Research to Practice: A Creative Response to your dissertation
Tutors: Paul Burgess, Vanessa Merr, Louis Colbourne, Jim Hobs
BA(Hons) Graphic Design for Digital Media
University of Brighton
Create one of the following, or propose your own response (Subject to tutor approval) responding creatively to the title and content of your dissertation. Your outcome should explore sequence and narrative in an interesting and experimental way that develops your personal visual voice. it muse be presented to a high professional standard.
- An experimental digital narrative
- Set of at least 6 gifs exploring your theme
- A sequence of illustration
- Design a new typeface
- Design an app or website that explore your theme
- Design/illustration for a game
- A sequence of documentary photography
As an international student coming to study for the first semester in Level 6, I was received with great welcoming by the Tutors.
Our first project was writing a Dissertation and from that to create a work that responds creatively to the title and the content of our dissertation.
The opportunity of writing a dissertation made me want to take a research I wrote last year into a new depth. I presented my work “How does dance enhance music” to Louis Colbourne and we both agreed that I should take advantage of the fact I’m in England and having important sources I should reach and explore.
It led me to the idea of exploring one of the chapters of the research I did, which was “From slavery to the stage”. I wanted to find the point in time of the first impression of the europeans travellers and slave owners encountered the African dance, and maybe to spot on the moment the African dance and the European dance would merge into what we know today which is Jazz.
I found the “Rare Books” section in the Jubilee Library of Brighton, and was lucky to find original printed and signed books from the 18th century. It was very interesting to read these original writings about Race, culture, goods, slavery and more. I continued my research in London in the Barbican library and Guildhall Library. There I found 3 relevant books.
1/ Dance history: An introduction by Janet Adshead-lansdale and June Layson
2/ Roots of Black Music, The vocal, instrumental, and dance heritage of Africa and Black america by Ashenafi Kebede
3/ Black Dance in London, 1730-1850, Innovation, tradition and resistance by Rodriguez King-Dorset.
As I kept researching through books and the internet, I came to find that the last book I borrowed “Black Dance in London” was actually the answer of my dissertation. So I started to rethink my dissertation question as I found its answer perfectly and comprehensively written in this book by Rodriguez King-Dorset. After talking to Jim Hobs and Louis about that subject again I’ve decided to change my subject of the dissertation to a subject that would be able to reflect on the present and the future.
Keeping this thought in mind, it led to me to the idea that I encountered last year during my work on “How does Dance enhance music”, which was how throughout the history, humankind documented dance. A 5D experience. I found it perfect as it deals with different visuals mediums throughout the history and I knew this work would produce interesting findings.
I wrote to a few Motion Capture studios in the area of London and Brighton and managed to contact syntex.com, they offered me a collaboration with their Motion Capture suit in order we both have a capture of dancing movement that can be translated into 3D graphics. We haven’t yet make this session because they couldn’t find the time but I hope it will be possible before I leave England.
Another great opportunity was presented to me when the lecturer Paul Burgess, suggested that I’ll meet another lecturer in the university of Brighton, Kelly Snook. Snook as been working for two decades in NASA and currently is one of the developers of the mi.mu gloves. These gloves control sound through motion sensors. Meeting Kelly Snook in her “Fab Lab” in the university of brighton building in Moolescumb, gave me the opportunity to try the mi.mu gloves myself and understand more about the world of movement and technology. It was very inspiring. By the end of the meeting, Snook offered me to come and help on her next project evolving A VR experience together with circus performers.
In order to understand the nature of VR, I studied the basic of it using the Lynda platform and learn from youtube how to use Unity (Software for games), Visited a few venues that offered to experience VR such as: Tate Modern- Modiliagni exhibition , “We are robots” Sound workshop in London and also when Phillip came to class with his headset.
I presented the “Visual Synopsis” to the class explaining my dissertation Idea which was received well. Please watch it here:
As I have finally decided what was my Dissertation about the next stage was to present the practice work. By finding out about the latest technology of Motion Capture, 3D graphics and Virtual Reality devices. I’ve decided to stretch the boundaries of my skills, and decided to create a game in “Unity” which is a software for 3D games that can be exported to VR devices.
The game/Interaction platform is intended for Choreographs and users alike. The idea is to first capture dance movement through the Motion Capture suit, then to apply it to a 3D graphics of a character that will move accordingly and put it in an imaginative environment and to be able to explore it with the VR Device. It would be interactive so the figure can move in one way and the user will touch one of the character features and that can randomise or change the character moves.
This experience of capturing movement is not only ground breaking in the way we witness dance as we can go around the dance and experience the movement in real-time and in 360 degree.
The interaction between the user and the character can create new moves and be a fun platform to explore movement.
This is a simulation I created in Cinema 4D for how the experience of dance in a VR environment. You can turn your head around, go around the dancer and see how she dances from every angle you wish, and by the end you can also stop her movement.
I designed the elements in a way to create a fantastic environment, 3D graphics enabling us to create our craziest dreams. So I wanted to create the Idea of "Deserted Oasis". I imported it to Unity to create it as a VR game and managed to export it to an iOS system on my iPhone, for that process I used the help of a friend because coding was needed. For the best experience of this game. I ordered from Google, the google cardboard which then I was able to show the teachers and the students how it should really look.
At this stage, the game is working but the interaction in still on the level of “Work in Progress” as it is requires advanced coding and more knowledge of the software.
Writing the research and then creating a game from this research is an interesting process that in the end feels as a comprehensive body of work. I feel accomplished, from reviewing the work I did, I see that I learned things I couldn't learned in any other place. Having the time to read, reflect and act was really important for this process. I learned a new software which I wish to use in the future and I know this work will accompany me in my academic journey because I find it fascinating.
With that said, there's still more to go on the final outcome. Creating the interaction part of the game is a great challenge that I didn't manage to create yet because it needs further learning of the software and coding. I'm planning on continuing working on this game because I wish to complete it.
I would love to take it with me and further explore it, together with the motion capture suit features, it seems the possebilites are endless.
Really enjoyed this assignment, thank you