body of noise
immersive multimedia performance, 2024

“Body of Noise” is a solo multimedia performance incorporating motion-interactive video, dance, and live electronic music. Throughout the performance, complex bodies emerge through technological translation, as the performer coerces body-tracking devices into mesmerizing dysfunction. Four projections encase the stage, with a translucent scrim at the front. A series of poetic experiments with machines unfolds, as the performer’s body is varyingly mediated scene by scene. Augmented reality, a real-time game engine, and custom machine learning models are all used to process the embodied performance, while the performer alternately speaks, sings, dances, and operates electronic musical instruments on stage. The script charts an associative exploration of computational logic and what it reflects and distorts about reality and our desires. For example, the artist speaks about how randomness functions in the digital versus the natural, how glitchy face-tracking filters mirror our pervasive longing to find ourselves, and how binary logic (0-1, on-off, black-white) exacerbates our alienation. This work is self-reflexive, creatively demonstrating and reflecting on the technologies it relies on to function. 

This piece incorporates the following software and tools: Touch Designer, Custom Stable Diffusion Machine Learning Models, Meta Spark AR, Unreal Engine, Optitrack Motion Capture with Motive. A custom-made suit and life-sized ragdoll were prepared with markers to enable live motion capture. Avatars were prepared using Meta Human Creator. The music is performed with a live electronic setup of hardware synthesizers, a sequencer, looping and effects pedals.
Photos by Søren Olsen and Nimrod Astarhan

This project was developed at the University of Iowa, Department of Theatre Arts, with support through the Grant Wood Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Performance.