Coordinated Movement is an experimental animation by Canadian artist Mike Pelletier. The work’s starting point was derived from open source motion capture data released by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, where the artist observed the awkward process of capturing the behaviour of the body when producing motion capture animations of swimming people. The process involves people simulating swimming movements on raised benches with sensors on specific joints; the movements of these sensors are mapped to produce an animated body which appears both human and alien. In Coordinated Movement, bodies swim through a void, their algorithmically rendered outlines and movements rippling and glitching as though distorted by water. At times, the figures glitch, distorting in unexpected ways or disintegrate into triangle mesh frameworks at their edges.
The work is produced using open source motion capture software. The artist experiments with the capabilities of the algorithms used to render the images of the swimming bodies, incorporating glitches alongside intended outcomes. Coordinated Movement explores the way in which bodies are captured and rendered as data, both in terms of the traces of humanity which are lost and the traces that remain. The work received an honorary mention in Computer Animation at the 2016 Prix Ars Electronica.