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Rensselaer digital artist Kathleen Ruiz has teamed up with five female artists to create a virtual dancer named Ava (short for Avatar).
This spring, Ava danced with her human counterparts in a modern dance performance, called the Ava Project, at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy and again in August in Brazil as part of File 2002, an international arts and media symposium.
The performance was the culmination of a series of short residencies at the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, N.Y., in which the artists explored interplay with each other and with technology. They used traditional and digital elements that combined modern dance, electronic music, sculpture, and digital art.
Conceived by Ruiz, assistant professor of arts at Rensselaer, Ava has been assembled, bit by byte, in a cross-country collaboration.
Avas movements were created in a California studio by dancer and choreographer Lisa Naugle, who attached body markers sensors covered in reflective tape to various parts of her body. Eight infrared cameras followed the markers movements as Naugle danced. The information was then transported over the Internet to Ruiz, who created Avas form, a bright blue female body.
Ava came alive during the performance when the digital figure was projected onto a stage from a laptop to interact with a sound-sensitized sculpture, Naugle, and another dancer.
Like technology itself, Ava becomes a compelling figment capable of transforming our imagination, Ruiz says.
Ava was featured in the Wired News magazine in June.
|Rensselaer Magazine: September 2002|
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