Longhi interviews McMillian, who recently created the "Black Movement Project", an online database of Black motion capture data and Black character base models.
Movement is a key word for New York–based artist LaJuné McMillian, who explores life beyond the material world through animation and virtual reality. She forged her vision and practice in digital media and figure skating, becoming increasingly aware of the potential of the human body to incorporate and shape culture. She recently created the ‘Black Movement Project’ (BMP), an online database of Black motion capture data and Black character base models. Existing motion capture databases do offer culturally specific movements, but often lack information about their origin and the dancers who performed them. With BMP, McMillian created an instrument for activists and artists to generate cross-reality projects, but also, in her words, “an archive of black existence”. Therefore, BMP functions not only as a creative digital resource, but also as a tool to inspect issues of cultural representation in the media. Transcending space, time and white supremacist social structures, BMP aims to tackle the rising risk of Black cultural erasure in the digital spaces. Synthesis Gallery in Berlin offered a glimpse of the project during their ‘Walkthroughs’, an online program of VR artistic experiences providing an overview of the artists’ creative process, in response to the current moment.
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