Polymorph weekly news #7

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Welcome @louise! As a new member, she just joined the Polymorph team and this post will be presenting her to you and hopefully tell you more about her role and interest in the Polymorph project.

I did not know Louise Baduel before having a conversation with her a couple hours ago. All I knew is that @frankiezafe had met her during the Blender workshop he gave at iMAL a few months ago and that he had offered her to work on the video game project he is working on for the company Contredanse.

So Louise is a choreographer, dancer and videographer living in Brussels. She co-founded the dance collective System Failure and is interested in studying and understanding the relation between sound and performance. She also does video editing and wanted to start manipulating 3D objects and create them. That’s why she decided to come to a Blender class. She admitted having downloaded Blender 6 years ago, but needed a little push to get up to speed with the technology. And apparently, François’s classes were very helpful in that sense. So helpful that Louise agreed to join the Polymorph team and jump full time in Blender on a Linux system.

Louise told me she had been quite interested in libre and open source software for a while. She is fed up with Apple’s logic. “I need to get out of this, she said. But working with video has been a show stopper for me as it is not as easy to do with Linux.” Now that she’s been working with Blender and Linux intensively for the past two weeks, she said she was ready to try video editing with Blender. She also tried KDEnlive last week but found it to be missing some features compared to FinalCut. But she likes this new approach to making things and will definitely experiment more now with this fully open source toolbox.

At the same time she arrived at Polymorph, she also discovered F/LAT. She said she appreciate the feeling there and that everybody is happy to be helping each other when there is a problem or a question around open source software. “There is always someone available to answer a question” she said, and that helps her learn a lot every day.

As you may have seen from @louise posts on this website, she is working on “Tuning Scores”, the code name for now for the video game being developed with professional dancers in mind. Tuning Scores is actually a series of techniques for dancers, put together by Lisa Nelson, to develop spontaneous compositions. And Polymorph is commissioned by Contredanse to port this into the virtual world of an interactive application, or so called, video game.

There is many challenges in a project like this. It will be a game for two players. And there will have a palette of 3D objects to play with. The objects will be kept simple but the rules governing their behavior will be complex. Special attention will be given to the sound each object makes. The point here is not to be literal but to create a sensation. Dancers work with their feelings and need to feel the space they are in. The virtual world needs to be rich enough to invite the participants to interact with it and with each other. How will a dancer perceive the presence of another dancer in the game? How will they communicate? How can a dancer perform according to the rules of “Tuning Scores”? The players need to be able to repeat a set of actions s·he just made or play it backwards, freeze or sustain it. And overall what would be the purpose of this tool?

Definitely there is a demand from Contredanse to get the word out about the “Tuning Scores” practice and the work of Lisa Nelson. This is one of the reason to come up with a project like this, but where could this head up to? Since sound is involved and reactive to the players actions, it could be a way to create or compose music. It could also be an application to put 2 dancers distant from each other physically and have them interact in the same room. It could also possibly be an instrument for live performance.

All these questions will hopefully find an answer in the coming months, but they are certainly driving Louise research right now, with the help of the rest of the Polymorph team. This is a unique project and possibly the first of its kind. So keep an eye on this website for regular posts in this matter. And don’t worry, @frankie hasn’t left the development of PEEL. It’s advancing. Bullet is now integrated. But I’ll ask all about it when I’ll chat with Francois next week.

In the meantime, stay tuned, and share responsibly.