Talk title: Data bodies at play: Analyzing the human movement and sound captured by a video game Speaker: Gina Bloom, et al., English Department
Venue: 360 Shields Library
Date: Tuesday May 23, 12 - 1 pm
Keywords: Abstract: We are analyzing movement and sound data collected from users of Play the Knave, a digital game created at the UC Davis Modlab that allows users to create digital performance of scenes from Shakespeare's plays. Our system uses Microsoft's Kinect camera to pick up players' voices and skeletal data that reflects the movements they make while playing. The game has been installed in ~20 public and educational spaces, producing an archive of ~500 videos featuring two users each. Given its size and digital nature, this archive presents an opportunity to assess whether big data computational analysis can be extended beyond text-based corpuses to the performing arts. We are interested in how users' voices and bodies evince efforts to adapt to the game's interface. The game presents two challenges for players: (1) obscure, difficult language from Shakespeare's plays is supposed to be read aloud; (2) avatars resist certain movements due to limitations in the platform's ability to read and render complex performer body movements. We want to know: 1) How do players respond when faced with the "glitch" of Shakespeare's language and/or of the visual interface? 2) How do the voice and body work (or not work) together to create an expressive performance or to manage perceived glitches in the interface? 3) Do players become more expressive in one channel (movement or voice) when they are challenged with expression in another? This research has implications for the study of speech and movement, education, theater and performance studies, and the digital arts and humanities.

In this "un-seminar" presenters introduce a complex challenge they have with their research and the audience brainstorms solutions. These are fun, enlightening, highly multidisciplinary, talks about work in progress.