research projects

Unmakeable Love

Sarah Kenderdine, Jeffrey Shaw.

The Deakin Motion.Lab had the pleasure of supplying the motion capture/animation for this exciting collaboration project between Museum Victoria and the UNSW iCinema Centre. All-up we delivered  approximately 250 shots for this project, solved and retargeted to the rigs supplied by the customer.

Full press release follows below.

UNMAKEABLELOVE takes place in a world of constraint and deprivation, evoking in postmodern abstraction a space resonating with Dante's Purgatorio. Inspired by the writings of Samuel Beckett, UNMAKEABLELOVE focuses and makes interactively tangible a state of confrontation and interpolation between our selves and a society that is operating in a severe state of physical and psychological entropy. We imagine that the space they live in could a prison, an asylum, a detention camp, an extreme 'reality TV' show or a debased exercise in totalitarian engineering. And we presume that these people have been confined for many generations because they are completely resigned and habituated to their condition, insensible to anything outside the walls that intern them. But we, the viewers of this installation, with our probing torches and searching thoughts, are their outside, looking in and forced to experience the anomalies of a perceptual disequilibrium that directly implicates us in their alienated and claustrophobic situation.

The technological infrastructure specific to this work is The Parallax Arcades, a five-meter diameter hexagonal construction with six rear projected screens and stereoscopic 3D viewing.  In addition, UNMAKEABLELOVE uses six torches, mounted in front of these screens, to enable the visitors to peer into the virtual world. The virtual light beams generated by these interactive torches intersect and illuminate the computer generated figures that inhabit its virtually represented interior. The obsessive behaviors of the inhabitants of the container have been motion captured, computationally animated and then rendered in real-time using game engine techniques and behavioral algorithms. As a consequence UNMAKEABLELOVE gives the impression that its denizens are self-motivated agents, albeit an abject group of languishing remnants of humans, whose culture seems to be organized according to an elusive order, a disembodied artificial intelligence if not an unfamiliar harmony the principles of which have yet to be discovered.

To more explicitly articulate the conjunction between the real and virtual spaces in this work, when the viewer's virtual torch beams penetrate through the container they can seemingly illuminate other viewers who are standing opposite them on other sides of the installation. This augmented reality is achieved using infra-red cameras that are positioned on each screen pointing at its respective torch operators, and the video images are rendered in real time onto each viewer's screen so as to create the semblance of illuminating the persons opposite them. The resulting ambiguity experienced between the actual and rendered reality of the viewers' presences in this installation, reinforce the perceptual and psychological tensions between 'self' and
'other'.  Thus the dramatic and kinesthetic confrontations between the real and virtual generated by UNMAKEABLELOVE's strategies of embodied interactive simulation intricately engage the presence, agency and complicity of the viewer.



Conception and direction: Sarah Kenderdine, Jeffrey Shaw
Modeling and animation: Conor O'Kane
Real time application software: Scott Ashton using the Microsoft XNA game development platform
Systems integration and project coordination: Yossi Landesman
Sound design: Andrew Barrie
Motion capture studio: Deakin University Motion Lab directed by Kim Vincs
Motion capture technicians: Matthew Delbridge, Daniel Skovli
Motion camera artistic directors: David Pledger (NYID) Sarah Kenderdine, Jeffrey Shaw
Motion capture actors: Gerard Van Dyck, Dianne Reid, Fiona Cameron
Architecture: The Parallax Arcades (©2008 Kenderdine & Shaw)
Projectors: F20SX+ kindly sponsored by Projectiondesign, Norway
Graphics: nVidia GeForce® GTX 280

UNMAKEABLELOVE was produced with the assistance of the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Research Council, and with generous support from the UNSW iCinema Centre, EPIDEMIC and Museum Victoria.