Inverse Motion Capture and Motion Prosthesis in Contemporary Media Art: Stelarc's Movatar and Other Works

Garnet Hertz - 26 November 2003
University of California, Irvine

Presentation Outline

  1. Introduction to Stelarc
  2. Analysis of Works within the Context of Motion Capture
    • Movatar ("Inverse" Motion Capture)
    • Hexapod (Motion Retargeting / Amplification)
    • Exoskeleton (Motion Retargeting / Amplification)
    • Ping Body (Data > Physical Motion)
    • Parasite (Data > Physical Motion > 3D)
  3. Electro-Muscular Stimulation Demo - Garnet Hertz
  4. Discussion / Questions


"Motion Capture allows a physical body to animate a 3D computer-generated virtual body to perform in computer space or cyberspace... Consider, though, a virtual body or an avatar that can access a physical body, actuating its performance in the real world."

MoCap Context: "Inverse" Motion Capture


"The robot's locomotion and direction will be controlled by shifting my body weight and turning my torso. Lifting one leg releases 3 mechanical legs to lift and swing forward while restraining the others."

MoCap Context: Motion Retargeting / Amplification


"Exoskeleton is a jerky and powerful 600kgm machine... It can turn, squat and stand as well as sway from side to side. The body is positioned on a turntable that can rotate, adding another motion in the choreography of the machine. The body is a passenger but with an exoskeleton wrapped around its upper torso and magnetic sensors on each jointed segment, arm gestures can select the mode and direction of locomotion."

MoCap Context: Motion Retargeting / Amplification
Ping Body

"During the Ping Body performances, what is being considered is a body moving not to the promptings of another body in another place, but rather to Internet activity itself - the body's proprioception and musculature stimulated not by its internal nervous system but by the external ebb and flow of data."

MoCap Context: Data > Physical Motion


Images gathered from the internet are mapped onto the body and, driven by a muscle stimulation system, the body becomes a reactive node in an extended virtual nervous system (VNS)... The resulting motion is mirrored in a VRML space at the performance site..."

MoCap Context: Data > Physical Motion > 3D

All images © copyright Stelarc 2003. All Rights Reserved.

Garnet Hertz (2003) -