lighting, audio resonances, and so forth).

I try in the writing/wryting/wrything to provide descriptions
and guidelines (according, of 1, to my own interests) which
are necessarily incomplete; there's a poetics to all of this,
revealed in both text and image that are often askew in relation
to the video, itself askew in relation to the multiple sets of
instructions governing the productions.

And I try in the images themselves to provide a Dickinsonian
truth told slant, approached, self-decomposing, or a grounds
extruding something wayward or contrary (no grounding, no middle
grounds) - as well as the sound, which almost coheres, as if
understood or familiar - which develop the imaginary space of
their production (rather than the linguistic burden they might
carry): each segment, then, is only partial, a contract among
viewers and producers, biologies and machines - not to mention
all the necessary protocols to shape and deliver the files
themselves to you, to your activations (and not perhaps to
consider all the corporations, neoliberalisms, censorships,
contracts, obligations, patents, and so forth involved, and the
carriers themselves and their delivery philosophies or mandates
from my machine to yours) - what arrives at the destination then
is only a constricted accumulation... and with that in mind...


http://www.alansondheim.org/figure1.jpg (still)




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