Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Persistence of Illusion: Using Spatial Illusion as a Visual Performance Mechanism

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posted on 2021-11-10, 05:06 authored by Nortje, Johann

This thesis presents the design of a real-time visual performance system for live performances. Building on a research analysis of historical context and precedents, it is evident that software systems currently available to Live Cinema and VJ performers are often complex to navigate and counter intuitive to perform with. An alternative approach to visual performance system design is investigated in this thesis, where the spatial zone of the physical performance is used as the basis for the design, rather than purely placing the focus on software architecture. The investigation focuses on how the creation of live visual content can be achieved through the virtual and physical spatial relationships within the performance and how the performer then interacts with these relationships through bodily response and navigation. This is achieved through combining the successes of contemporary visual performances, the interaction techniques used in pre-cinema instrumentation and the use of projection mapping as a means of visually addressing the entire space of the performance. These investigations are demonstrated through a series of experiments and theoretical studies culminating in a set of design criteria, put together in a final system design accompanied by a demonstrative performance. The significance of this research is to provide the design basis for a successfully intuitive visual performance instrument, which can provide immediate results yet still require skill and experience to master. This will move the skill base of visual performance away from software navigation and more towards the physical ability to create and perform complex visual compositions in real time.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Niemetz, Anne; Easterly, Douglas