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Dance Floor Step Sequencer Part I

I have so much to say about this idea that I don’t quite know where to start. If it is unclear what’s going on with the checker board, please check out my previous post about the Checker Board Step Sequencer.

This is a proof-of-concept demo video to illustrate the use of a dance floor projection as a step sequencer. The bouncing circles represent dancers who, in their movement across the floor, turn the steps of the sequencer on or off.

The sensing and graphics system synchronizes with Ableton Live to enable collaboration with musicians.

I first envisioned this system about two years ago. The question was “Where and why could we produce an interactive large-scale projection at Burningman?” The Where is obvious: On the ground. The playa is smooth and white. In 2011 there will be a new moon on the first night of the event, so it will be quite dark every night of the event.

The Why is always a trickier question for me when it comes to interactive graphics. So many camera-sensing floor projections make for an interesting curiosity, but lack content or a reason to engage for more than a minute or two. I wanted to conceive of an interactive projection system that gives the visitors a reason to interact.

With this system, dancers can clearly see their affect on the graphics and audio, but each dancer is essentially selecting from a palette of musical options, all of which produce a result that is musically pleasing. The graphics, drum samples and music with which the dancers interact can change drastically over time, giving them new rhythms to explore. This is an interactive system with a really fantastic Why.

I’d love some feedback on this idea. If you think it’s amazing, please let me know. If you think it’s played-out and “Totally 2008,” please let me know.

This graphics system was produced with openFrameworks. With a projector, I could set this up today were it not for a lack of an important component: a thermographic camera. (Basic IR really won’t do.) If you have a hookup or any experience, do please let me know.



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4 Responses to “Dance Floor Step Sequencer Part I”

  1. Will Copps November 11, 2010 11:18 am

    I think this is incredible! Would the floor have any sort of checkerboard layout, or would it just be white?


  2. Josh November 11, 2010 12:56 pm

    Will, the floor itself would be white, and the grid pattern would be projected. This opens up possibilities for all kinds of other step patterns, like the hexagonal patterns I’ve seen lately, pentagonal patterns like you see somewhat in the images in this post here, or a radial pattern, which I’m hoping to implement today.

  3. Will Copps November 11, 2010 11:55 pm

    Very cool, Josh. I’m really impressed. My mind is swirling with ideas! The things that you could do with this… awesome.

  4. FSK1138 November 16, 2010 1:39 pm

    ace this is what i was thinking about – when i said i would try it on people

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