Conducting the Written Word
Graduation project (B.A.) on the search of visual equivalents for mimic and gestural expressions of the human race. Beyond emoji, gifs and memes – How can we communicate emotions in a more intuitive and subtle way?
“Language is nothing rigid & immutable, instead it changes and emerges constantly.” (Eugenio Coseriu 1974)
In digital correspondence (instant messaging etc.) verbal and nonverbal communication are apart. We read something funny, then chuckle to ourself and seconds after we reply with an emoji face with tears of joy. Not only does switching between text and emoji keyboards interrupt a fluent dialogue, but also the small nuances of human nonverbal communication get lost: In both the sending and receiving process.
There are 104 dimensions of motion and nine dimensions of phonetics in nonverbal communication. In combination these dimensions allow our body to convey an almost infinite amount of expressions. Nonverbal communication is a language understood globally. But we don’t use it to its full potential. In my graduation project I researched non-optical methods of recording gestures and facial expressions (e.g. through electromyography and pulse sensors). I searched for methods of drawing conclusions about emotions and made experiments with translating emotions into visual, tactile and auditive forms. My research resulted in four exhibition pieces that I would like to share with you hereafter.
Disciplines: Film, Graphic Design, Sculpting
Research & Inspiration
Silent films are a fantastic source to explorer the vast variety in mimics and gestures. For my research I created a database of unique gestures containing ≈100h of footage. As you can imagine, it was a joyful experience collecting this data.
“Putting on emotions”
hover or click & hold with your mouse.
17 projection discs designed to fit on a modified record player. A light source built into the record player is used to project the cuttings of the discs with 24fps to the ceiling. Each disc represents one emotion. A symbolic initial – for example “W” for “Wrath” – was designed for every record cover, accompanied by information about the emotion and alternative labels for it.
The user was able to choose one emotion, put it on the record player and experience it as an ambient art installation. The light source changed its color depending on the emotion that was “played”.
|1. Emojilemma||“The state of not knowing what the hell the emoji is trying to tell you.”|
|2. Tones of emotion||In a research study I asked 145 participants what color they would refer to each of the 17 emotions: “fear, anger, envy, hate, guilt, joy, love, disgust, courage, pride, shame, grief, despair, affection, happiness, confidence, complacency.”|
|3. The overly manly man||The dimensions of phonetics & kinetics|
“Welcome and Farewell” – short film
3 different 3 minutes long short movies of 3 different gestural and 6 different tonal interpretations of the poem “Welcome and Farewell” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Each of the three actors were asked to perform a nonverbal interpretation of the poem – verse by verse. Another three voice-over artist were asked to perform an additional verbal narration of the poem in various languages.
There were in total six distinct audio tracks: English, French, German, Italian, Vietnamese and a self developed language by Fabian Otto. People watching the film were able to choose between those three gestural (video tracks) and six phonetic (audio tracks) interpretations. They could experience a poem presented in a language they might not know but understand its meaning by watching only the nonverbal play. I intended to show that there is a language that is understood globally and that language is the language of nonverbal communication.
|Cast||Fabian Otto, Duc-Hieu Pham, Lisa Frühbeis, Rick Whelan, Mike Porter and Rafael Banasik.|
|Location||Greenscreen Studio – University of Applied Sciences Augsburg|
|Camera||RED Epic | Recorded in 2K and 300 fps|