If a tree were to fall

Real-time 3D simulation of an autonomous dancer, performance, 2018

The project started by rephrasing the famous philosophical paradox: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?“ into “If Hatsune Miku were to dance while nobody was watching does her dance actually happen?“. This developed into a simulator of an endless dancing figure, that has access to a large collection of motion capture data and interpolates between movements while also considering parameters from the virtual and the physical spaces.

The simulation was created in UE4 game engine using self-made motion data as well as CMU and mixamo motion capture database. The result was a musical and dance performance piece where the performer and the AI appropriate behaviours from each other in the attempt to unwrap meanings of autonomous behaviour.

The project was made in collaboration with artist Ötvös Kinga as part of the residency program for research in performing arts: “Reciproc performativ” granted by Colectiv A at Fabrica de Pensule in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

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