How to Move In Space is a series of tests and tutorials that demonstrate alternative ways to move through space in motion capture. The Astronaut, the show’s protagonist, is stranded on an empty surface in otherwise empty space. Wearing a perception neuron suit, I attempted to move The Astronaut through his environment in ways other than walking or running: falling, kicking my feet in the air, and driving in a car. These tests hope to provide insight into the ways perception neuron suits use velocity data track a person’s movements. By rolling onto my back and kicking my feet in the air, I also discovered that the suit and its software use the foot sensors as primary factors in tracking the wearer’s absolute position in space. The animations that resulted from these tests show the The Astronaut interacting with his apparently simple environment in strange and surprising ways. The full series is available on The Astronaut's Youtube channel:
This project began as a shorter assignment that reenacted a high jump contest that Apollo astronauts had on the moon. In the contest, one astronaut jumped up into the air, and due to the lack of gravity and his heavy space suit, fell over backwards. When I fell over backwards while recording motion capture, and my character fell through the floor. Intrigued, I began doing various momentum tests to find out what made the character fall through the surface it had been walking on. These tests including falling in various directions, as well as driving, and grew into the collection of demonstrations that The Astronaut performs on his YouTube Channel. I used a perception neuron suit with Axis Neuron software to capture the motion, and the phenomena that occur for the Astronaut are due to the way the software translates velocity and position data, and how it anchors feet to a surface to track the user’s location.
This project really grew out of experimentation and iteration. When I began the tests, I had a few ideas of what the project could turn into. I think what has resulted was down to me mainly following the things that I thought were compelling, starting with finding the weird foot placement mechanic, and continuing to when the character was automatically on their tip toes. I’m not sure if I fully understand what How to Move in Space is actually about, though it definitely is seeking to misuse a technology that is often thought of as being high fidelity and very accurate. I think with time, a further direction for this work could become more clear, because I really enjoyed the making process and the final series it resulted in.