Mixanthropy

2022. Ongoing.

Multimedia.

In collaboration with Meichun Cai.

Mixanthropy is an imaginary shapeshifting journey about the body in transition, visual, and behavioral. The term, mixanthropy, encapsulates a deity’s potential to glide between versatile body forms. Explored through media art incorporating motion capture, retargeting, CG, and machine learning, it is a future bio-mythology with the idea of animal-human shapeshifting while in motion. Transitioning between animal and human states, we create animal-human hybridity through body transformations based on anatomical isomorphism with mimetic skin textures echoing different environments with dataset generated by AI. The hybrid mixanthrope morphs into other bodies with mocap retargeted on human and nonhuman bodies. We synchronize motion, as an externalization of the intrinsic psyche, with 3D body deformation and metamorphoses into humanoids, chimeras, and otherworldly beings. The mixanthrope encompasses multiple identities. It is not one object, one organism, but a mechanism of a mind that cannot be categorized but only rests in fluidity. As an observer, we see them change in time. But every metamorphic figure is an identity of the mind itself, manifested differently in different time periods. The mixanthrope incessantly reuptakes and renews different properties and manifests different figures as transcient shades of the mind.

Hybridity

Anthrop- (root): human

Mixanthropy: the capturing of an anthropomorphic being’s potential for fluidity and change. In hybridity exists the divine.

Image above: Etruscan dolphin vase, ancient Greece, image source ©Emma Aston.

Mixanthropy refers to the capturing of a deity’s potential of fluidity and change, explored from experimental digital design. Using shapeshifting between animal and human states, we aim to create the ambiguous hybridity through body transformations based on anatomical isomorphism, with mimetic skin textures echoing different environments with dataset of StyleGAN latent space walk. The hybrid mixanthrope morphs their body into other bodies with mocap retargeted on human and nonhuman avatar bodies. At the same time, we associate motion, as an externalization of the intrinsic psyche, with 3D body deformation and morphing into humanoids, chimeras, and otherworldly beings.

The mixanthrope encompasses multiple properties. It is neither one object, nor one organism, but a mechanism of a mind that cannot be categorized but only rests in fluidity. As an observer, we see them change in time. But the metamorphic figure at every frame is an identity of the mind itself. It just manifests itself differently in different time periods. The essence is that the mixanthrope incessantly reuptakes and renews different properties and exhibits different figures as shades of the mind.

Interspecies Choreography Mocap

In the process of creation, Meichun and Yiou performed a series of different animist movements while imagining themselves transitioning between their original species, Homo sapiens, and another species. Using motion capture technology of MIT Immersion Lab, Meichun and Yiou choreographed and personally provided movements to the shapeshifting beings.

“Mixanthropy” Future

The different shapeshifting references different animal-human shapeshifting in ancient myths all over the world. “Mixanthropy” project is still in progress and not only the ongoing collection is expanding, but the whole project is harboring a future multimedia stage more stunning, novel, and mythical.