LuminAI is a shadow theater-style installation in which participants can engage in collaborative movement improvisation with artificially intelligent virtual dance partners. The line between human and non-human is blurred, spurring participants to examine their relationship with AI-based technology and how it can be expressive, social, and playful. The LuminAI installation ultimately examines how humans and machines can co-create experiences together as equals, but it does so in a lighthearted environment. Participants are able to creatively explore movement while having fun and enjoying the social space of the installation. LuminAI’s virtual agents analyze participant movements through procedural representations of the Viewpoints movement theory (from theater and dance) and improvise responses from transformed memories of past interactions with people. In other words, the agents learn how to dance by dancing with us. In collaboration with Atlanta’s Out of Hand Theater, we have formally studied the Viewpoints movement method. Viewpoints describes body positioning and movement in a performance in terms of several different categories such as space, shape, time, emotion and movement. The various aspects of these categories were analyzed in detail to define and apply it to a movement-based, improvisational, human-computer, performance art piece.
The software for the project is built in C# and Unity and consists of modules for learning dance moves, reasoning about dance using a computationally formalized version of Viewpoints movement theory, and perceiving and visualizing dance moves.