Gaitkeeper

Gaitkeeper is inspired by the rise of 'gait recognition' technology, and it's role in the emergent 'solid state society', currently best represented by China's Social Credit system.

 

Having made motion capture a central spar of my work for over twenty years, it seemed natural to make a piece that seemed such a perfect blending of form and content.

When I first started working with performers, I quickly realized that there are at least fifty variations on 'walk forward and stop'. I learned the same lesson with voice actors. What seems unambiguous on paper is infinitely nuanced in real life. I could see that no matter what the technology, the human data always comes through.

 

This is why our motions are as distinctive as our faces, and are being captured and analyzed as we speak. Long range surveillance, where faces are occluded, is an ideal application.

 

During the first phase of the War on Terror, there was great interest in analysing walks as a clue to emotional state. It was thought that a terrorist's gait would betray their intentions.

 

If these are the measures, then what are the countermeasures? Gaitkeeper imagines a new vital security role for dancers and performance artists. Much as fine artists were roped into deigning avant garde camouflage patterns during WW1 and 2, ( Roger Penrose, Paul Klee, Franz Marc. amongst others), perhaps these performers will give unpredictibility training to tomorrow's insurgents.

 

Artist Martina Morger collaborated with me on this piece. She clearly demonstrates the tactics of tomorrow using the Smartsuit, a wifi based mocap system.

 

This piece was made at the time of the Hong Kong riots, when protestors were coming up with novel ways to dazzle surveillance systems using masks, lazers and umbrellas.