Week 5: Nicoletta & Sean
After a week of attending art events and traveling I am excited about a lot of rest to restore and reset myself. I am preparing for my upcoming performances titled Bathed in Light (Bañada en Luz).
“Bathed in Light, a ritual performed by Nicoletta, honors the Mothers of Living Waters, Lemanja (Yemoja) and Yemaya. Clothed in enigmatic shades of the deep ocean floor, Nicoletta’s body is transformed into an alter; her movements serve as offerings to the goddesses. She bathes; cleanses space and sculpts the air with light. Her Crown adorned with stardust is a conduit to the nurturing moonlight which she calls upon during her performance.”
In the studio this week I am working on the video projection component for my performances. I have been spending a lot of time daydreaming, actually night gazing and simply looking up at the sky.
I am fascinated by the moon and how it affects water on this planet. I started to think about the body. I started to think about how much of me is water. I started to contemplate how phases of the moon affect me. Since the moon’s gravitational pull affects bodies of water I began to ask myself questions like:
Does the moon also affect me?
Does the moon impact my mood and affect how I feel?
Does it affect the fluid in my brain and body in a way that I have yet to appreciate?
I look forward to continuing to investigate this concept in my studio. Water is an important element in my performances. Ritual bathing is a key component in my practice. I look forward to continuing to discover more during my residency and beyond.
This week my lab continued refining the EmotiBit circuitry for use in the SciArt residency. Working with Nicoletta in a dance performance, one aspect of the EmotiBit circuitry that is super important for this residency is the ability to measure complex movement.
The circuitry that measures movement is called an inertial measurement unit or IMU. Back in the days of the Apollo space missions, IMUs were larger than your head, but today IMU circuitry is so small that you need tweezers to pick them up. So how does an IMU measure movement? There are actually 3 different sensors that can measure movement inside an IMU circuit -- an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer -- and since we live in a 3-dimensional world each of these sensors usually make measurements from 3 different axes, for a total of up to 9 different signals to create a portrait of movement.
The most common sensor in an IMU is an accelerometer. You find accelerometers in many devices ranging from phones to wrist-worn wearables and the reason they’re called accelerometers is because they measure linear acceleration. If you hold an accelerometer perfectly still you’ll see the force (or more accurately acceleration) of gravity in one direction and the other 2 directions will measure zero. However, if you make a sudden movement the accelerometer will register that movement as a spike in whichever direction you move. Accelerometers are commonly used in activity trackers because they’re good at measuring the up/down movements associated with running and forward/backward movement of swinging your arms.
While accelerometers are great at measuring steps or other up/down or side/side movements, a gyroscope is critical if you want to measure rotational movements like the complex gestures of a dance performance or the tricks of a snowboarder on a halfpipe. Although many common devices don’t include a gyroscope because of the increased cost and power consumption, having a gyroscope can be critical to determine whether a dancer is standing still or doing a pirouette, so we made sure to include a gyroscope on EmotiBit.
A magnetometer can be used to measure cardinal direction. Because the earth has a magnetic field, you can use a compass or a magnetometer to find North. This information can be useful to understand how a person is oriented in space and help to calibrate the start position and correct accumulated errors of gyroscope data to give a more complete picture of movement.
Using a combination of an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer built into the EmotiBit, I’m looking forward to exploring how we can capture a portrait of movement during Nicoletta’s dance performance and understand how that relates to the physiological changes Nicoletta or her audience experiences as she sculpts her surrounding space.
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