What do you do, when you have to decide what a particular posture might communicate?
This was a question that we asked ourselves early on in the project, and one of those questions that will require quite a bit of finessing before an answer can ever materialise.
We even started a slack channel to ask only questions related to the project. Strangely enough, we didn’t (or haven’t) asked questions related to posture, so I thought it might be best to pick at this one in this post here! And maybe post more questions in there, once I’m done with drafting this post.
Can a posture say anything about how we are feeling at the moment? I suppose so… animators train themselves with a mirror to observe their own body language. Body and theatre actors surely explore the silent expressivity of our body, both in motion and in stasis. We are constantly expressing ourselves as we walk.
Let’s bring this to the moment of sitting. On a park bench. I spy… a man leaned over, staring into space and contemplating thoughts privy only to himself. A month weeks ago, while walking the dog, I watched three elderly siblings coming to rest on a park bench, filling it to capacity, spending half an hour talking, taking in the gentle sun. Animated gestures, laughs and the occasional chiding that siblings and close friends are given the license to do. Yes, postures sure do tell something, perhaps not everything, but still – maybe a lot more observations at more parks is in order.
The discussions kicked off with the following ‘sets’ of postures that we thought were complete enough to warrant further investigation. In the diagrams below, the magenta-coloured blocks describe an individual sitting in that ‘zone’. Charlotte came up with these ‘postures’, and I’d venture a further elaboration from my own perspective:
STILLMAN – probably a very popular, if not the most normal thing to do to a park bench
UNLIKELY STRANGERS – perhaps least likely? If one craves a conversation, perhaps…
LOVEBENCH – at times sterotypical, but a pleasant caricature nonetheless. Being with, as opposed to being.
POWERSIT – seems to scream “don’t come near”, “hear me roar”, or someone in post-exercise stretch mode?
RESTFUL BENCH – nap, sleep, rest. sssshhhh.
Here’s a mindmap that picked at these points, speculating some possible animation effects to accompany each detected ‘posture’: