Jimmy Day

What would it be like if we could see our movement? 

Illuminate (2023, Chelsi Alise Cocking) is an interactive art installation in which the movements of a person through open space are visually augmented and brought to life in front of them in real time through custom-coded interactive visualization software. Seamlessly merging physical and digital space, Illuminate submerges us into an artificial reality in which our usually unseen paths of movement become visible– seemingly levitating in space. This aims to give us a visceral yet magical moment in which we can see, interact with, and play with our once invisible wakes of motion—pushing the boundaries of our senses and making the invisible visible. The project also explores the themes of spatial computing, bodily expression, abstraction, and choreographic interfaces.

Through hand-coded, custom software, Illuminate, captures and transforms every nuance of a person's movements in space over time into intentionally crafted, visually vibrant, luminescent computer graphics. It does so by employing camera-based computer vision techniques along with the latest in machine learning-based body tracking software. A translucent scrim mounted in the installation space is lit with these projected graphics, bringing a dark room to life and creating an immersive environment in which the visualizations of our visible movement engulf us—allowing us to meditate with a newly abstracted form of our body and play with the extruded forms of our body's path over time. This work is done through a personal practice of using computing as a medium for craft in art, design, and performance. 

Overall, Illuminate provides a deeper understanding of bodily motion to a general audience through a playful interactive performance space made for human creativity, expression, and public play. Investigating the question: What would it be like if we could see our movement? Illuminate is concerned with the poetic implications of making the invisible trails of our human movement visible. It explores the relationship between our bodies' movement, time, space, and the digital world. It is designed to provoke questions regarding the possible implications of a world in which we can more casually and effortlessly control and interact with digital elements spatially through the free unrestricted movement of our bodies.