EMOTIONAL MODELLING

Persona is an interactive portrait that simulates its own emotional life and is affected by the emotions of its observers.

COGNITION AND EXPRESSION

The installation leverages two components for simulating realistic emotional behaviour:

 

• A cognitive AI architecture

• State of the art computer graphics

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COGNITION AND PRESENTATION

The installation leverages two components for simulating realistic emotional behaviour:

 

• A cognitive AI architecture

• State of the art computer graphics

THE COGNITIVE BACK-END

The premise of Persona is that our bodily movements reveal the dynamics of our mental states. This idea stems from the pioneers of the Movement Psychology paradigm in classical dance and drama, who posited that even simple gestures, such as a greeting wave, can reveal unique aspects of one’s personality, emotions, and experiences. This suggests that from birth, we develop personalities and physical characteristics shaped by our cultural and familial environments, leading to the prominence of certain cognitive aspects over others. As a result, each person develops a unique psycho-physical model.

 

According to this paradigm, the psycho-physical model is deducible by the expression of rhythms in bodily gestures. These rhythms are dissected according to four axioms: ‘weight, space, time and flow’, in the physical domain, and as: ‘sensing, thinking, intuiting and feeling’, in the psychological. The axioms between the domains mirror each other such that:

 

• weight = sensing

• space = thinking

• time = intuiting

• flow = feeling

 

This mirroring forges the connection between physical articulations and psychological faculties.

 

We therefore trained an AI algorithm to recognise and classify these rhythms and linked it to a computational replica of the psycho-physical model. By these methods we crafted an architecture capable of expressing a dynamic personality of its own, whilst cogniscent of the emotional state of a human observer.

THE VISUAL FRONT-END

The architecture is then combined with a detailed performance capture dataset, meticulously crafted together with Centroid Motion Capture, to align with the agent’s model.

 

Focusing on a broad spectrum of emotional expression and subtlety, the data has deliberately been restricted to idle states and a single responsive gesture — a greeting wave. The limitation of a single gesture over a host of different gestures has facilitated the exploration of over a hundred emotional and intentional variations of the agent. This approach therefore enhances behavioural realism and the impression of stochastic interaction.

 

The architecture is finally connected to Unreal Engine for real-time rendering of the agent’s responses.

THE VISUAL FRONT-END

The architecture is then combined with a detailed performance capture dataset, meticulously crafted together with Centroid Motion Capture, to align with the agent’s model.

 

Focusing on a broad spectrum of emotional expression and subtlety, the data has deliberately been restricted to idle states and a single responsive gesture — a greeting wave. The limitation of a single gesture over a host of different gestures has facilitated the exploration of over a hundred emotional and intentional variations of the agent. This approach therefore enhances behavioural realism and the impression of stochastic interaction.

 

The architecture is finally connected to Unreal Engine for real-time rendering of the agent’s responses.

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PREMIERING IN GALLERIES

The portrait premiered at the Saatchi Gallery, London.

 

Press: Artnet, DN

BEHIND THE SCENES

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TEAM

JESPER ERIKSSON

Jesper is an interdisciplinary artist whose previous work includes a resurrection of a lost Van Gogh by machine learning, as well as productions for artists like Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, and Tove Lo, among others.

PHIL STILGOE

CEO and Producer at Centroid Motion Capture (UK, Serbia and India).

 

Filmography includes: Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, Prometheus, among others.

 

Gameography includes: Just Cause 4, Destiny Rise of Iron, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, among others.

PHIL STILGOE

CEO and Producer at Centroid Motion Capture (UK, Serbia and India).

 

Filmography includes: Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, Prometheus, among others.

 

Gameography includes: Just Cause 4, Destiny Rise of Iron, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, among others.

SIMON KAY

Motion Capture and MotionBuilder Training and Consultancy, Freelance.

 

Previously:

Mocap Supervisor, Double Negative.

Senior Technical Animator, Sony Entertainment.

 

Filmography includes: Tenet, Black Panther, Avengers, among others.

ROBERT LIECK

Asst. Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Modelling, Durham University.

 

Research topics: Machine learning and probabilistic inference for modelling decision making, communication, and perception.

ROBERT LIECK

Asst. Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Modelling, Durham University.

 

Research topics: Machine learning and probabilistic inference for modelling decision making, communication, and perception.

JAKOB ABRAMSON

Machine learning engineer and full stack developer at Confect.

 

Research topics: Model-Based and Model Free Average-Reward Reinforcement Learning Algorithms.

ANTHONY BOURACHED

Associate Professor, Machine Learning and Neuroscience, University College London.

 

Research topics: Deep Generative Modelling of Human Motion.

ANTHONY BOURACHED

Associate Professor, Machine Learning and Neuroscience, University College London.

 

Research topics: Deep Generative Modelling of Human Motion.

REBECCA WIELD

Dancer: English National Ballet, Aalto-Ballet.

 

Movement Director: Hampstead Theatre, Centre for Health and Human Performance.

GILES FOREMAN

Founder and director of the Giles Foreman Centre for Acting. Leading expert in Movement Psychology, and Swiss Film Academy Award recipient, 2023.

 

Filmography includes: Tar, The Empress, X-Men First-Class, among others.

GILES FOREMAN

Founder and director of the Giles Foreman Centre for Acting. Leading expert in Movement Psychology, and Swiss Film Academy Award recipient, 2023.

 

Filmography includes: Tar, The Empress, X-Men First-Class, among others.