Observation and Ideation


Prerequisites for this workshop: - Basic familiarity for danceON interface - Working with coordinate and pixels - Geometric shapes in danceON

In this activity, learners will develop skills observing arts, where and how to draw shapes in danceON.

Visual Analysis Practice

Have the students look at the image below, John Baldessari’s Umbrella (Orange): With Figure and Ball (Blue, Green) at Guggenheim Museume Collection Online.

To get learners breaking apart aspects of the image, give the following prompts:

  • What is the proportion of the image?
  • What is in the image?
    • What appears realistic and what is not?
  • Where is everything?
    • How are things positioned in relation to each other?
    • How many layers of things are there? What is in the front, middle, and back?
  • How do elements appear?
    • How big/small are they?
    • What colors/patterns they have?
  • What is the person doing?
    • How is the person interacting with other elements?
    • What does the gestures/body languages suggests?
    • How are the gestures/motions suggested through visual languages?

Figure 1: Umbrella (Orange): With Figure and Ball (Blue, Green), John Baldessari, 2004

Here is a sampled visual analysis I made when observing this image with the idea that I will recreate it in danceON.

Suggested worksheet and responses
General Compositions
What is the proportion of the image? The image is vertical, meaning that the width of the image is shorter than the height of the image.
What is in the image? There is a feminine-looking person in a bathing suit standing on a ball next to an opened umbrella in a vertically composed image.
What appears realistic and what is not? The background and the person looks realistic. The umbrella and the ball looks like cut-out. The person’s face is also covered with a circle.
Where is everything? The person is on the right and the umbrella is on the left of the image.
How are things positioned in relation to each other? The person is standing facing the camera on top of the ball.
How many layers are there? What is in the front, middle, and back? The ball and the figure is slightly in front of the umbrella, and they seem to be on a beach based on the texture of the contact surface. The sea level is in the far background and runs through the image slightly below the horizontal centre line. More to the background, there are a few pieces of cloud in the sky.
How big or small are the things? The umbrella is about half of the height of the person The two circles are about the same size, except the ball i slightly larger than the circle covering the face.
What colors/patters are there? Everything is grayscaled other than the umbrella, the ball, and the circular shape covering the person’s face. The umberlla is solid light orange and has multiple shaded ciruclar dots as its pattern. The ball is solid green and simplified.
What are other specific properties? It doesn’t look like a photographed ball but more like the geometric circular shape. The circular shape covering the person’s face is blue and resambles the ball in its simplifed texture and geometric shape. The person has shoulder-length curled black hair and is wearing a patterend swimsuit.
Details of characters’ motion
What is the person doing? The person is standing on the ball looking like trying to balance themselve with hands pointing out.
How is the person interacting with other elements? The person is not interacting with the umbrella.
What are the gestures/motions suggested? Standing on the ball with their right foot, the person’s left foot knees are slightly bent. The person has their hand swinging outwards and wide open. Looks like they are balancing themselves.
How are the gestures/motions suggested through visual languages? The out pointing hands waving in the air and bent knees portrays a balancing pose. The composition of person standing on the ball with one leg also makes up the story of the person balancing on the ball.

Depth – Distance from Camera

The distance from camera is straight forward. The translation, however, could be tricky. On canvas, the further away you are, the smaller you will be. Playing around that idea in danceON could opens up lots of creative possibility. In this example, the recreation requires you to move further away from the camera to create such canvas.

Recreation and Inspiration

For the sake of this activity, we don’t have to make a 1 to 1 recreation of this image. What will be focused on is recreating the body and the general shaped. Don’t worry about the details on the umbrella.

Think about the distance between things. How to best adapt this animation to the figure in the canvas?

That being said, this is a good time to elaborate on this image with your own imagination. Give this scene some animation, move around and dance with your code with your peers.

Communicate what you want for the animation with your peers. The final result should be related to this scene in some way.

Discussion Questions

Observation Workshop.

  • Was the visual analysis and observation process helpful?
  • Are there parts that you find confusing throughout this session?
  • What were some challenges you’ve had in the past about teaching similar concepts we covered today?

Dancers’ Vocabulary and danceON STEM Concepts

  • How would dancers describe and document a movement? Do you see that possibilities in conversation with danceON?
  • How would dancers recreate a movement? Is that recreation process transferable to this exercise?
  • We have all these index card filled with concepts. Are there more you could add to this dictionary?
  • How do you see connectivity among them? Create some parings.