A Portrait of the Moving Body

Tim Murray-Browne and Jan Lee - A hieroglyph from the audiovisual interactive dance performance This Floating World created through Jan Lee dancing while being tracked by a 3D camera and our interactive software. The image is an inspiration behind the participatory digital interactive installation Movement Alphabet.

A hieroglyph created from Jan’s movements using the software we developed for This Floating World.

Back in 2014 when I was creating This Floating World with dance artist Jan Lee, we created a central chapter where we used a 3D camera to let the dancer paint the wall behind with her body. As we played, we found various dance motifs created marks reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy. This turned into the Hieroglyphs chapter of the piece. It also left an interest in the physicality of writing: how the movements of the body are captured in the marks of a painter or the personality of someone’s handwriting.

With Movement Alphabet, we’re bringing these ideas into an interactive installation. The way we move our bodies, even as non-dancers, expresses a huge amount of our personality. Our characteristic movements are a tapestry of our past, blending conscious and unconscious influences with the unique mechanics of each individual’s body.

We’re exploring these everyday movements through a one-to-one interactive session with Jan Lee and digitally mapping them into an image creating a Movement Portrait of an individual. The experience is an exploration into how you relate to your own physicality, with the aim of creating an image that captures the essence of your physical presence.

I’d like to invite you to the first public sharing of our work so far at the Raphael Gallery of the Victoria & Albert Museum on Saturday 16 July, 1pm – 4pm.

A Movement Portrait of Shannon Woo by Jan Lee and Tim Murray-Browne, created by her movements being tracked by a 3D camera and rendered using bespoke software we created, part of the immersive participatory interactive art installation Movement Alphabet.

A Movement Portrait of Shannon Woo moving to the element of Fire. This was made during our first round of testing in May.

But before that, we’re inviting people into the studio to help us develop and test the work. This will be taking place at GAS Station in West Ham, London where we are currently artists in residence, between 27 June and 4 July. Drop me an email if you’re interested in coming to this.

We’re also writing a Movement Portrait blog where you can see posts from both of us documenting how the project evolves.