Vis Insita – NIME

Reading through several papers at the NIME archive, the title Expressive potentials of motion capture in the Vis Insita musical performance by Bazoge et. al . catched my attention. It is about using optical motion capture technology with passive infrared markers (MoCap) to influence the sound in the live-performance Vis Insita.


In the project technology that was merely designed for the use in virtual reality, animation cinema or biomechanics research was used in a live performance on stage. Three sets of passive infrared markers were used. The main element was a kinematic pendulum with a passive marker on top. The pendulum controlled parameters of the synth pad and the main audio output bus. The second marker was put on the head of an electric bass guitar, and the third on the wrist of the electric percussion drummer. The markers did also influence the light system.

What I found interesting about this project was the use of technology to further give the performers further possibilities to express the music on stage. The fact that the elements not only are influenced by the performer but also by physical forces such as gravity, rebound and elasticity, makes each performance unique.

“This opens up interesting interpretation perspectives for a performer. The influence on sound parameters is no longer linked to his/her gestures; its mediated by an interface with its own physical and kinetic characteristics that he/she can creatively exploit”.

The use of a kinematic tangible element, like the pendulum, enhances the visual experience for the audience. This interface is also relational. The relation between the performer and the pendulum sets a clear link between the movements and the sound. Through the empathic relationship that occurs when the audience watches the movements of an actor, the audience becomes the same gestures in mind. Making the performance even more immersive and exciting.