Esperpento (“monstrosity” in Spanish) is a visually charged performance/installation that confronts the audience to see through a deforming lens. Rather than using the “monster” to critique societal ills, Esperpento embraces strangeness and deformity in order to challenge conventions of beauty, familiarity, and what is “normal” to the human condition. Esperpento depicts a universe of decadence inspired in Francisco Goya’s famous “Caprichos” paintings; as a performance, it dives into the idea of using technology (like VR and AR) as an instrument for extreme entertainment.
Esperpento was created by Victor Morales, a New York-based Venezuelan Artist who for more than 12 years has been obsessed with creating Performance and Visual Art using video game engines. His research/craft aims at finding ways of expression using digital technologies like a painter uses a canvas. In Esperpento he had his performers interact with a real-time engine to create this new experiences for the audience. He needed to animate the characters he designed for Esperpento to tell the story and his first choice for that job was Xsens.
Xsens provided the perfect platform to bring Esperpento to life. Each character was animated by a performer wearing the Xsens MVN suit. The set up was simple, easy to use, unaffected by the space it was in and lighting conditions. Victor, having not used Xsens before, was surprised to find how artist friendly the system was. So the performers, not from a technical background, found they could also understand and use the system to its full potential. Thanks to Xsens, the characters portrayed in Esperpento not only come alive but effectively tell a story through subtle body language that would have been lost with another system.