First Atelier Arts Sciences residency, Virus//Anti-Virus, taking its name from the performance which was its artistic outcome, brought together for several months a choreographer/dancer and a researcher in data processing to investigate the relationship between art and technology, artistic gesture and music production through the latest miniaturized motion detector developed at the Micro-Systems and Communicating Objects Department (CEA/LETI/DCIS) : the “ StarWatch”.
The meeting between the two project holders, Annabelle Bonnéry and Dominique David had taken place several years before at the Rencontres-i Arts Sciences Biennale, but the 2007 Residency involved an artistic team on a larger scope ; the Lanabel Company as well as a scientific research unit. The residency gave rise to an initial result : a choreographic performance shown at MC2 Grenoble in October 2008.


Electronic intelligence and body language of dancing are rarely brought together in one show. We find them side by side in Virus//Antivirus
Experimenting makes an inherent part of the Lanabel Company’s itinerary. This is how, having been deeply involved in the world of industry with the show "Que Calor", "we thought maybe we could go further," says Annabel Bonnéry, "to investigate questions we had about technology and human body and hyper-implants." These questions were first raised by François Deneulin, scenographer and co-founder of the company, who had participated in the first creativity workshops at Minatec IDEAs Laboratory® directed by Michel Ida. Thereafter he was joined by Annabelle Bonnéry, a choreographer dancer, and their shared interest in sensors kept growing.

The bonds were very quickly established between the artist, who used to dream about being an engineer and the CEA researcher who had released three CDs as a music composer. "With Annabelle, we were immediately drawn to inventing and creating a body language based on a motion sensor that generates music. The first demonstration, a year and a half ago, was compelling and following a few working sessions, the magical fusion came alive. We gathered very quickly the bits which could give rise to a show," reveals Dominique David.

This first collaboration within the framework of the Atelier Arts Sciences turned out to be very promising. The common goal, requiring availability, openness, a sharp view and high standards from all parties, has been shaped from these different challenges.
For Dominique David, who has been working on the design and development of StarWatch since 2000 : "One of our objectives, keeping in mind that electronics has become a commonality used by everyone, is to further develop computers in a sense to avoid keyboards that are not natural for man. Therefore, we need to find out new, more intuitive ways to interact by a sort of miniaturization that will allow us to capture movement."
A way of using computers hands-free, if you will. Associating the artistic expression of an actor-choreographer and a researcher in a dance solo, with the aim of improving this innovative technology and refining its application, brings a rich benefit. "With the mouse and the keyboard, we are very far away from the artistic gesture. With StarWatch, we set gestures free," adds Dominique David, allowing a more profound way of expression." In a broader sense, constantly endeavouring to improve the human-electronics interface, Dominique David’s StarWatch could become more accessible to everyone and it might conquer new users as well.

"Succeeding in transferring gestures to a machine in order to reach beyond the ready-made use of the mouse or the keyboard, would favour artistic expression and would give a larger scope for improvisation and spontaneity."
If the StarWatch application is enhanced, which is already on its way, it will help physically challenged people. Compensating muscle weakness by neuro-stimulation and using the sensors as their extension. The title, proclaimed by Annabelle Bonnéry, as a tribute to those who might become the first users of this technology, evokes medical use.
"I am fascinated by the idea of these sensors being able to relate what is happening inside the body and compensate for its deficiencies. This technological device, initially created to optimise the human body, questions contemporary dance. But the body itself, won’t it be lost at a certain point in the performance ? What I am interested in, is to demonstrate, in a playful way, the eventually contrasted outcomes of this modernization while putting them in perspective or in focus. Virus/Antivirus is also in the spirit of thesis/anti-thesis, but I would not answer this now."
"The objective," carries on Dominique David, "is also to proceed with electronics that makes sense, since this path has not been sufficiently explored yet." During six weeks of research residency, their task was to transform these challenges into imagination inspiring the spectators to see the human body under a different angle.

Nadine Epron - Editing the epistemological follow-up of the residency.


Capturing motion
Measuring human movement has been used in more and more applications in many different fields, such as video games, computer animation, sports gesture analysis (amateur or professional athletes), just as well as in medicine. Current motion capture systems are complex and highly priced. They are reserved for professional applications. They require a special laboratory and users that are trained.
The CEA/LETI has been working for several years on a new approach of using micro systems attached to the body or to other objects to be motion tracked. These micro-systems are sensitive to the magnetic and acceleration fields, or to rotational speed.

The market offering of these sensors has been growing every year.
They are the main products in microelectronics (ST Microelectronics, Honeywell, Analogue Devices, Freescale, Aichi Steel Asahi Kasei, OKI, …), but also at more specialised manufacturers (Tronic’s, Colibris…) as well as R&D activities at CEA MINATEC.

IL est le premier réseau de capteurs du mouvement humain sans fil.
Chaque noeud du réseau en étoile formé combine en un seul module des capteurs magnétiques et accélérométriques, un lien radio basse consommation propriétaire LETI et une batterie.
Le réseau peut comporter jusqu’à 16noeuds, de la taille d’une petite montre.
L’autonomie permet un fonctionnement d’une journée complète.
Ce système est transféré à la spin off Movea.

It is the first wireless human motion sensor network.
Each star-shaped node in the network incorporates, in one single module, magnetic and accelerometric sensors, a low-power consumption radio patented at LETI and a battery.
The network can contain up to 16 nodes, the size of a standard wristwatch.
It provides one-day autonomy.
The system is transferred to the spin-off company Movea.

Developed technologies :
• Miniaturisation
• Architecture System
• RF Protocol
• Signal Processing
• Prototypes

Associated research topics
• Communicating Objects
• Wireless Sensor Network
• Body Area Network
Capturing motion
• Signal Processing
• Technologies for sports and health

Potential application fields
• Intuitive interfaces
• Office automation
• Instrumentation
• 3D Geolocalisation
• Video games

A young start-up, a spin off from CEA-Leti founded in March 2007, designs and commercializes motion micro-sensors such as the Motion Pod, able to transfer movements in real-time. Wide range of applications in human-machine interface, in particular in interactive arts and video games. / Tél : 04 38 02 37 21 /

The show
Meeting fields of art, industry, society thanks to the Labo-i organized by Hexagone Scène Nationle Arts Sciences - Meylan, the Virus//Anti-virus show is created at the interface of dance, technological and scientific research.
This projects brings together researchers at CEA-Grenoble and artists around the theme of body - from image to matter.
The installation-performance places the spectator in the centre of a space-system being shaped during the performance. In two parts, "Virus and Antivirus" explores a specific language uniting the individual with what he creates, initiates and interprets. In the first part the dancer is equipped with detectors (StarWatch) which will disappear during the second part.



Dates de tournée :
05 novembre 2008 à Aveiro - Portugal
11 novembre 2008 à Cadiz - Espagne
13 et 14 novembre 2008 à Séville - Espagne
7 février 09 au CCB de Lisbonne - Portugal
13 et 14 février 09 à Saint-André de la Réunion
1er mai 09 au Festival de Carthage à Tunis - Tunisie
08 juin au Festival Temps d’image à Istanbul - Turquie
25 et 26 juillet 09 à Canton - Chine
25 novembre à la Cité des Arts - Chambéry
14 janvier au théâtre de Saragosse à Pau
05 novembre 09 à Aveiro - Portugal
du 28 avril au 2 mai 2011 au festival Barroquissimo à Puebla - Mexique
(stage professionnel de 4 jours pour danseurs professionnels du 3 au 6 mai 2011)


À lire dans les Cahiers N°1, la résidence au jour le jour.