French artists Paul Marlier and Jeanne Morel collaborated with French space agency CNES to put a dance performance in the weightless space with zero-gravity flight. Together they wanted to materialize a dance while weightless. After that, they decided to add another dimension to the multimedia dance project and that’s how _Synesthesia was born. Creators use a Microsoft Kinect and Fastmocap software to build an animated 3D sculpture of Morel’s dancing across time and space.

Paul Marlier studied architecture and design in Paris, after that he was developing projects in architecture, sculpture, interactive design, video-mapping, and performance. Now he accommodated all his experience and introduced it to this new project, that combines technology and dance performance. “I wondered about the imprint left by dance and body in space and time,” Marlier tells Creators. “It was now possible to experiment to dance ‘without material body’ and to generate in 3D the drawing of this immateriality.”

Morel, dancer herself, has always been focused on art and dance and choreography in particular. Her project Vulpes Vulpes integrated her passion for artistic performance and 3D technology. “We work a lot with computer, VR, immersion,” says Morel. “I prepare my body for more extreme environments for a necessary dance that would push the boundaries of the human body, like dancing underwater or in the air, for example.”

Right in the process, Morel was able to execute various dance movements, being inside a netted area. Weightlessness was a definitely new and maybe uncomfortable feeling, but she managed to adjust her body to the microgravity environment.“It is hardly a descriptive sensation but I would say that the phases of microgravity are an exceptional bridge between the body and the soul, between a terrestrial life and a little death perhaps,” she adds. “It is for me the perfect definition of dance. It is omnipresent, inside, outside and we free ourselves from dancing only what is essential. The movement seems infinite.”

For Morel personally, this experience was life-changing, especially in her attitude and understanding of ground, gravity and space. Describing her feelings, she said that dancing during the hypergravity phase – when the plane is gaining speed at a 52-degree angle whilst preparing for the 22-second zero g parabolic phase – was a definitely challenging experience.

Marlier also wanted to work on the visual and sound part of the performance. For that, he recorded Morel’s heartbeat with the Kinect and Fastmocap and the oxygen levels in her blood using an oximeter. Besides, Morel used iPhone to get altitude readings and wore a smart bracelet that controlled her stress.

_Synesthesia is a captivation and generative translation of the movement danced in microgravity,” Marlier and Morel say. “It is materializing the ephemeral. To perpetuate the invisible.” They see their project as a visual essence of dance performance, that was created by capturing the imprint of Morel’s movement in space with different signals of her body and mind.

Their goal for now is to convert the 3D animated shapes into 3D-printed sculptures. “We will fly again in the spring with our partner Air Zero G, with whom we continue the project,” the duo says. “The label Infiné and the production studio 18-55 have been added to the project and we prepare you beautiful surprises for the sequel.” The next Air Zero G project will be in a 4K video and 3D-integrated in the condition of real time.

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