By Rachel Yang
Chelsi Cocking is an interdisciplinary artist who explores the human body with the help of computers. For her work, she develops sophisticated software to use as her artistic tools, including facial detection techniques, body tracking software, and machine learning algorithms.
Cocking’s interest in the human body stems from her childhood training in modern dance. Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, she equally loved the arts and sciences, refusing to pick one over the other. For college, “I really wanted to find a way to do both, but it was hard,” she says. “Luckily, through my older brother, I found [the field of] computational media at Georgia Tech.” There, she learned to develop technology for computer-based media, such as animation and graphics.
In her final year of undergrad, Cocking took a studio class where she worked with two other students on a dance performance piece. Together, they tracked the movements of three local dancers and projected visualizations of these movements in real-time. Cocking quickly fell in love with this medium of computational art. But before she could really explore it, she graduated and left to start a full-time job in product design that she had already lined up.