Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bodily Self-expression. Becoming animals with the Kinect

Playing the role of a different animal in a 'magic safari environment' is a very interesting approach to keep exploring the interrelationship between Bodily Self-expression and body image through digital play. For me, 'digital play' is the incorporation of new technologies and the digital platform into games and play, that could  have possibly been part of our childhood and life for years but with the introduction of digital sources these experiences become more joyful and engaging.

I've been teaching theatre to children for many years and I found out that one of the roles that children love playing are 'animals roles'. When becoming animals, such as lizards, lions, giraffes, snakes, elephants, kangaroos, etc, children can explore and be more aware of their body and its possibilities of movement. I am incorporating this knowledge and exploring body self expression and movement through the Kinect and Movement Capture. Kinect allows us to move around and explore the digital landscape as an 'avatar', in this case the role of an animal. We can become an elephant and move our trunk and legs not only to walk around or to run, but also to pick objects, such as leaves, and feed ourselves. We have designed the first level of a game into a 'digital landscape'. In 'X-Safari', each children play the role of an animal and move around. They eat a certain amount of food and drink a certain amount of water to achieve a number of 'Experience Points' and then, pass to the second level.

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