The Changing Room

Research area
Interface Ecologies
Research Project
Mette Ramsgard Thomsen (CITA), Carol Brown ( Carol Brown Dances )

A collaboration between Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, CITA and choreographer Carol Brown.

The Changing Room is a dance-architecture investigating the conceptualisation and making of a hybrid space where physical and digital boundaries merge. Developed as a collaboration between dance choreographer Carol Brown and architect Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, The Changing Room crosses experiences and concepts between the fields of architecture, dance and computer science, the project questions the thinking of event space in architecture and dance while examining the question of presence in Virtual Environments and Human Computer Interaction.

Building on the research undertaken as part of the Embodied Interfaces project, The Changing Room questions how new embodied practices arise as we learn to interact with new body centred interface-environments. The Changing Room takes place on an interactive stage informed by a camera interface allowing for body-centred and intuitive interaction with a digital environment that in turn is projected back into the performance space. The performance explores dance as a means of framing interaction. The interface does not seek to identify the user’s body parts and map them onto a corresponding digital anatomy. Here, a set of statistical characteristics of the silhouettes size and shape are generated and updated in real-time. This open relationship between physical and digital presence proposes the overlapping perspectives of two distinct spatial narratives and their surface tensions. The choreography becomes a means of exploring the inhabitation of this space. Shaped through open movement states, rather than a set choreography, the dance retains the liveness of interaction, and communicating it to an audience. The performers become the negotiators of this boundary space, revealing its potential presences to their audience.

The Changing Room is an interdisciplinary practice based research project. Through a series of open exposures, through residencies and workshops, the core team of architect, choreographer, dancers and programmers were brought together to establish a common vocabulary of images that in turn lead to the advancement of design criteria for the spatial design, choreography and computational system.

The Changing Room was premiered at the Ludvig Forum, Aachen June 2004, and as part of Dance Umbrella in London, November 2004. The Changing Room is performed by Carol Brown, Catherine Bennett and Delphine Gaborit. Music by Jerome Soudan/Mimetic, lighting design by Michael Mannion and costumes by Shanti Sand, programming Jesper Mortensen and Chris Parker.

The project was supported by Arts Council London and was undertaken in collaboration with and with support from University of Brighton, School of Architecture and Design.

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