Water Sprites - a Data Sculpture! - CODAworx

Water Sprites – a Data Sculpture!

Client: The Westminster Schools

Location: Atlanta, GA, United States

Completion date: 2022

Project Team


Toni Boyd

The Westminster schools


Ace Barghi

BDR Partners

AV Integrator

Tommy LaRue

Stage Front

Built the LED video wall

Richard Hill

Digital Projection

Built the backend system for the video wall

Analog Way

Analog Way


Water Sprites - a unique data sculpture of human dance movement, combining data sculpture and visual effects methods to explore unique ways of viewing the natural world. Using motion-capture suits to record the movement data of three dancers from The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Fusion directed the data to generate water simulations - unique, breathtaking combination of art, science & technology. The water simulations inherit the shape and velocity of the dancers and therefore at any point in time, the water is a fully three-dimensional sculpture of both the dancer shapes, and their last 1-2 seconds of movement, all designed as an anamorphic illusion, as though the dancers were set in a performance space. The result is both an art piece honoring the talent and specific style of each dancer and a true, dynamic data sculpture of human motion, honoring the contribution of the performance arts to Westminster Schools.


The goals of the work were to first, create a performance arts component for a digital art library for the school - each video piece represents a different aspect of this year's student body -- the library is a legacy for this year's students. The second goal was to make a digital art piece which was not focused on the particular students involved, but instead artistically represents performance arts at the school. Rather than a simple video of the dancers performing, focusing on their specific identities, it was decided to go further, recording the data of the dancers' motions, elevating their performance beyond any particular student. Representing the dancers as a data sculpture, the students become iconic symbols of dance, they become abstract spirits of performance arts, freed from their own particular identities.


Beginning with the selection of the dancers, the music & the choreography, Fusion worked with the students to create this iconic piece. Fusion recorded the movements of the dancers wearing motion-capture suits & these movements were digitally transferred to ‘rigged’ 3D digital characters, which were used as sources for digital water. Fusion designed & created custom force fields, driven by the dancer's spatio-temporal velocity fields, to control the fluid dynamics.
The digital water was created in the form of the dancers & inherited velocity from the point of creation, and was then pulled along with the point of creation according to the ongoing velocity history.
The physics were designed so the dancer’s data stream controlled the overall shape & motion of the water.
The result is a water sculpture that mimics the form of the dancers, recording their ongoing movements. An arm sweep becomes a arc of water, a kick generates a spray of droplets with velocity components corresponding to the dancer’s recorded velocity data. The final piece, at 3000 frames length, 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, is accompanied by the original dance music & set within a 3D, anamorphic set including a cascading digital waterfall from which the dancers emerge.