Impossible Shadows

Existing in the darkness, born from the imagination.

Impossible Shadows


A movement visualization tool, allowing performers to create multiple shadows following their past movements. Through my work projections and light, I've become inceasingly aware and interested in the absense of light.

While working with projection mapping onto moving objects, I noticed the shadows created from the projectors light shining on the subject. This gave me a visual element (the true shadow) that was perfectly shaped like the subject, and realized I could use this naturally occuring effect and extend it. By using a similar effect to our Vibrant Motion visualizer, I was able to design a system that would project digital shadows of the performer, directly onto the performer - resulting in a layered effect of multiple digital shadows as well as the subject's true shadow. A result of this effect is that the performer is hidden by the projected shadow, creating an entirely different type of performance. Suddenly the the dancer is now longer "in the spotlight", but rather a puppet master, controlling multiple instances of themselves while removing the focus on any one specific motion. It is pure movement shown through time.

I had the opportunity to explore this concept with Visionary Dance Artist, Bee Inspiral (Bee Inspiral). Bee has been developing a unique form of geometric dance. This tool allowed her to further her exploration of this technique by giving her the ability to appear in multiple places at once and further reveal the geometery she was creating in the moment. The video is compilation of our first rehearsal with this system.

Date: April 2015

Category:Performance, Interactive Projection

Technologies:Projection Mapping, OpenFrameworks, Kinect v1