Embodying comics: reinventing comics and animation for a digital performance
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In the digital era, the comics medium has been transported from print to computer screen, and thus its evolution takes place in digital performances based on full-body interaction technologies. The major implication of this process is that the conventions of comics will be merging with those of performance, film, and animation. In a comics story implemented with full-body interaction technologies, representational space shifts from two to three dimensions. Physical elements can now easily be combined with virtual ones. The participants' contribution to the experience now includes a larger set of kinesthetic choices. Earlier media offer the readers the opportunity to read the story with their eyes, turn pages, and click a mouse. Instead of one or perhaps two readers of print and screen-based comics, a digital performance can be experienced by a group of viewers positioned in space in various ways. By utilizing the tools of computer vision, the projection of a participant can be made the main character of the comics story. Consequently, the comics and animation frame changes when moved to digital performance spaces. The frame becomes embodied, nested, elastic, and dynamic. The first two qualities relate to the physicality of the medium, where performers and viewers are simultaneously present in both the real and fictional spaces. The second two qualities relate to the procedurality of the medium and the potential for computational manipulation within the frame based on changing relationships across space (distance) and time (story).