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September 25, 2005

Performing Web 3d


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Scorched Happiness is a live performance in 3d multi-user cyberspace using Julia Kristeva's text Toccata and Fugue for the Foreigner as a structure to explore the properties native to 3d cyberspace.

Artists Adam Nash (VRML, music) and Mari Yamanaka (visuals) collaborate with John McCormick of Company in Space to draw parallels between the text's investigation of the psychology of foreignness and the new and the unfamiliar of cyberspace. The project proposes to explore alternate vocabularies to mimicking real space, or exploring the relationship between physical presence and virtual presence by recreating the human form as avatar.

There has been little work done investigating the potential of shared networked space as a site for live virtual performance art on its own terms. Scorched Happiness is an attempt to develop a live performative vocabulary that is native to shared cyberspace.

What are the native qualities of 3D cyberspace? Real space properties such as up/down, in/out, falling/rising, heavy/light do not exist in 3D cyberspace without considerable effort expended in creating them. Scorched Happiness uses abstract, non-humanoid avatars to explore as many permutations as possible towards understanding the properties of 3D cyberspace. As the foreigner in Kristeva's text explores wildly varied emotional geographies in an attempt to know the new place, so does the avatar in Scorched Happiness' cyberspace. The foreigner is by turns ebullient, aloof, confident, melancholic, multilingual yet mute, ironic yet naive. The avatars in Scorched Happiness become huge, layered, temporally chimeric audiovisual events filling up the space then receding away as they react to one another's manifestations.

Logistically, the performance is eminently scalable. Naturally (and at its most fundamental), the performance can be experienced by logging in to the multi-user space - virtual audience members can thereby navigate the space freely, their navigation becoming part of the perception of the performance. Additionally, performances can be projected onto large screens at physical sites. It is the nature of 3D cyberspace that the performers may also be present at such a physical site or may be logged in from physically disparate locations. Multi-screen, multi-source projections can augment the experience at a physical site by projecting the performance viewpoints of different performers and audience members, with workstations provided for physical audience members to log themselves in from the physical site. Finally, the performances and avatars themselves can be made available in 'real time archive' form in single- or multi-user form to experience when the performers are not logged in. These can naturally be accessed via the internet from a workstation or projected on to a large screen.

Posted by michelle at September 25, 2005 04:10 AM