Concept Design of a remote-controlled Costume sensitive to environmental Input and Output
Free Artistic Project, Jena/Weimar/Mainz Germany, 2017-2018.

What happens if a dance costume can connect to the stage environment?

Final costume design
Set zero position in graph
Screenshot of the control software, manually selecting costume colour - Master Theses by Govienda Kumar, submitted and defended in Spring 2019
Screenshot of the control software, activating the vibration motor - Master Theses by Govienda Kumar, submitted and defended in spring 2019
Test Labs _ Digital Bauhaus Lab Bauhaus Universität Weimar, 2017-18, and Choreographic Coding Lab University of Applied Sciences Mainz, Germany, Sept. 2018.

Development Performer & Choreographer _ Claudia Kühn

Test Performers _ Claire Côté, Chiang ChiaYing, Ronja Timmer, and Danae Kleida

Visual Projections _ Emma Chapuy (Assistance) and Paul Schengber/ Wisp Kollektiv, David Leroy/ Das Konglomerat Weimar

Everything Sound _ Bruno Walz

Hardware Development _ Aziz Niyazov and Michaela Honauer

Software Development _ Anton Brams and Govienda Kumar

Technical Collaborators _ Toby Knyvett, Louis Cortes, and Maximiliano Estudies

Costume Design _ Aline Martinez Santos (Assistance) and Michaela Honauer

Concept Design _ Michaela Honauer

Partially Funded by _ Frauenförderfonds Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Claudia Kühn testing the early prototoype during the first lab in Jena, July 2017.
Claire Côté testing the costume during the CCL in Mainz, Sept. 2019.
Moodboard of the early "Wings" idea
In summer 2017, I initiated an artistic performance project around an interactive costume that should be able to react on environmental input. The costume can be configured and cued remotely through a graphical user interface providing the ability to connect to any other stage technology via OSC or to work in standalone mode. The concept further contributes to integrate IMUs as motion sensors and vibration motors as motion actuators for exploring interactivity of dance movements within contemporary dance performances. Its fashion design is characterized by the aesthetics of illuminated fiber optic cables distributed over the whole performing body but almost invisible when turned off.

In sum, I threaded around 100m of fiber optics into the costume; it was a lot of handcrafting to finish it. The costume prototype has been realized in close collaboration with a dancer/choreographer, a visual artists, and a sound composer. We followed an iterative approach - the development performer and the visual artist regularly tested the costume during rehearsal workhsops conducted in the lab. Surprisingly, the costume last excessive dance motions and difficult yoga poses. In summer 2018, the costume and its controlling software were finished and I took it to the Choreographic Coding Lab in Mainz for further testing. There we managed to connect the stage environment (visuals and sound) to the costumes motion data and I got feedback from other performers after wearing and dancing with it.
Concept design, integration of technology,
Final concept design, potential stage setup.
Close-up of the lighted fiber optic cables.
  • Michaela Honauer. 2018. Designing a Remote-Controlled Interactive Dance Costume. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Movement and Computing (MOCO '18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 40, 6 pages. DOI: PDF.
Preparing the dancer Danae Kleida during the CCL in Mainz, Sept. 2019. Photo by Florian Jenett.