“GestureCloud: Gesture, Surplus Value and Collaborative Exchange” presented by Doyle and Jun


Session Title:

  • Creator Sessions

Presentation Title:

  • GestureCloud: Gesture, Surplus Value and Collaborative Exchange




  • Keywords: China-Canada exchange, gesture, labour, visual art, motion capture, Kinect.

    GestureCloud is a micro-collaborative formation of artists working in Canada and China. Founded by Judith Doyle (Toronto) and Fei Jun (Beijing), we investigate art, gesture and the politics of labour exchange. In our project, 3D depth cameras are adapted for motion capture and gesture representation. We ask, how can these tools be best leveraged for use in the art studio and for collecting documentary gestures on location? We are interested in the syntactic structures of gesture, and consider culturally-situated, historically-informed theoretical models grounded in gesture studies and other interdisciplinary fields (performativity, art history, neuroscience). Key research themes include technological mediation, post-internet conditions, and the changing definition of physical versus immaterial labour. GestureCloud addresses how our ubiquitously networked present impacts conceptions of embodiment, subjectivity, and agency. Our project probes changing modes of artistic production and issues of labour. Over six years and four China-Canada artist exchanges, GestureCloud began with traditional mocap and subsequently built Kinect-based skeleton tracking to make artworks. The .bvh files we generated are used to control avatars, mobile devices, and robotic systems. We will discuss studio-based tele-collaboration in research, using examples of GestureCloud projects in virtual and physical exhibitions. At ISEA2013, we will demonstrate for the first time a portable 3D depth camera and a suite of applications we programmed, for portable motion capture. The depth camera is made with an XBOX Kinect, embedded computing, and a 3D printed shell. The depth camera applications include field-based documentary motion capture, gesture recognition, and interactive media installations. We consider gesture as a meeting point between different discourses and embodied experience where meaning can be identified and generated.

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