The Use of a Motion Capture Facility to Capture the Puppeteer and Puppets’ Movements in Wayang Kulit Kelantan Performance

By Khengkia Khor.

Published by The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Kelantan Malay shadow play, a local cultural heritage in Malaysia is threatened with imminent extinction. There have been no significant attempts made at preserving this important traditional art form and it is clear that with the current situation in Malaysia and the low level of official support, Wayang Kulit Kelantan is unlikely to last long. Some researchers have suggested that this form of theatre be digitized into the cyber world so that it can be watched on the digital screen. The digitisation of Wayang Kulit Kelantan will promote the art form and also indirectly help to preserve it in alternative media. One of the major problems faced by the traditional Wayang Kulit Kelantan is that of disseminating the
technique of puppeteer. Based on a closed system of individual attachment or “discipleship”, the art of puppeteer has been traditionally passed down to direct descendants of the master puppeteers. This system of handling down Wayang Kulit Kelantan is no longer practised by the few puppeteers who are still active. The art of puppeteer is not well-documented because on the whole the older generations of practitioners have been reluctant to share their knowledge with outsiders. However, since Wayang Kulit performances cannot sustain the livelihood of puppeteers in Malaysia, not many people venture into this traditional performing art; even the offspring of puppeteers are not very keen to carry on with it. This paper presents the use of a motion capture facility to capture and preserve the movements of an acting puppeteer and puppets in a simulated Wayang Kulit Kelantan performance. This experiment was carried out in University Putra Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, in the year 2011. The captured data was then transferred into a virtual Wayang Kulit Kelantan performance to simulate its shadow images.

Keywords: Wayang Kulit Kelantan, Shadow Play, Motion Capture, Computer Puppetry

The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.47-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.244MB).

Khengkia Khor

Lecturer, School of Media Arts and Design, SEGi University, Seri Kembangan, Kota Damansara, Malaysia

The author is a Programme Coordinator cum Senior Lecturer in the School of Creative Design at SEGi University, Malaysia. He has eight years of academic experience that include both teaching art and design as well as developing courses and training modules. In addition to that, the author has presented and published research papers at various international conferences, including the 4th International Arts in Society Conference in Venice, Italy (2009) and the International Conference on Computer Graphics, Visualization and Imaging in Tianjin, China (2009).In the year 2001, his animation short was nominated for Best Animation (student category) in Royal Television Awards and Best Film in the 17th Birmingham Film & TV Festival in the United Kingdom.