Posted March 31, 2016
A group affiliated with the School of Literature, Media, and Communication’s Digital Media program presented their project, LuminAI, at the Hambridge Art Auction and Field Experiment Gala on April 23.
Co-presented by the Goat Farm Arts Center, the event yielded “a tangled rhythm of inspiring experiences by stimulating the senses, triggering new thoughts and offering moments of contemplation,” according to the Hambidge Auction website.
The LuminAI project is led by Digital Media master’s student Jessica Anderson and professor Brian Magerko along with T. Lang, Mikhail Jacobs, John Osburn, and Hebru Brantley.
LuminAI is an interactive art installation that features an artificially intelligent virtual dance partner that is projected onto a screen. The AI performer is a visually striking, anthropomorphic abstract figure made of particles of light.
The LuminAI installation developed Anderson’s thesis project. It is a new iteration of Viewpoints AI, which is an existing project in Magerko’s ADAM Lab. VAI is an interactive dance installation that features an artificially intelligent anthropomorphic dancer that is projected onto a screen. It uses a Microsoft Kinect to sense (and learn) the human dancer’s movements while the dancer’s shadow and the virtual AI dancer are projected onto a large screen.
By learning the dancer’s movements and responding dynamically, the AI performer and human can create a shared movement experience through improvised interactions. Mikhail Jacob, the project lead, is a Ph.D. student in the College of Computing and has been leading development on this project for the past four years.
“You hear music and follow the sound into a large geodesic dome, and you see a figure appear on the walls,” says Anderson. “When you move, you notice that the figure responds with its own gestures. It starts to mirror you, then learns your movements.”
Anderson continues, “The more you play, the more it learns, and the more fun you have improvising dance with this virtual partner.”
According to Anderson, the installation asks questions about sociality and interaction, but it also intentionally asks questions about collaboration between the fields of technology and art.
The concept behind LuminAI is to install three instances of the Viewpoints AI system inside of a geodesic dome to create a 3D shadow theatre space that can be used as both a performance technology and as a playful public installation space. Anderson is designing and constructing the installation with the support of the Goat Farm Arts Center; Jacob is the software lead, and Magerko is the faculty advisor for the project.
The Goat Farm and Hambidge jointly created this initiative to develop transformative ideas through a widely observable public action. Selected from 77 submissions from scientists, artists, performers and visionaries across the world, one of these finalists will be awarded the $20,000 commission to realize their grand scale vision in the streets of Atlanta this fall.
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