Computational Science Community Wiki

Stereo Bodies: Choreographic Explorations Between Real and Virtual Spaces

Stereo Bodies is a performance piece that is a combined effort from the Ersatz Dance Company. Scheduled for DRHA in Dartlington in September.

Helen Bailey (PL), James Hewison (SL), Amelia Garcia (Res. Fell.)

Martin Turner and Anja Le Blanc (at Manchester Computing), and Howell Istance, Nathan Jeffery and Cherie O'Connor (at De Montfort University).

Thanks to the Access Grid Support Centre, JISC, University of Manchester, De Montfort University and the University of Southampton.

Anaglyph red-cyan glasses stereoscopic versions

720x480 resolution avi movie files. Recorded with the DivX coded: free decoder at although in quiet a few media players already.

A Part/In Parts

"In 2006 the Company created A Part/In Parts a new media/performance installation as a result of a commission by the BCA Gallery, Bedford UK. This site-specific performance installation was created for the gallery environment and performed daily over a two-week period. It explored the use of the Particles motion-tracking system, created by New Media Artists Ziemovitz Maj and Piotr Kowalski, in the context of live performance. The challenge with this work was to create a live performance work that fully articulated the interactive capacity of the new media installation to a viewing spectatorship. However the work had to compositionally move beyond a presentational display of technology and to provide a further hybrid located performance. The work took ‘partiality’ and in particular, subjective spatial positioning as its thematic focus." Helen Bailey

720x480 resolution avi movie files. Recorded with the DivX coded: free decoder at although in quiet a few media players already.

Audience Participation

Performed at Dartlington,


and then all banners gone, and just about to tidy the last bits up.


Recording and Annotation event

A powerpoint of the key events as well as a recording session and full post-annotation session is availabel:


Power Point presentation- drha06HBversion2_mt.ppt

Equipment to bring to DRHA

A PC Shuttle system including a dual projector (Geowall) passive stereosciopic unit with a back projection screen.

The following image shows the approximate space required.


To give a sense of scale the following image shows the screen during an open day.


Second-Space Workshop July 27th-28th 2006

Sample pictures from workshop:-

Main Access Grid view:


Three sets of high quality stereoscopic video capture sessions were carried out during this session. The following are xvid compressed avi files showing clips of these three modes. All have been converted to red-cyan anaglyph. Installer for xvid is XviD-1.1.0-30122005.exe

Duet recordings from 25th July - Bedford

Duet #2 (80MB) duetAnaglyphBoth2.AVI

Duet #3 (35MB) duetAnaglyphBoth3.AVI

Duet #4 (35MB) duetAnaglyphBoth4.AVI

Duet #5 (30MB) duetAnaglyphBoth5.AVI

Duet recording from 28th July, one partner recorded the other live - DMU, Leicester

Duet #_3 (35MB) duetAnaglyph3.AVI

Duet #A2 (34MB) duetAnaglyphA2.AVI

Duet #B2 (34MB) duetAnaglyphB2.AVI

Duet recording from 28th July, both performers live but in remote locations - see images below

Duet #6 (37MB) AGanaglyph6.AVI

Duet #A1 (52MB) AGanaglyphA1.AVI


IMG_0897_DxO_cs.jpg IMG_0893_DxO_cs.jpg

First-Space Workshop July 24th-25th 2006

Pre-rendered stereoscopic side-by-side movie: recorded Tuesday 25th July 2006 at Bedford.

Small movies! 2x1024x768

Larger movies! 2x1280x1024


Practice Session Null-Space Workshops

Details will be here, but some pictures of the practice sessions.

sIMG_0848_DxOs.jpg sIMG_0847_DxOs.jpg sIMG_0862_DxOs.jpg sIMG_0855_DxOs.jpg sIMG_0851_DxOs.jpg

and image from Bedford campus showing test setup with side-by-side performance dance space and Virtual Reality projection space (the front projection unit).



DRH'06 – Digital Resources for the Humanities and Arts.


For most users visual presentations, performances and effects are some of the most influential experiences they will have due to the massive amount of the human brain that is hard-wired to support the human visual system. A part of the human visual system often overlooked is its ability to discriminate depth via stereoscopic cues; it is this part that we wish to investigate for enhancing recordings, analysis and performances within dance.

The psychologist James Alcock described our brain as a `belief engine' - constantly processing information from our senses and then creating an ever changing belief system about the world we live in that is extremely influenced by vision. The visual pathway almost doubles its processing to accommodate stereoscopic cues, and it is these cues and resulting experiences and possibly illusions that we wish to explore.

From a spectatorial position, often the most valued experience when observing live dance performance is that of the hightened corporeal interrelationship between the spectator and performer. This literal sharing of a common space and time and the attendant notions of effemerality of movement, performer’s presence and corporeality of performer/spectator that are experienced are often identified as intrinsic in any definition of ‘live’ performance. Performance Theorist Peggy Phelan states the following -

“Performance’s only life is in the present. Performance cannot be saved, recorded, documented, or otherwise participate in the circulation of representations of representations: once it does so, it becomes something other than performance. To the degree that performance attempts to enter the economy of reproduction it betrays and lessens the promise of its own ontology. Performance’s being, like the ontology of subjectivity …becomes itself through disappearance.” (1993:147)

In the context of dance practice more generally, dancers, choreographers and teachers rely on this literal sharing of space and time as a continuous and co-dependent phenomenon as a central element of their practice. However for the analysing, documenting, archiving and disseminating of practice this provides obvious limitations.

Recent creative explorations concerning the use and integration of various visual technologies within the context of dance practice has resulted in a questioning of key aspects and properties of; ‘liveness’, the representation of the mediatised body and conceptualisations of space/site and time.

The use of stereoscopic imagery and its combination with live performance and 3D virtual environments provides a new context for exploring these ideas.

In 2004 a test performance used a large stereoscopic passive VEC (Virtual Environment Centre, at De Montfort University) to display a real-time rendered world of 3D shapes that have the appearance of being in front of and surrounding a dancer when viewed with passive polarised glasses. The dynamical nature of the changing shape and forms from the virtual world, together with the movement and expression of the performer, in response to these, provides a completely new set of opportunities for performance.

For the next generation and repeatable interaction we plan on using portable stereoscopic units (Geowall units), as well as transmission system utilizing the next generation of video conferencing (the Access Grid environment), which includes automatic recording and remote storage. This allows for different types of stereoscopic performances to be considered. A performance schedule planned for June 2006 has the following order.

  1. Single stereoscopic recording of a performance. Stereoscopic recording is required using two synchronised cameras. This will explore an additional mode of documentation for the recording and archiving of live dance performance as well as providing further possibilities for the creative use of visual technology in both screen-based and live choreography.
  2. Master class performance verification. A common teaching metaphor uses accurate reproduction of movement material, copied from an expert in the learning and teaching of dance technique. This traditionally requires teacher and student to be in the same place in order to fully understand the spatial detail of the movement material. 2D video recordings distort the spatial relationship of the dancer to the space, therefore affecting the students understanding of direction, size, level etc. Novel use of the stereoscopic recording is to be able to playback side-by-side evaluations; for example from the teacher and the student.
  3. Improvised duet performance for dancer and computer animator. Performing in front of computer generated 3D controlled animation scene. This is a replay of the 2004 test piece, it should be noted that there are actually two performers in action, the dancer and the computer animator who is driving the VR simulation. Therefore the experiment explores the concepts of ‘improvisation’ and ‘performance’ as interdisciplinary activities. Stereoscopic recording is required with two synchronised cameras attached with polarisation filters.
  4. Live performance of pre-choreographed material within a 3D recorded environment. This is a version of the previous procedure but there is only one performer and it explores the effect that this interrelationship can have on traditional understandings of both ‘liveness’ and space/site in performance.
  5. Full live dancing across the network. One performer based at Manchester is stereoscopically recorded and transmitted using the Internet to a second performer based at De Montfort University, who is positioned in front of a stereoscopic screen viewing the first performer in stereo; with resulting feedback to the first performer.

At DRH (Digital Resources in the Humanities) 2006 we would aim to present a portable stereoscopic display unit for full size projection capabilities as well as playback imagery from these tests.