Vampires and Coffee Tables

I just finished teaching two semesters as a visiting professor at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG). Because of the Covid situation, the seminars were very demanding for students and teachers alike. Keeping contact and including everybody in discussions while working our way through hours-long telepresence seminars proved to be a real challenge. I hope at least some of the students were able to benefit in a good way from our sessions and will be able to exhibit their works soon.

Heading back into my own arts, I am currently involved with two commissioned works. They represent completely different approaches to deal with the current pandemic situation:


Sebastian Weber is a choreographer from Leipzig who works at the intersection of modern dance and tap dance. We are currently developing a piece about vampirism that will hopefully start touring in October 2021. I have worked on a smaller piece with him before and am very happy to be part of this new invention.

At the moment, I am really occupied with the violence of the tap dance movements and hope to be able to capture some of that energy within my projections. I thought I could spot snakes, lizards and fiery outbursts in some of their moves. And while we are still at the beginning of developing the images, we will have blood flying all over the place at some point and people’s shadows dissolving into bats, rats or swirling clouds of dust. And we plan other magic scenes like a hypnotic night storm that will hopefully take some of the performers and audience on a quiet yet slightly rough sleepwalking trip.

There are a lot of connotations of this piece with the current pandemic but it’s not about Corona. Yes, it’s about an infectious disease but it’s a very dark mental and physical one that gets spread by passion, lust and hunger to take and be taken.


The second project involves Chris Ziegler, Sebastian Hannak, Nikolaus Völzow and others. We try to capture stage performances and play them back on Tablet displays in an Augmented Reality scenario, so that the theater performance seems to be happening on a desk or the coffee table of your own home.

A face tracker test for the Theater@Home project

We are currently experimenting with and validating different forms of trackers for this purpose, trying to choose the least invasive capture technology. We want to circumvent motion capture suits and helmet cameras and currently hope to get away with an AI only solution. If markerless tracking technology is already advanced and precise enough is an open question. Some technologies look promising but there apparently is no closed solution for all purposes yet. I’ll keep posting more as the project advances.