The theory, practice and art of movement capture and preservation: an interdisciplinary investigation



January 19th and 20th


A symposium for researchers, practitioners, and the general public in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and creative industries. Artists and experts in fine arts, motion capture, dance, gaming, early cinema, archaeology, and other disciplines will explore the theoretical and practical concerns of capturing, analysing and archiving movement.


Registration is free and open to the public. Space is limited and attendance will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. Lunch and refreshments provided.  Confirmed presenters are listed below. To register, please fill out a registration form and email to Tyler Denmead (td287 at cam dot ac dot uk).


London Knowledge Lab // 23-29 Emerald Street // London WC1N 3QS View Map


Holborn (Central & Piccadilly Line) Russell Square (Piccadilly Line) Chancery Lane (Central Line)


19, 38, 55, 243 at Holborn Police Station
59, 68, 91, 168, 188 at Southampton Row crnr Theobald's Road


We are grateful to the London Knowledge Lab for their support in providing the symposium venue and administrative assistance.


Select confirmed presenters include: 

  • Stephen Herbert is a Senior Research Fellow in the Visual and Material Culture Research Centre at Kingston University and has a long standing relationship with Kingston Museum and Art Gallery through his ground breaking research on Eadweard Muybridge.  Former head of the technical department at the British Film Institute (BFI) and a member of the curatorial team, Museum of the Moving Image, South Bank, London, Stephen Herbert is an independent publisher, researcher and curator and world specialist on the Eadweard Muybridge Bequest at Kingston Museum.  Herbert's paper will examine movement cpature in the context of early film.
  • Jeanine Breaker: Research Associate, Institute of Design, Culture and the Arts, Teesside University.  Jeanine Breaker has a long career as an international lecturer, practicing artist, and researcher, with particular focus in drawing. She was invited to London in 2002 by the Royal College of Art to research the anatomy of human movement and gesture under a Leverhulme Visiting Research Fellowship.  Her talk, Regarding preservation of nuance: Movement analysis with hindsight, examines whether motion capture technology is an adequate replacement for the nuances of highly skilled traditional perception.
  • Liam Burke PhD: Lecturer and course coordinator at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway.   Dr. Burke has written for The Irish Times, Film Ireland and Empire, and has had publications in peer-review journals Adaptation and Estudios Irlandeses. Liam's first book, the Pocket Essential Superhero Movies was published in 2008 and the University Press of Mississippi will publish his forthcoming book, From Static to Motion Pictures.  His talk, From discourse-time to bullet-time: How comic books froze motion pictures, examines movement capture in the comic book medium - "graphic storytelling where you could freeze a moment and make an image that sustains" as described by Larry Wachowski, director of The Matrix. Dr Burke's paper will explore comics' place in the lineage of a bullet-time which has become ubiquitous in modern entertainments. 
  • Rémi Brun, PhD is one of Europe's pioneers in motion capture. A graduate from one of France's prestigious engineering schools Arts & Métiers and a PhD in Biomechanics, Remi has put theory to practice and has always been passionate about movement. Associate director of Actisystem in 1993 (the first Mocap company in Europe) in Dijon, then to London, Soho (1997-2000) and back to Paris to head the Motion capture team at Attitude Studio in Paris until 2006. Rémi created the company MocapLab in 2007 and is the current CEO. His paper will examine motion capture in relation to the eye and its gaze.
  • David Bennett has worked as a Research Assistant, with Prof. Sarah Whatley in the Coventry School of Art and Design, on two online dance archive projects: Digital Dance Archives ( and Siobhan Davies RePlay ( He is presenting a paper that explores the capture and archiving of a large number of ‘scratch tapes' generated by dancers working with Siobhan Davies and now available for users to view on Siobhan Davies RePlay. It will describe the process of collecting the scratches and examine the ethics of this mode of capture and distribution, the agency of the dance artists in their representation through these scratches in the archive - and the responsibilities of those involved in selecting, editing and curating the scratches. He has just started a PhD study 'The Library of Processes; a digital venue for the collection and dissemination of artist processes' to investigate the various ways in which artists document reflections and experiences of working within an artist venue; Siobhan Davies Studios, and how those can translate to the creation of a digital venue.
  • Jane Carr PhD: Senior Lecturer, Lincoln School of Performance.  Dr Carr has worked as a dancer, choreographer and dance teacher. She currently teaches dance techniques, choreography and dance theory.  Her paper, Dance on videoaddresses how technologies for recording the moving body (such as video) are implicated in the production of new forms of dance knowledge. Her discussion is organised into thee interrelated strands which will develop upon previous debates about the ontological status of records of dance movement along with a reconsideration of the epistemological relationship between modes of recording, analysis and interpretation in the production of dance knowledge.
  • Tyler Denmead, PhD: Researcher Assistant on AHRC project.  Denmead's principally ethnographic research has examined artists' pedagogies in creative collaborations, and has focused on artists' use of the body in creating the conditions for open-ended enquiry.  His paper is a braod, interdisciplinary literature review of the use of movement capture in arts and humanities.  He will argue that movement capture appeals to artists and humanists because it introduces layers of complexity that are generative for creative practices and enquiries into the human condition.
  • Frederic Fol Leymarie and Carol MacGillivray: Prof. Fol Leymarie: Professor of Computing and co-director of the Post-Graduate program MSc Computer Games and Entertainment  at Goldsmiths College, which he founded with William Latham in 2008. He previously created and lead the MSc Arts Computing (2004-7). His current research interests incorporate ideas from computer vision, together with the physics of waves and shocksand their modeling in modern mathematics via singularity theory. Leymarie has initiated several "shape-based" projects mixing the arts, humanities, social sciences, and computing. Carol MacGillivray: Ms. MacGillivray comes from a background of traditional animation and film editing and spent 20 years working across documentary, drama, music videos, and commercials. She is a senior academic in Digital Animation at Thames Valley University and author of ‘3D for the Web - Interactive 3D Animation using 3DS Max, Flash and Director' (Elsevier). A keen interest in combining theoretical research and practice has led Carol to study a PhD in Arts and Computational Technology at Goldsmiths University. Drawing on her work as an animator and film-maker, Carol's research is practice-based, producing and interrogating a trans-disciplinary model of kinetic aesthetics that is applicable to computer-based and mechanical interactive art systems. The aim of her thesis is to prove that movement/change is a key signifier in perception by demonstrating that we are all skilled exegetes; and that movement is the lacuna in the text.  In their paper, Triangulating the Arc: A comparative study of techniques for recognising, annotating and reproducing specific models of movement across disciplines  Fol Ley Marie and MacGillivery present the thesis that movement is essentially dialogic and their chapter takes three specific movements based on the idea of embodied movement falling into three key interdisciplinary and layered categories: Expressive movement (EM), Pragmatic movement (PM) and Habituated movement (HM).  Using these three categories as building blocks for pan-analysis allows the authors to test and compare current techniques in movement annotation and suggest new paradigms for building analysis of movement across disciplines. 
  • Dr. Marco Gillies: lecturer in Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. His main research interests are animated virtual characters and particularly expressive body language. This broad area covers many aspects, including animation, AI and the simulation of behaviour, motion capture and the analysis of body movement.  Their paper, Movement and Interaction, looks at movement as interaction and at interaction as movement. It considers how most of our movements are situated within an environment and are aimed at acting within that environment - and follows a line of argument originating with Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty that behaviour is embodied  and that meaning arises through action and interaction within a world. This raises a question for digital representation of movement: if the meaning of movement arises out of interaction with a world, how do we capture that interaction. The chapter will explore the technologies and practices that are required to reproduce this type of interaction in digital form, within a number of application contexts where interaction is critical.
  • Prof. George Mather: Professor of Vision Science, University of Lincoln. Formerly Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex. Mather's primary research is around human visual perception, particularly movement perception, visual illusions, and the perception of visual art. His work has explored a wide array of topics, from the visual cues people use to make judgements about stature in sculptural art, to the difficulty of making accurate line calls in tennis. He uses a combination of perceptual experiments and computer modelling to understand the underlying brain processes.  His paper, Moving inside the head: capturing movement in the brain, discusses the phenomenon of ‘visual persistence' and argues that it provides an inadequate explanation of why rapid sequences of static frames (as in film and animation) are perceived as movement. Perceptual research has revealed specialised neurons in the brain which respond in a highly selective way to the presence of movement in the visual image. Responses in these cells are an essential neural correlate of our perception of movement. Without them we are ‘motion-blind', as revealed by a clinical condition known as akinetopsia. Movies are so effective because they stimulate the same processes which are activated by natural movement.
  • Thecla Schiphorst: Media Artist, Associate Professor and Associate Director of the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.  Ms. Schiphorst's background in dance and computing forms the basis for her research, which focuses on body-practices and their efficacy in technological design, including embodied interaction, sense-making, and the aesthetics of interaction. She is a member of the original design team that developed Life Forms, the computer compositional tool for choreography and worked with Merce Cunningham for over a decade in support of his creation of new dance with the computer.  Her paper, From Motion Capture to Meaningful Movement: LMA as a Design Resource for Digital Technology, addresses the overarching questions of how and why we perceive movement and what draws us to capture, analyze, model, reconstruct and perform that movement through increasingly mediated uses of technology. She frames this inquiry from the perspective of how Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) can contribute to and enrich the design of digital technologies particularly in applications that focus on socio-cultural interaction.
  • Paul St George: Principal Lecturer in Digital Art at London Metropolitan University.  Dr. St George's research and practice is in chronophotography. His PhD was entitled: An investigation into the aesthetic codes and strategies used within visual art to represent and construct space, time and movement.  St George is curator of Sequences, a UK touring exhibition of contemporary chronophotography, and editor of: St George, P. (2009), Sequences: Contemporary Chronophotography and Experimental Digital Art, Columbia University Press..  St George is also editor of ‘imagetime' for Columbia. ‘imagetime' is motivated by a recognition that the readerships of photography and the moving image are converging in an interesting place. His paper, Chronocyclography, discusses his installation art which is influenced by a 19th century movement capture system, developed by Marey, and used, amongst other things, to analyse the movements of psychiatric patients. The chapter draws out a narrative from methods of recording movement, through methods of analysing and presenting the recordings of movement to an understanding of the aesthetic, social, cultural and political implications of this field of movement capture.
  • Kirk Woolford: Artist/designer and software developer who works closely with digital and creative industries. Senior Lecturer in Media Practice at the University of Sussex. Kirk Woolford is the Principle Investigator on the Motion in Place Platform (MiPP) - a UK  Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project exploring relationships between place and movement.  His research interests lie at the intersection between Art and Technology and Industry and asks what roles creative practitioners can fulfill within this triad.  His paper, Capturing Motions in Place examines the use of motion capture in understanding space use.  Architects long ago realised that it is not possible to get a proper understanding of a location by simply looking at drawings or images; that we need to move around a building in order to understand it. Traditionally, they would build 3D models to allow people to look at places from different viewpoints. Recently, many have turned to digital models and techniques enabling virtual fly-throughs, yet these digital resources cannot replace embodied understanding of place. Architects continue to "walk the site" or, rather, plot out the site on the ground and walk through it with an understanding that movement alone allows them to comprehend scales, orientations, and relationships. Similarly, the importance of an explorer's bodily involvement with the objects of scientific investigation is increasingly, explicitly, acknowledged in current archaeological theory. The interdisciplinary Motion in Place Platform (MiPP) consortium aims to move beyond traditional studio-bound motion capture to ask how capturing humans' movements through sites can lead to new forms of research data to reinforce understandings of how places were/are used rather than focusing primarily on how they are constructed.
  • Tom Shannon, PhD is a chartered professional engineer with over a quarter of a century of international, commercial experience as a practising engineer and medical physicist with a focus on clinical and machine vision applications applied to the analysis of human motion and shape. He is a cofounder of The Oxford Metrics Group plc headquartered in Oxford, and a Director of Vicon Motion Systems located in Oxford, Denver and Los Angeles. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, College of Biomedical Engineering of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce.  Dr Shannon's talk will be focusing on how motion capture techniques, as used in the video gaming industry and image augmentation, which is placing animated objects into real backgrounds, as used in movies and television works as applied to animation.



The following downloads are available
Registration flyer
PDF1.50 Mb

Call for Proposals

This is a call to submit a 500-word chapter proposal of original, non-published material for a book that examines the theory, practice, and art of movement capture, analysis and preservation, edited by Grethe Mitchell.  Selected authors will be invited to submit 4000 to 6000 word chapters for the book and will have an opportunity to present their work at the accompanying symposium in the UK (19-21 January 2012, venue TBC).  

This project is supported by the AHRC’s Beyond Text programme, which has funded 40 projects to tackle key questions of how we communicate across time and place, using performance, sound, images, and objects.  

Since Muybridge laid trip wires to aid the photography of a horse in motion in 1878, scholars in the arts and humanities, as well as practitioners in the creative, performing and entertainment industries, have been increasingly drawn to capturing, recording, analysing and preserving movement. In these disciplines and sectors, numerous technologies including non-digital notation, cinematography and markerless motion tracking have come to be used for these purposes.

In this era of technological convergence, sharing knowledge and developing new practices across traditional disciplinary boundaries, in so-called real and virtual environments, and in the liminal spaces in between, have become possible and even necessary.  Therefore the time is right for an interdisciplinary investigation of issues and practices in movement capture, recording and preservation. 

Chapter proposals are welcomed from academics, archivists, curators and scholars working in a broad range of disciplines; practitioners in art and design, music and performing arts as well as those working in the creative, entertainment and other relevant industries.  We also welcome proposals from R&D teams in the commercial sector.  These proposals will address the theoretical, practical and ethical concerns of capturing, analysing and preserving or archiving movement.  In addition, case studies that examine affordable and hybrid use of technologies will also be of interest.  

If there are good reasons for chapters longer or shorter than 4000 to 6000 words, selected authors can address a request to the editor before 04 December 2011.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

- What is meant by movement?

- How is movement captured and analysed? By what methods? 

- How do these methods illustrate how movement is perceived and represented? 

- What are the salient elements in movement capture, analysis and preservation?

- How, or is, the ephemeral nature of movement ever captured?  And, what does it say about those who want to capture it?

- When is movement worth preserving and analysing? Why?

- How does movement capture balance complexity and ease-of-use, ensure fidelity and completeness, and/or become versatile in its representation?

- What are the ethics of capturing and preserving movement?  

- What possibilities for movement are unleashed or hindered by its capture, analysis, and representation?

- How are technologies integrated with the body and with body movement?

- What is the relationship of time and space to movement capture/recording, analysis and preservation?

- What are the aesthetic, social, cultural and/or political concerns of movement capture and preservation?

- How does location and duration affect movement capture, analysis and/or preservation?

The intended audience for this book and symposium includes faculty, students, practitioners and policy-makers across a broad range of disciplines in the arts and humanities, as well as from the creative, entertainment and other industries. Chapter proposals should therefore minimise specialised language where possible.

This project has relatively short turnaround times for review and submission.  The deadline for chapter proposal submissions is 0900 (GMT/UT), Monday 26th September 2011.  Please also see below for other important dates and deadlines.  

Proposals should be submitted in Rich Text Format (RTF) and emailed as attachments to gmitchell(at)  Please also attach a brief biography stating professional and research interests and affiliations.  A brief list of publications or relevant activities can also be included.

Important Dates:

- 0900 GMT/UT on 26th September 2011 ~ Deadline for submission of proposals.

- 31st October 2011 ~ Proposals selected and authors informed.

- 0900 GMT/UT on 04th  January 2012 ~ Deadline for completed version of paper. 

- 19th -21st January 2012 ~ Opportunity for selected authors to present papers based on their book chapter at the symposium on “The Art, Theory and Practice of Movement Capture, Analysis and Preservation”.

- 27th January 2012 ~ Papers reviewed and returned to authors.

- 0900 GMT/UT on 13th February 2012 ~ Camera ready papers submitted to editor. 

For queries, please contact either one of us:

- Grethe Mitchell (Principal Investigator & Editor) gmitchell(at)

- Tyler Denmead (Research Assistant) td287(at)

To receive updates about the project and symposium please sign up to our mailing list by going to: and pressing ‘subscribe’.  Alternatively email Tyler Denmead at  td287(at) with your request to subscribe and he will add you to the list.

The following downloads are available
Download .pdf of CFP
PDF71.52 Kb

Arts & Humanities Research Council: Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,000 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. See Arts & Humanities Research Council website.