LAB01: Nirav Christophe Interview and Video’s

This video is the interview with Nirav Christophe about the making process at the LAB in three parts:

  1. Preparation phase
  2. Production phase
  3. Presentation phase

This interview is in Dutch. If you would like to get an idea about the LAB please jump to the Video impressions of the production phase and presentation phase in between the interview parts and read the English summary below.

The video’s are at 720P HD quality. Please select a resolution appropriate for your Internet connection.

Exploring a poem

P1030180Nirav Christophe wanted to interactively explore the Dutch poem ‘De Visser’ by Judith Herzberg with the dramaturgical guidance of Mart-Jan Zegers. Being a writer himself we felt that his performative possibilities should not include the usage of a keyboard or any other writing tools but rather involve his whole body and thinking process. To interact with the poem itself two systems where used; the text engine and the 3D engine. To be able to become witness of his thinking process Nirav had to talk out loud we decided to use the Sound engine for live audio-sampling. Motion tracking and a Wii-mote where used to enable Nirav to control the sampling process and playback.

P1030197The first day live sampling of spoken text and playback through interaction with the WII-mote was explored. The lines of the poem where loaded in the Text Engine and could be projected one by one through WII-mote interaction. Nirav would speak out loud his associations while browsing through the lines of the poem. Recording his voice and playing them back. After some free association sessions a selection of spoken texts where made and put in a playlist. Having added his own thoughts to the system it was time to improvise more on-stage with his body.

P1030193The motion tracker was used in combination with the Region Patch to create three active fields on the floor. Nirav could now with his WII-mote record live speech and place his live recording in one of these three regions. When he would move in that region the sample would play back. The pre-recorded playlist of thoughts where accessible through another set of buttons on the WII-mote. The whole system now enabled Nirav to trigger 2D Text lines form the original poem, play his pre-recorded spoken thoughts. Sample live spoken thoughts, place them in one of three regions and play them back by moving physically through them.

Altogether this configuration gave Nirav an immediate and intuitive spatial interface to compose his reactions to and with the poem. For a few hours he improvised and played freely to explore its possibilities and performative potential. We noticed that the Region patch was putting too much raw data into the system so its performance slowed down making the responsiveness of the motion tracking less immediate. It was visibly disrupting Nirav’s creative and performance flow.

P1030211At the end of day one we introduced the third system: a realtime 3D digital space in which the Poem was build as separate sentences. Each 2D text sentence is an image put on a plane that is floating in 3D digital space. The planes can be moved and rotated relatively to each other. A virtual camera is ‘seeing’ this space from a certain position and angle. Its perspective is projected within the physical space on a back wall. Nirav could manipulate the position and angle of the virtual camera with a keyboard lying on the floor. The 2D text sentences could be moved and rotated in digital 3D space by manipulating markers called Fideucials that we printed on cardboard and where scattered on the floor.

P1030223Nirav needed quite some time to be able to orient himself in the physical space in relation to the virtual camera in the digital space. Additionally the physical position and rotation of the cardboard markers in relation to the relative position and rotation of the 2D text planes in the digital 3D space was a lot to handle. We decided to at least connect the virtual camera also to the WII-mote so Nirav would not be constrained in his physical position. Also we made a physical logical structure for the markers for the poem to be in the right order.

In day two we had only four hours to play. Nirav now played with all systems at the same time. Triggering sentences from the Poem as projected 2D text, responding with either pre-recorded or live recorded spoken thoughts and reactions. Triggering this audio with the WII-mote or by moving through the regions. Meanwhile trying to also manipulate the position of the virtual camera in digital 3D space and positioning the cardboard markers to show the 2D sentences of the original poem in a certain order and distance. Through the lack of hands-on experience with digital 3D space and the mental intense task to relate this to the physical space and his position Nirav clearly got lost. At some point surrendering himself to the system shouting ‘I am a marker!’.


P1030226On the last day Nirav presented his finding to an audience. Although the tracking and region system was dramatically slowing down in performance the result of the two day experiment was considered a great success. Both Nirav and Mart-Jan gathered a lot of ideas potentially suitable for a performance. Lacking a deadline for an actual performance enabled both makers to freely experiment and explore possibilities.

Photos Nirav Christophe