Ben Dunks

Movement & Motion Capture

Ben has been working in dance for 22 years, performing, making, teaching, managing and exploring everything to do with the creative and moving body. For the past 18 months he has been capturing movement through motion capture and accelerometry, and investigating the moving body in health and education settings.

What I’m working on:

I am exploring immersive technologies as a way to measure the movement choices of several groups of older women, with the resultant data to be explored as a way to create visual art, short movement films, sound scores and possibly 3D printed sculptures. This is the beginning of a longer exploration into how my movement programme can be measured and validated as a legitimate and easily applied falls prevention programme for this audience. With falls costing the NHS upwards of £2 billion per year, the savings that a programme like this will make will be substantial.

The creation of art through this data is also another way of exploring how data drawn from motion capture and accelerometry can be used to represent individuals in different ways. I am calling this the Poetics of Identity. My participants are living in a world where the narrative is that they are no longer of any value and they are diminishing and decaying in mind, body and soul. These Poetics of Identity – beautiful artistic representations of their movement – show how extraordinary they are, and the cumulative data and their experience of improved strength, movement and proprioception shows them that they are not defined by society.

Research Question:

How do we map the movement of older people as they dance in a creative movement experience in order to demonstrate change that is measurable in such a way as to validate that movement experience as a pathway to a healthier and stronger life?; How do we then use the data from this experience to create interesting visual art, sound, immersive experiences for audiences and different ways of showing identities of older people?

Expertise and skills:

My expertise and skills are in movement, dance, creative processes, participation, the links between the science of the moving body and the impact of that moving on learning, on ageing and on the self. I am passionate about working in areas of society where new technologies haven’t reached yet – primary school children, older people in sheltered accommodation, young people in deprived areas. I am interested in immersion not only as an immersed experience, VR or sound-based experience, but also in the idea of an individual being immersed in a new world of technologies, immersed in a new world where there are possibilities that haven’t previously been available.