Creative direction Sebastiaan Smink
CGI: Axel Schoterman
Choregraphy: Rex Collins
Music: Maarten Vos
Special thanks to 'Het Nieuwe Kader'
ACT NATURAL || VIRTUAL ACT
In the digital age, the line between natural reality and virtual reality is becoming increasingly blurred and as technology advances, so do the possibilities for artistic expression.“Act Natural || Virtual Act” (A.N.V.A.) is an artistic research project that takes the form of an experimental dance video and aims to challenge and reevaluate our perception of what is natural and explores the potential of human expression in the digital age.
A.N.V.A., or ‘Act Natural || Virtual Act’, was born out of the desire to experiment with the boundaries of CGI and real-world motion data. Through this shared interest artists Sebastiaan Smink and Axel Schoterman decided to use dance as their prefered medium, as it is one of the most fundamental ways of physical human expression. Rex Collins, a contemporary dancer and performer, was introduced to the project to create an improvisational choreography based on the theme of "Natural vs. Virtual". After a few weeks of rehearsal, the choreography was recorded using motion tracking technology and converted it into the data set that would be used for the project.
From here the challenge became to translate this data into a new ”virtual act.” Not just by reassembling Rex' data into an accurate digital representation, but by reimagining how this “natural act” could be reimagined using CGI. This is when Axel Schoterman became involved. For the virtual act, Axel developed a procedural network that controls the material and shape of the digital performer. As the movements get faster, more color and trails are added to the human form. The effect gradually intensifies until the human shape is no longer recognisable. What remains is the performance in its final form: a digital sculpture, expanding the limits of natural expression in a virtual world.
The production of the music followed a process similar to that of creating the performance. An actual human performance was recorded and then digitally altered to create a new, virtual counterpart. Maarten Vos, a Dutch-born cellist, composer, and producer from Berlin, improvised several takes on both cello and synthesizer, resulting in a blend of contemporary and traditional classical musical phrases. Sebastiaan then took this performance and manipulated it using a digital granular synthesis environment. Using a variety of methods, he reassembled the material into a multitude of new loops and textures that are used as the score for the film.