Why I am stuck on this idea? I cannot really say, but those of you who know me, know that I have been motion tracking essentially all my life. I made my first dance with electronics in 1973 when I was still in high school. I met Frieder Weiss in 1995 and the computer age dawned on dance! Until 2005 we worked together on most days, making interactive art on a whole new level.
The next step came about 10 years ago when a young researcher named Alicia Peñalba approached me at a motion tracking conference with the idea that I come to Spain to work with persons with cerebral palsy. She is now a professor at Valladolid University and one of the MC3’s beta-testers. But the genesis of the MotionComposer, I would have to say, came as I was sitting the bathtub in Weimar, Germany, wondering what to do with the rest of my life. „Ping“ a light bulb went on over my head: make a device to make motion tracking something that everyone can do; in fact, build it especially for persons with other abilities. This was October 2010. To be fair, the push actually came from the composer Marc Sauter, who, the day before had told me about something called EXIST, that gives you 100,000€ to turn and idea into a product. Together, with Josepha Dietz we gave it a shot, and voilà, MotionComposer was born.
Yes, it will have been ten years from inception to market release this Fall. Is that long? I’ve no idea, this is my first product! I will say it has been an interesting journey. What have we done in all that time? Over 100 workshops with persons with other abilities, 16 trade fairs (all terribly boring) and too many presentations to count.
There has been years of painstaking engineering, mostly concerning a technology called „passive stereo vision“. Then there are designers, musician, composers, dancers, marketing, and many more people behind the curtains — things that seem easy can actually be quite hard! For example, all of the sounds for the musical environments have been hand-selected, and sometimes I had to record them myself! Picture me standing in the fog one spring morning in front of a sheep, holding out my microphone and begging, „speak“. „Please….“ She looks at me. I wait. Neither of us was sure what to do next. The ducks looked at me like I was insulting their intelligence. „Of course I won’t quack for you. Why should I?“ And then there were the cats, don’t get me started… But now we are almost there and I can hardly wait.
It is rare occasion that somebody does not say to me „wow, what a cool project!“ when I explain to them what I do. Yes, I have to admit, it is a very cool project. We can have a profound impact on people’s lives by pushing the boundaries of inclusion.