The theory, practice and art of movement capture and preservation: an interdisciplinary investigation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Lincoln
Department Name: Lincoln School of Media

Abstract

This project follows on from research into capturing and archiving movement in the Beyond Text Project: Children's Playground Games and Songs in the Age of New Media. Because of its focus on playground activities, the capture, analysis and preservation of movement was an intrinsic part of the large grant project. It is also important in other research in the arts and humanities - not only formal performance, but also transient, ad hoc activities where gesture and other forms of non-verbal communication can play a significant role. A number of projects which feature in the Beyond Text programme fall into one or more of these categories, highlighting the importance of movement to the subject matter of this call.

This project will foster and produce interdisciplinary knowledge exchange by bringing together research from the Beyond Text programme, with knowledge from other academics, archivists, practitioners and experts from the business, commercial and creative sectors, to exchange experiences and identify best practices as well as areas for further investigation, collaboration and partnership.

In doing this, it will address important theoretical and practical issues regarding the capturing, visualisation and preservation of gestures/movement, such as: the balance between complexity and ease-of-use in any system, fidelity (how accurately movement is recorded), completeness (how much detail is recorded), versatility (whether the data recorded is open to other forms of presentation or analysis), and usability (how easy the recording system is to use and how much the system intrudes on the activity). Other associated issues include data preservation, archival permanence, the ethical considerations of consent and anonymity and the relationship between researchers and subjects.

Although considerations of these issues feature within disciplines there has been little discussion between areas and information is often isolated within disciplines. For example, formal movement notation systems are well known within the dance community, but not within other fields. Likewise, computer based motion capture may appear daunting to those from a more traditional humanities background. As a result, potentially useful knowledge is occulted from research areas where it may serve to inspire new capture or visualisation techniques, theoretical considerations or archival practices. In an age of interdisciplinarity and technological convergence, it is becoming increasingly important that knowledge is shared across disciplines, both in terms of identifying common concerns and best practices, and in terms of sharing intellectual and practical resources.

To this end we will produce and disseminate an interdisciplinary review of the different methods, techniques and technologies for capturing, visualising, analysing and archiving movement/gesture and their accompanying historical, disciplinary and theoretical rationales and concerns - making it easily and widely available and contributing to the dissemination of theories and practices.

We will also host two interdisciplinary knowledge-exchange symposia encouraging discussion between the academic, creative and archive community and relevant business, commercial and creative practices. The symposia will focus on theoretical, practical and ethical issues relating to the capture, visualisation and archiving of movement. We will disseminate the results and findings of the symposia through expert-authored chapters of an edited volume of case-studies, research design and results and via the project website.

The project will start with and be sustained by, an online knowledge-exchange and partnership hub, a network and website portal for information, knowledge exchange, discussion and dissemination - allowing the project to extend internationally and last beyond the duration of the project.

Planned Impact

This innovative knowledge exchange project on the capture, visualisation and preservation of movement/gesture, will be inclusive. It will bring together researchers, academics and archivists together with professionals from the visual, sonic and performing arts, and the entertainment and creative industries such as animation studios, videogame companies, computer graphics and special effects companies - where movement capture and visualization techniques are inherent to commercial success.

It will benefit all stakeholders, providing an up-to-date review of current practice within and outside academia, a comprehensive and expert-authored book on the latest research and findings, opportunities for hearing expert presentations and face-to-face discussion, and an online network to further enhance communication and opportunities for knowledge-exchange, collaboration and partnership across sectors.

To date there is registered interest in participation from archivists, academics, artists and performers, and discussions are taking place with interested participants from the entertainment and creative industry. (The PI has a background in film, TV, animation and interactive media production, with continuing contact in these sectors.) The Playground Games project engaged with the videogame industry, having Nintendo as a partner and ELSPA on the advisory board. The PI is also a member of IGDA (Independent Games Developers Association). Nintendo, ELSPA and IGDA will be approached for their participation. The British Library was a major partner on the Playground Games project and has been approached to participate, along with specialists from other archives. Igloo (Ruth Gibson and Bruno Martelli), artists who have worked extensively with a variety of motion capture systems, are also interested in attending and it is therefore anticipated that participation will come from a number of relevant sectors and that this will open pathways to impact in the form of future partnerships and collaboration between academics and wider commercial and creative communities.

This initiative has the potential to achieve additional cultural and economic impact through increased knowledge and expertise across sectors, and through enhanced opportunities for collaboration and partnership between academic, commercial and creative sectors. It achieves this by:
- engaging stakeholders in dialogue and knowledge-exchange on the theory, practice and techniques of movement capture, visualization and preservation
- disseminating up-to-date expert information and analysis in both theory and practice
- enhancing communication and networking using online technologies

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
AH/I026162/1 14/02/2011 01/09/2011 £24,416
AH/I026162/2 Transfer AH/I026162/1 02/09/2011 13/08/2012 £14,623
 
Description The most significant achievements from the award were highlighting the study of movement capture across different disciplines and practices and how these can inform the other areas and applications; enabling the formation of an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research community on movement capture; knowledge and information sharing between practitioners, academics and industry on the subject of movement capture. This included information in the kinetic, psychological, cognitive and creative aspects. The above achievements met the objectives of the award and the findings and outcomes from the interdiciplinary symposium (held in January 2012) and from the discussions of the Movement Capture Research Group at the University of Lincoln, (convened as a consequence of the AHRC grant) have influenced and affected participants' thinking and practice about movement capture in academic and commercial domains. These include dance, theatre, early cinema, fine art, motion capture development and practice, sports science, psychology, animation, film and new/interactive media. For example, at the Universtiy of Lincoln, new research collaborations were formed between perfoming arts, psychology and sports science, and between psychology, media and performing arts.
Exploitation Route Findings have been taken forward in the formation of new collaborations and in information and knowledge sharing between sectors that were previously unaware of each other's research.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description Findings and outcomes from the interdiciplinary symposium (held in January 2012) and from the discussions of the Movement Capture Research Group at the University of Lincoln, (convened as a consequence of the AHRC grant) have influenced and affected participants' thinking and practice about movement capture in academic and commercial domains. These include dance, theatre, early cinema, fine art, motion capture development and practice, sports science, psychology, animation, film and new/interactive media. For example, at the Universtiy of Lincoln, new research collaborations were formed between perfoming arts, psychology and sports science, and between psychology, media and performing arts. The new knowledge generated by the projects resulting from these collaborations are likely to generate impact in the creative industries sectors.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal