NUVE (2010)

Né Barros and João Martinho Moura


*Text excerpts from:
João Martinho Moura, Né Barros, Adérito Marcos, Pedro Branco (2011)
NUVE: in between the analog and virtual body.
TEI’2011 Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embeded and Embodied Interaction.
TEI’2011. ACM. ISBN: 978-1-4503-0478-8


NUVE started as a research in 2009 at the University of Minho and Balleteatro. Interpreted by Né Barros (Balleteatro), it was presented in 2010 at the event Quintas de Leitura – Porto.

Nuve. Né Barros and João Martinho Moura. Balleteatro, Porto. 2010
Picture: Nuve. Né Barros and João Martinho Moura. Balleteatro, Porto. 2010

NUVE is an artistic project that aims to explore the artistic possibilities offered by the digital dance performances in the interaction between the individual and his virtual double. In NUVE we conceptualized, developed and implemented a digital artifact, resulting in a fluid digital performance based on the theme of the analog body versus the digital virtual body.


NUVE (2007) João Martinho Moura
Picture: Nuve. Né Barros and João Martinho Moura. Balleteatro, Porto. 2010

Contemporary art sets the scenery for a body exploration based on movements, actions and behaviors. Among the different crossings, the digital art is still under expansion on the dance domain. Despite the art of dance has appropriated a variety of new technologies, it is still a domain to explore with the potential at an aesthetic and at an artistic level.

Picture: Nuve. Rehearsals. Né Barros and João Martinho Moura. Balleteatro, Porto. 2009


NUVE emerges from a line of work being developed by the first author [1] that explores full-body interaction and expressive gestures to compose immersive audio and visual flows supporting artistic expressiveness. In the author’s previous work physical expressive gestures are rendered in digital compositions formed by musical and visual movements, composing an enriched audiovisual experience [2]. 


Video 1



In NUVE the body is the first engine of action, but the choreographic body evolves into a relation with its own “virtual double” in a way to create a dialog challenging the choreographic boundaries and adding new dimensions to the gesture. Throughout the choreography, tension is built between the performer’s silhouette and the “virtual double”. At some stage in the narrative, the “virtual body” detaches itself from the performer and the choreography evolves, the “virtual double” is no longer shadowing the performer but in a way seems to gain life from him/her and both perform together. NUVE follows the line of generative digital art, composing in real-time ever-evolving visual scenarios that flow with the performer movement and gesture contrasting light and darkness, body and gestures, real and digital. The audio and visual sequences of the narrative are pre-established to follow the created choreography.

Video 2



NUVE was prototyped in the processing platform [3], an open-source JAVA programming language, and developed with the openFrameworks platform [4], an open-source C++ programming language toolkit. Communication between processing and openframeworks is made via OSC (open sound control). It relies on a modified infrared firewire camera to capture the image of the stage at 30 frames per second. Appropriately infrared lights are employed to obtain the best possible image of the dancer. A combination of standard image processing techniques is then used to capture the silhouette and the movement of the performer. The sound composition was created with the software SuperCollider [5].


This project contains a permanent duality in its communication with the public: the actual image, the performer who is physically on stage, and the virtual image that is being projected. The use of images or light systems is a normal technical procedure in the dance. The application of images, projected on stage, allows the choreographer to create the right visual environment for the transmission of the idea in the work. This technique allows the placement of certain scenographic environment that would be difficult to physically build on stage. The company Balleteatro has extensive experience in the projection techniques in scene, and a research was conducted on the concept of the works so that the involvement of the teams was closer. With the increasing use of projection techniques on stage, arises also a relevant factor of the spectator’s attention to the various visual elements in scene. In this context, arises the problematic that Katie Mitchell called ‘the lure of the screen’. Digital technologies are constantly evolving, and their growing exploitation in the area of performance has been revealed very positive. The constant appearance of new and advanced motion capture devices, combined with the growing power of computational processing in real time, provides the possibility of exploiting these technologies in support of visual, aural and kinetic artistic creation. NUVE project is an example of the synergies among the various facades of creativity, being it the performance, the visual, the audio and the technological, brought together in a coherent and complementary fashion and seeking the poetics that can result when the languages of arts and the technology mutually comprehend.



[1] Moura – Joao Martinho, Sousa – Jorge, Branco – Pedro, Marcos – Adérito. You Move You Interact: a full-body dance in-between reality and virtuality. Proc. ARTECH 2008 Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Digital Arts, Porto, Portugal. Pages 49- 54. ISBN 978-989-95776-3-3
[2] Moura, Joao Martinho. You Move You Interact.
[4] processing.
[4] openFrameworks.
[5] SuperCollider.



Notes from the authors (in Portuguese):

Entre os diversos cruzamentos, a arte digital é ainda um domínio em expansão na dança. Apesar da apropriação das novas tecnologias encontrar diversos e importantes exemplos na dança, trata‐se de um domínio com potencial a explorar ao nível estético e artístico. Neste projecto, o corpo é o primeiro motor da acção, mas este corpo coreográfico evolui para uma relação com o seu “duplo” artificial de forma a tentar gerar um espaço comunicativo onde se desafiam os limites coreográficos e se redimensiona o Gesto. Trata‐se de um trabalho naturalmente em progresso, mas onde se testam já as suas possibilidades performativas.

Né Barros

Numa aproximação generativa à performance na sua vertente digital, tentam‐se criar ambientes virtuais de transformação e transição, espaços existentes por entre os espaços reais, dotados de corporalidade e interactividade, numa sinergia entre a luz e a escuridão, entre o corpo e o gesto, entre o real e o digital.

João Martinho Moura

Desenvolvido como trabalho de colaboração entre o Balleteatro e o Mestrado em Tecnologia e Arte Digital da Universidade do Minho, este projecto é um excelente exemplo das sinergias das variadas facetas da criatividade que se manifestam sobre a forma do performativo, do visual, do sonoro e tecnológico num todo coerente e complementar iluminando a importância das colaborações entre a arte e tecnologia. As linguagens entre esses dois pólos aparentemente dispares entrecruzam‐se e quando mutuamente compreendidas elaboram um discurso poderoso.

Pedro Branco



Picture Gallery





João Martinho Moura, Né Barros, Adérito Marcos, Pedro Branco (2011). NUVE: in between the analog and virtual body. TEI’2011 Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embeded and Embodied Interaction. TEI’2011. ACM. ISBN: 978-1-4503-0478-8
ACM Link [Link] [PDF]

João Martinho Moura, Adérito Marcos, Né Barros & Pedro Branco (2012). NUVE: na senda da performance digital (FP). ARTECH 2012 – 6th International Conference on Digital Arts. p179-186. (2012) ISBN: 978-972-98464-7-2

João Martinho Moura, Né Barros, Adérito Fernandes Marcos, Pedro Branco (2011).NUVE: Resizing the Digital Gesture. IJCICG – International Journal of Creative Interfaces and Computer Graphics.
ISSN: 1947-3117 EISSN: 1947-3125
Link | Link  (ACM) | Link (IGI Global)


Performance Credits

NUVE (2009-2010)

Coreography and Interpretation: Né Barros
Digital Art & Music: João Martinho Moura
Voice: Isaque Ferreira
Technical Coordenation: Alexandre Vieira
Executive Production: Patrícia Caveiro
Production: Balleteatro
Support: Apple McService



Related works:

Co:Lateral (2016-2019)
UNA 2020)