Posted 06 October 2022
Interview by Ashley Tan
Mention Mélanie Chappuis

Creative technologist Mélanie Chappuis on how movement influences her coding

Creative technologist and dancer Mélanie Chappuis takes inspiration from the moving parts of the world: from flora and fauna, to the human body, and fuses it into her code. Originally trained in graphic design, she added creative computing to her repertoire. Learning several programming languages while also studying the English language was a process which, combined with the challenges of dyslexia, she credits as helping her grow creatively. Here, Mélanie shares with us her exciting projects, including an installation for a recent Zara collection launch, alongside the importance of seizing opportunities to collaborate and the need for consistency as an artist.

Mélanie Chappuis

Mélanie Chappuis

Job Title

Creative Technologist



Selected Clients

Inditex, Nike, Burberry, Neo Shibuya TV, New Media Art, Sadler’s Wells

Place of Study

MSc Creative Computing, Creative Computing Institute (2020-2021)
BA Graphic Communication Design, Central Saint Martins (2017-2020)


Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you do as Creative Technologist?
As a creative technologist, I’m interested in the intersection between art and technology. I create immersive sensory experiences to better engage and reconnect people, including those with disabilities. I explore new perspectives in Human-Computer Interaction especially concerning how the body can be an interface to learning and creativity.

Movement and dance are important elements of my practice, they are some of the most liberating ways to express our feelings. I’ve created a series of web experiments exploring the relationship between movement and machine, in which you can use your body as a musical instrument. I had the chance to showcase my work at the Secret Art Gallery and many other galleries in London with the participation of talented dancers.

I also play a critical role in the deployment of campaign-leading interactive installations, AR experiences and a host of other digital experiences. Many take the form of complex web applications for different clients such as Inditex, Neo Shibuya TV, and New Media Art.

What’s your favourite thing on your desk right now?
My yellow highlighter pen. When I brainstorm for a new project, highlighting some words I’ve written is an effective way to pay attention to important topics and key points. It also helps me focus more on what is truly important for my purposes and have the right direction from the start.

Dance performance with Nathalia Meksa and Marta Świerczyńska at the Secret Art Gallery01

Mélanie in a performance at Secret Art Gallery, London

Melanie chappuis dance performance with Nathalia Meksa and Marta Świerczyńska at the Secret Art Gallery02

Can you tell us about some of your favourite projects to date?
One of my favorite projects I did last summer was called Conectada. This exhibition focused on the importance of human interaction and relationships. After the pandemic, I wanted the audience to feel reunited again by celebrating freedom and exploring synergy with different senses via my immersive installations.


Another project I was proud to be part of was the launch of the AW22 collection for Zara. With the engineering and design team, I created an immersive pop-up in Shoreditch. The installation presents a video projection of the new products, which you can interact with. The type of interaction I've explored with machine learning is called image recognition. Depending on the pose you’re making, it shows different articles of clothing projected onto your body.

Launch installation for Zara’s AW22 collection, which Mélanie helped build

How I got here

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do? And if not, what skills or traits are most essential to the role?
I did an MSc in Creative Computing to have a solid base in coding and understand which [programming languages] I would like to use and develop in my art. It’s also important to always be open to learning new programming languages because things move fast in the tech world, and new forms of creativity can appear at any time.

“Things move fast in the tech world, so it’s important to always be open to learning new programming languages.”

What was your journey like when you were first starting out? Did you find your feet quickly?
I knew from the beginning that art was my passion. Since I was a kid, I was already painting and making music in the Swiss countryside. But I also gravitated toward math and science because I loved the logic and feeling of progressive problem-solving.

Once I moved to London, I realised there are so many opportunities in the art industry. I naturally started exhibiting my work in collaboration with different artists, and worked for various creative studios. These experiences allowed me to gain more confidence in my work and as a result I’ve been able to explore different mediums such as video, photography, sculpture, art direction and creative computing. After participating in art installations, I’ve realised that technology can bring more depth to my creativity and can also improve human interactions.

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work or career, what would they be and why?
Learn to Code Now – this book was a great guide when I started creating visual elements of web pages. It is a good reference to learn HTML, CSS and Javascript.

The Google Creative Lab website. It showcases helpful tools and resources to inspire me to create new experiments in human-computer interaction. Google Creative Lab is a group of interdisciplinary thinkers, that also pushes for an impact that outweighs our footprint using Chrome, Android, AI, AR and more. I like navigating through the webpage and discovering new innovations; every project is refreshing and currently trending in the field of technology and art.

A monthly subscription to the Animan magazine, which shows the beauty and also fragility of different parts of the globe. It has amazing resources that serve as inspiration for me, especially as I place a lot of importance in respecting fauna and flora in my creative work. There are still indigenous people who remain close to nature and are a good example of how to fight global warming and protect natural resources.

Mélanie’s workspace

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Dyslexia has been one of my biggest challenges. When I was a teenager, I had a lot of difficulties being neat or coherent with my writing, and I wasn’t clear with the organisation of it.

Once I started university, I had no choice but to write thousands of words and learn a new language (English). It was tough in the beginning, but it was the best kind of practice for me to improve on the structure of my sentences and be more concise with my work. I also think it’s the reason I became visually creative, and learned how to create mental images to comprehend what I read.

“Learning a new language was tough, but made me visually creative as I learned how to create mental images to comprehend what I read.”

How important would you say social media and self-promotion are to your work? Do you have any advice or learnings to share?
Social media is a useful platform to promote my events or new products. It’s made my artwork easier to share and access. Through using it, I also found it easier to make new connections with people based around the world.

As an artist, I wouldn’t say social media is strictly a place to curate my work. I think [the platform is] also important in giving a clear vision of what makes my brand unique, as I have to remain consistent on it. However, I’m also trying to consider how important it is to share my work on social media compared to building my own website, so that I can keep my work professional.

“Social media is not only a place to curate my work, but also helps me establish a clear vision of my brand, as I have to remain consistent on it.”

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
Especially in the tech industry, I’m fortunate that the pay was often reasonable for most of the clients I’ve freelanced for. The creative sector, on the other hand, does not value work as well, despite the arts touching everybody’s life, and are needed across the economy including health, education, engineering and more.

My greatest learning with making money has been that, if you’ve got a great idea in mind, it’s worth trying to set up your own business. Four years ago, I created a platform called Ecogether with my business partner Hae Dn Kim. We set it up to form a community sharing different environmental issues on earth, with an aim to change social trends around sustainable consumption from fashion designers across England.

After experiencing high demand and positive feedback from our clients, our next step is to start expanding Ecogether internationally. To this day, the platform has helped in giving me a stable salary.

The Ecogether website

How did you go about landing your first commission as a Creative Technologist?
I got my first job as a creative technologist after I was contacted by Irene Miguel, a choreographer and dancer from Argentina. The contract was for a dance performance based on the five elements. I created the interactive wall projections, and each movement of the dancers was linked with a specific visualisation of an element.

It was an amazing experience working on this project because it led both of us to new discoveries on how to reconnect people with the natural elements of an urban city. We’re also collaborating for a new show coming up soon in November.

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve gotten was from my mentor Tishura Khan [Art Manager at Meta]. She told me: “No matter what your dream job is, you’ll likely hear ‘no’ many times before you achieve your goals. With tenacity and persistence, even if your talent isn’t there yet, you can always develop it to what it will eventually be. By refusing to accept that ‘no,’ you’ll separate yourself from the pack. Sometimes you just have to outlast the competition and wear down your boss! Not giving up is really huge.”

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar career?
If you’re completely new to coding, I advise you to start using open source tools such as p5.js and [software sketchbook] Processing; they helped me to bring my ideas to life. The well-written software and the thoughtful documentation made it simple for me to begin sketching and exploring my own artistic practice with code as my medium. Now working full-time as an artist and technologist, it is clear that the journey I have taken would not have been possible without access to these resources. I still use them to prototype ideas, and I encourage everyone from any discipline to learn to code.

The things you’re making are likely going to be experienced by someone who has never seen them before; make sure the intended interactions are intuitive and easy to understand. Furthermore, if you have a passion for art and technology, keep working on your own personal projects even when you may be doing work for some of the biggest companies in the world. It is important to respect your own principles as they are where you’ll be most fulfilled by.

Interview by Ashley Tan
Mention Mélanie Chappuis