Nuit Blanche 2012
Waag/Laurens Schuurkamp BY

Shadow dancing at Nuit Blanche

I was asked for the annual Nuit Blanche in Amsterdam to make a visual installation that surprises and challenges. The Theatrum Anatomicum of the Waag was the location and DJ ladies Flamma + support were reponsible for the sound. For an impression, see these pictures at Flickr.

As we were the only 'dance' location in the centre, the aim was to create a club atmosphere with a technical art edge, so I came up with the idea of shadow dancing. Conceptually, it was important to me to make the installation interactive, responding in realtime to the music as well as to the visitors, to let them become part of the visual experience. I therefore divided my installation in two parts, a spatial layered sculpture made from white boxes beamed by using videomapping and a video projection of the dancers at the opposite side.

The visuals on the boxes were computer-generated images by selfmade software using the live music as imput data. The mapping sculpture did indeed bring the 'technical art edge' we had hoped for, the Theatrum Anatomicum really came alive as a club. The second part was the projection on the wall above the DJs. For this part I used a Xbox Kinect that scanned the space threedimensionally in infrared.

The 3D data from the Kinect was then combined with the music and projected as a so-called point cloud. This produced almost alienating images of the dancing visitors. They would explode in dots on the wall or flowed back to their real contours: shadow dancing.

This is a list of the soft/hardware I used:

  • Madmapper
  • Processing and Minim sound library
  • Syphon framework
  • 2 beamers
  • 2 MacBooks
  • Xbox Kinect