Electricity made us angels
is an exploration into new media performance with the intention to incorporate technology into my existing performance practice in terms of design, process and consumption which cannot be realised otherwise; a virtual performance that potentially deviates from its live input.

In an age of Facebook, iPhone self-portraits and Instagram, I manipulate self-portraiture/performance to explore multiple identities and fluidity in perspective, to bridge the present to what I envision to be an inevitable trans/post-human situation. I am also exploring the idea of multiple vantage points to change how we look at and present performance situations.  

An important consideration is also how audience interaction can provide input to these new media performances.


The performance employs the input of webcams and Max programming to output two main performance interactions via two visual projections: 

Visualisation 1: Ethereal Hair Effect

By sitting in front of a white background with no clothing (or one that contrasts greatly with my black hair), I am able to track moving pixels via a black-and-white feed. The moving pixels are white and by inverting the image, minimal dark spots on the face like the eyebrows and eyes is detected too with the hair taking dominance due to surface area. This visualization is combined with the live-feed in colour to create an ethereal hair effect enhanced by a fan.

The audience is invited to ‘dance’ together with me in this surrealistic visual projection.

Visualisation 2: Live Post-editing Effect and Video Scrub

Where cameras or viewer’s POV is placed in relation to the performance can affect the way the viewer perceives the performance. I want to create a live post-edited effect, using movement to toggle the mixing of the multiple webcams feeds to create a strobe effect.

This second visualisation can also be designed to use movement to manipulate the playback of the first visualisation, providing another level of interaction. Depending on my movement, it toggles the mixing of the multiple webcams with different perspectives to create a mild or strong strobe effect.

The audience is invited to dance together with me in this surrealistic visual projection and be able to directly manipulate video art.

Final Presentation:

Live coding of Max with the usage of multiple webcams retards the computer’s processing speed. Although choppy visuals might add a glitch effect, I felt that it could have been stylised with intention in design. In the final performance, I chose a playback of a performance to simulate the intended effect of ethereal hair.  I limited myself to two webcams, at face level and above, and introduced a blue and white lighting setup with chiaroscuro, to enhance the visuals and add the illusion of multiple layers.

The installation “re-subverts” the ‘gaze’- where audience becomes the subject whilst interacting with the installation, still maintains their gaze in order to see the visualisations.  The audiences were uncomfortable with this subversion and I would like to look into how to divert this self-consciousness into an input for the performance.  


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