Hi Tim, having spoken to Jan can you please introduce yourself and your perspective on Movement Alphabet?
I am an artist working with code, visuals and sound to create interactive experiences. I co-created ‘Movement Alphabet’ with Jan Lee. We created the work in response to a feeling of disembodiment within digital technology. We’re using interactive technology but within a one-on-one human experience. We analyse how the participant moves when they talk about their physical life and visualise it to create a ‘Movement Portrait’, an algorithmically generated representations of someone’s physicality.
Sounds intriguing! How did you get into sensory circles - what's the story there?
I studied Maths and Computer Science undergrad and then began a PhD on creating music algorithmically at Queen Mary University of London. I was quickly drawn into research into new forms of creating music - both for musicians and in more participatory formats. Right from the outset I was drawn into creating music through movement, which then led onto other kinds of interactive experiences connecting movement, sound, image and light.
What can people look forward to with Movement Alphabet at the festival this weekend?
Movement Alphabet is a one-on-one immersive experience between you, the participant, and a guide. You’re led on a journey of story and physical awareness (sometimes blindfolded) into our interaction pod, a warm translucent structure safe from outside eyes and ears. Inside, you’re invited to share stories, memories and dreams, all things that connect your physical body with your life and who you are today. After you’re led outside, we’ll give you your printed Movement Portrait visualising how your body moved during these experience.
How would you describe it in three words?
Personal, algorithmic, physicality.
Why do you think the senses are important?
I think more and more we’re living in the cerebral world, where we communicate in text and transfer information between our brain and machines in a symbolic and intentional manner. But so much of social connections and experiencing life happens through the body which is present to us through our senses. I think it’s important to retain this connection in how we think.
I hear you’re sold out, what else can visitors do to experience it?
You are correct, we’re sold out at this stage, but visitors are still welcome to come and see the whole process from the exterior. You can see the shadows of people moving while seeing their portraits as it’s rendered on the monitor.
What else are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?
One of the sad things about performing all weekend is that I won’t get to see anything else! But we’re going to the Symposium tomorrow (Friday) and I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Iain McGilchrist talk about his book “The Divided Brain” which has been very influential for me the past two years. If I was free at the weekend, I’d definitely see Firnocene, i=u, and many more.
Where would you like to see the sensory area going in the future?
I really want to see Virtual Reality evolve to include the whole body. I’m sure it will, but as we’ve seen with mobile phones, while the technology is continually getting more advanced, people are also continually shaping their minds and bodies around the technology. I hope immersive technologies like VR start to work with all the senses (particularly physical) before we become too used to doing everything in a purely audio-visual world.
How would you like your craft develop in the future?
We have many ideas but all top secret for the moment...
Oooh! Exciting! And three words to describe how you feel about the festival?
excited, working hard
Anything else you’d like to mention not yet covered?
Yes, although we’re sold out, please do have a look at movementalphabet.com to find out more about our project, including a gallery of all of our portraits. And join our newsletter to hear about the next show!
Great, thank you both for your time.
As we approach the weekend, many tickets are selling out so don’t delay, have a read and choose your activity to avoid disappointment as many events need pre-booking prior to the weekend. Friday’s Symposium is a great way to get started and see many familiar faces from the blog. We’re all friendly, so come and say hi and be curious.
Start your own conversation @OpenSensesUK #OpenSenses2017, this conversation initiated by Natasha Blok.