Friday, 31 October 2008

A Facet of the Real?

I will need, once again, to defer my discussion of the Stranger within the context of ‘Leaving’ as catalyst. I have a number of video clips to show both in and out of the Second Life Station before I move on to that topic, which I see as central to this project as a whole.

On Wednesday, 22 october 08 I carried out my second public presentation of the Second Life, Wellington Railway Station. The images included here are stills in the Station from the presentation day. The first image is a copy of the poster I made to advertise the event in both Real and Second Life. It is a composite of RL and SL images included here as a visual fractal of my stance toward the notion of blended realities. (*Please click on the images to enlarge).

The Location

The setting for this presentation was a small gallery, Momentum, a part of 'Equilibrium, Advanced Chiropractic Centre' in Church St, Nelson, NZ Aotearoa. I gratefully accepted the invitation to 'exhibit' here, there being a broadband connection and it also meant that I could move in for the day; in fact, my presentation lasted from 10am - 4pm. I data-projected the Second Life screen straight from our laptop (Mac Powerbook) onto one of the central walls. Seating for the audience/public was to either side with the addition of mats on the floor in the front. During the day I anticipated that I would have time to continue working in the Station, in between visitors. At 10am I received the first visitors and I had a constant turnover without a break until 4pm. The gallery was often filled to capacity with more people standing by the door. I had no time to record my process or the event in either RL or SL. I spent this time intensively balancing this mixed or blended reality, with questions and discussion occurring unrelentingly in both RL and SL spaces. I wanted the two descriptions of RL and SL - as one blended reality - to extend our perceptions of space and time in a public venue and to recieve responses related to this aspect. I have been intent on (hence my internet blog) presenting my research/practice as a developmental process to the public since I began this programme of study. I am interested in promoting discussion and critical discourse on all aspects of my work in a public arena and I saw this event as an ideal opportunity for this to take place, concurrent with the Nelson Arts Festival 2008. I am very grateful to Graeme Burton, Director of the Independent Theatre in Nelson (the premises next door) for coming in and videoing the event on two occasions through the day. I will be editing the footage for this blog soon.

My aims for this presentation were several:

First, I wanted to create a public forum for my work. I see this as being necessary from the point of view of the performer in the description of myself as artist.

Initially I considered carrying out a series of live, improvised sketches during the presentation but I abandoned this idea after realising the extent of the challenge required in resolving the dual roles. I could not adequately dance, carry out a meaningful dialogue with both audiences and move my avatar - but I am still considering this problem for future events. Although seated behind a computer, I see myself in this situation as a performer/guide, establishing a link, together with my Second Life self, for the assembled audience between Real Life and Second Life. However, my stance was not one of linking the real and the virtual. My task for this presentation was to suggest to the audience that in fact we were faced with the ingredients of a blended reality. I maintained that Second Life and my station was simply another facet of the real. That virtual perception/moments occur for us on a regular basis on any given day and that this encounter with the ether-made-visible was simply a more formal manifestation of this occurrence. Through discussion/presentation with the audience on this aspect there was general agreement that this interpretation of the perception of the Real could be accurate. Most people tended to skim over their barely witnessed virtual moments so it was a new experience to be faced with a captured, sustained virtual/real experience. Although agreement was reached, (discourse on this subject, not agreement, was my objective) conclusions about this aspect were not definitive.

Second, I wanted to expose an audience to my station simulacrum with streaming RL videos.

This aspect is related and an integral part of the aspect discussed above. I had just succeeded in obtaining the necessary permissions on the land for this to take place and I wanted to obtain feedback on the presence of the projected Real Life videos in the Station. Was there a more even balance existing now between the two states of RL and SL, with the addition of the videos? Did this more effectively imply a state of blended reality than a dual layering of the real and the virtual?

I have been building the Station with the deliberate intention of bringing in my RL videos for the last four months. So to some extent, the Station environment now containing these videos becomes (and became on the day) a proving ground for my concepts and dance practice. The Station has been viewed extensively by some people in SL over the past few months and has received enthusiastic responses. But until the presentation no-one had seen the videos in the Station. Ultimately, the experiencing of Second Life is still so new to most people, (it is significant that those people I know locally who are in SL for any length of time become very quickly, fully immersed in the SL experience and perceive it as a real space/time place) that the chasm between the RL video footage and the perception of the SL space as a naturally-occurring environment may be too great for an audience to bridge on the first viewing. I consider what I am doing is to introduce the first glimpse of a process of immersive experience which itself, is as compelling and equal to that of any other experience in Real Life, but that this could be a sequentially-integrated perceptually-based encounter.

To get back to my videos in the Station - I am very interested in their addition to the SL Station space. Energetically they have introduced a quite different kind of presence in the space. I have as yet, to decide what I want from them in the space. The mere fact of their existence in the Station is interesting but I think I am pursuing something more - I want something more from them. Whether this is a symbiotic relationship with the cutout crowd or a contrasting relationship where the videos play an interventionist role (like we as dancers have done in the RL Station) in the space I am not yet sure.

At this stage I have not manipulated the video screens very much but I intend to explore ways in which the RL movement can be blended with the static forms/screens/cutouts in the station to create a mixed visual panorama of feeling.

Despite the fact that the videos are being played on two-dimensional screens, I observe that although they are now removed from Real space/time (through video/edit) their essential characteristics defined by seamless three-dimensional movement which lies at the heart of their visual construct, they have retained these movement-based qualities which we associate with Real Life. These essential qualities separate them significantly from the SL cutouts and screens, which although essentially similar in their original visual signature (movement-based), have assumed a more static state energetically, based on passive two dimensional visual constructs. I am not sure at this stage whether I want to bring the two closer together or keep them apart.

During the course of the coming weeks I will be examining both compositional scenarios:

I am currenly investigating the visual effects of a) keeping the RL screens separated from the SL crowd, b) embedding the RL screens more subtly in the SL crowds and c) implanting the SL crowd cutouts with the RL texture which allows the RL video clips to play on that object/surface. This way I hope to erode, break up the RL video by scattering the projection through the components of the crowd. *(See the image immediately above). The advent of bringing my RL video footage into the Station now allows me to explore more specifically my ideas using the SL Station as a strategic perceptual and compositional device. This stage is significant because it directly affects my physical management of my concepts referring to the subliminal nature of witnessed moments in a Real Life crowd and how we are interpreting this through our dance. Do I want the dance separated away from the crowd, in a corner? Do I want the dance realised as a moving mote within the crowd stream? I will continue to explore both avenues.

Although they are both based on three-dimensional illusion, the videos may remain as videos projected onto screens and the cutouts may remain - as cutouts. A possibility does exist to animate the cutouts, but judging by the other animated cutouts I have seen this will still only create a moving, shaped two-dimensional screen.

For me there is more evidence of 'conversations' taking place here in the juxtaposed combinations of the RL and SL compositions. There may also be 'missed conversations' in evidence. At this stage it is still quite new and I will need time to reflect upon what I am constructing. Initially I was only able to bring in one video at a time into the Station, but I have just divided the Station concourse into three areas. This means that instead of uploading just one video into the station I can upload three different videos. When any avatar walks into that particular area and activates 'media' the video uploaded into that area will begin to play for them. The video then plays on all the screens with the designated texture/image (image of myself and Fiona with her hand over my eye). The avatar can stay in that area and watch any/all of the screens by using the camera controls. As soon as the avatar walks away from that area into another area, the video selected for that area will play. I have only just put this in place so will work with it for a while and then I may change the designated areas.

Third, I wanted to explore the possibility of a dialogue occurring between the RL audience around me and the SL crowd of avatars in the Station.

Both crowds had received the same poster, advertising the event in RL and SL. The novelty value of Second Life for those seeing it for the first time is profound, so many questions from a public audience address general SL issues and this can become a distraction from specific aspects. During my presentation a wide variety of questions came up and were discussed, eg: the benefits and inherent dangers of intensive and longterm immersion in online world/games like SL and general internet/computing for children and adults. The subject of online education modes came up; Efest, virtual learning and its effectiveness compared to learning in established RL norms of institutionalized (and non) learning modes and other issues. We spent some time debating the question of 'reality' after I asked 'What is Real?'. This reached a serious/humorous point when the avatars in the Station accused the RL audience around me of being the ones who were 'virtual'. Of course from the point of view of the avatars/people in the Station who were sitting at computers in Portugal, Montana, Wellington, Auckland, the UK and Holland, the people surrounding me were virtual. 'Where you stand determines what you see', but also how you percieve what you see - seeing and understanding - subjective solutions to negotiating our respective realities. In relation to this aspect, in my next public presentation I will make a point of focussing upon issues related to my work in SL and if there is time, I may open this up to general questions and topics.

Fourth, I want to investigate with this current work, the extent to which I may be able to extend the parameters of technological/media communication within the context of space/time presentation.

Virtual space and time I believe, is a facet of real space and time. I want(ed) the two descriptions of RL and SL - as one blended reality - to extend our perceptions of space and time in a public venue and to receive responses related to this aspect. As I mentioned above, the people behind the avatars in the SL Station were scattered around the globe, which immediately brings up the interesting notion of a (albeit limited) world-audience. *(The image immediately above has captured myself and Sioux Scribe, my AUT Masters supervisor, in the Station looking at the videos) I am interested in developing an RL/SL real-time blend here though, (allowing for the fact that with any video/edit there has already been a removal from Real Life real-time ) with a strategic presence of one in the other, otherwise I am concerned that it could become akin to passively watching a television broadcast rather than an active encounter in real space/time.

Finally, I will be examining all of the above and prioritising my activities so that I am not endeavouring to take on too many questions and investigative directions!

Second Life Wellington Railway Station - Visitors Book

I include this table with thanks to Toddles Lightworker from Weltec who has been maintaining this ongoing record of the flow of visitors through the Station since I began work.
http://virtual.weltec.ac.nz/Rolle/

A list of visitors to Rollo's build. In order of their arrival.
The total time for all visits by one AV and the last visit time stamp in GMT is shown.

245 visitors so far as of Sat 1st November 2008 NZ time.

Who Hrs Mins Secs Last Visit Time

Isa Goodman 0 0 50 2008-07-29T09:41:19.433413Z
Toddles Lightworker 0 2 30 2008-09-19T03:19:52.539177Z
Rollo Kohime 108 35 50 2008-10-30T05:40:26.952631Z
Edithzor Exonar 1 14 50 2008-10-30T23:57:23.584578Z
Eryr Llewellyn 0 15 0 2008-10-13T07:48:17.464219Z
Jeb Lanzius 0 17 10 2008-10-15T10:20:17.235374Z
Arwenna Stardust 1 6 0 2008-10-31T00:37:32.555745Z
SitDevelop Acker 0 9 30 2008-10-31T01:56:10.896277Z
Katipo Kirax 0 24 0 2008-08-29T11:02:10.544746Z
Tran Courtois 0 0 20 2008-07-31T09:41:58.602954Z
Kavisha Quan 0 50 30 2008-08-24T20:54:31.082094Z
LorenzoBuhne Zerbino 0 3 50 2008-07-31T10:58:06.731606Z
ugee Egoyan 0 16 0 2008-09-25T13:46:17.962555Z
Indygo Magic 0 1 0 2008-08-01T23:31:58.930020Z
Dependent Binder 0 4 0 2008-08-08T20:41:28.467404Z
CiderJack Applemoor 0 9 20 2008-10-28T07:08:57.790395Z
Dacary Dumpling 0 6 30 2008-09-05T21:35:04.127492Z
Professor Noarlunga 0 5 0 2008-09-28T22:39:06.877603Z
Steve Baroque 0 2 10 2008-08-01T11:05:52.164306Z
Ellie Dewoitine 3 24 30 2008-10-29T08:36:04.457530Z
SHAKIRA Skirr 0 8 20 2008-08-01T17:12:22.036566Z
Fionnbhar Kohime 5 46 50 2008-09-28T22:49:47.570809Z
Suteruni Susanto 0 0 50 2008-09-09T11:26:32.772152Z
SITLife Jefes 0 1 20 2008-10-30T07:38:59.154443Z
CT Vlodovic 0 8 50 2008-08-03T17:14:42.283931Z
Iphigenia Flores 0 14 50 2008-10-05T22:15:32.386007Z
Edasa Eales 0 0 40 2008-08-04T02:48:46.305091Z
Orwell Sorbet 0 26 20 2008-09-28T23:01:33.511958Z
Itchy Gamba 0 0 10 2008-08-04T06:02:52.527079Z
Mythical Destiny 0 0 40 2008-08-04T06:13:43.302277Z
Mikky Ling 0 0 10 2008-08-04T06:56:45.619766Z
Netpuppy Thespian 0 6 30 2008-08-28T21:29:06.634782Z
Effy Khandr 0 47 40 2008-10-09T20:03:54.900948Z
Joy Janick 0 0 20 2008-08-06T02:21:15.193390Z
Miso Susanowa 0 2 50 2008-08-06T08:57:29.892178Z
Mychal Shan 1 25 50 2008-10-08T08:11:01.867274Z
Bri Rayna 0 2 10 2008-08-06T22:15:01.680774Z
Xhris Roussel 0 7 0 2008-10-03T04:06:46.055965Z
Cheddar Heliosense 0 11 20 2008-08-10T02:12:50.686844Z
BF2 Shepherd 0 10 30 2008-10-29T20:39:31.175239Z
Salina Tuttle 0 0 50 2008-08-07T07:08:44.801620Z
MisterCool Magic 0 3 50 2008-08-07T09:54:20.738757Z
Maxine Pevensey 0 12 10 2008-08-08T02:27:31.943226Z
MoonSkywalker Dezno 0 1 40 2008-10-02T22:56:54.736753Z
jasonzhang Whybrow 0 55 30 2008-09-02T08:09:48.128582Z
L0RD Skytower 0 0 10 2008-08-07T22:28:46.138843Z
Jasoncode Magic 0 7 30 2008-08-29T03:23:05.943684Z
Reynard Ragu 0 26 10 2008-08-14T21:56:02.588205Z
Jiajun Footman 0 0 0 2008-08-07T22:46:13.806924Z
Luenza Parx 0 0 30 2008-09-02T02:06:14.017821Z
Artikas Fhang 0 0 0 2008-08-07T22:48:30.769224Z
Like Susanowa 0 1 0 2008-08-08T01:04:43.912127Z
Dayja Allen 1 6 20 2008-09-29T08:55:10.209625Z
pure Hynes 0 29 20 2008-10-03T14:19:34.301689Z
LakotaWolf Dawg 0 0 0 2008-08-08T20:48:39.591150Z
Terence Meredith 0 1 20 2008-08-08T21:34:58.369900Z
wenjun String 0 17 40 2008-08-09T01:58:26.363325Z
Loquacia Loon 0 2 10 2008-08-10T06:14:36.967985Z
Dresnel Whitfield 0 1 10 2008-08-10T21:17:30.059075Z
Steph Rexen 0 0 0 2008-08-11T00:05:05.856014Z
pall Sporg 0 0 40 2008-08-11T00:05:58.585933Z
indelible Shelman 0 2 50 2008-08-28T21:15:05.068930Z
Mint Runo 0 7 30 2008-08-11T03:43:10.004978Z
Blake Jigsaw 0 1 0 2008-08-12T06:49:35.507702Z
suet Urvilan 0 4 20 2008-08-11T12:11:54.064263Z
Peekaboo Skytower 0 0 30 2008-08-12T23:25:35.519399Z
Keeper Hellershanks 0 0 40 2008-08-12T23:26:17.833291Z
yee Luik 0 0 20 2008-08-13T07:16:53.248283Z
May Luminos 0 0 50 2008-08-13T07:51:19.106693Z
vonded Parx 0 0 10 2008-08-14T22:04:03.705165Z
saberwill Aristocrat 0 0 20 2008-08-14T03:13:06.791674Z
IchiGo Shinn 0 0 0 2008-08-14T03:55:20.421069Z
Alisdair Skytower 0 0 30 2008-08-14T04:35:46.675880Z
ArianaRebecca Juliesse 0 2 0 2008-08-14T05:32:30.298041Z
Wade Corvale 0 1 50 2008-08-14T06:48:51.150909Z
Usefulidiot Dezno 0 13 50 2008-08-18T04:13:44.371903Z
Tobiano Vlodovic 0 5 20 2008-08-20T22:03:46.526578Z
taijikate Bode 0 6 50 2008-08-15T03:47:12.308072Z
Gryphon Vayandar 1 36 20 2008-09-28T22:36:49.661817Z
heiiiiman Rajal 0 0 40 2008-08-15T07:37:02.000433Z
CheeseHead Foden 0 0 50 2008-08-16T01:48:24.621088Z
yikai Xue 0 0 10 2008-08-16T12:22:06.195888Z
Clare Wyatt 0 5 30 2008-08-16T16:16:51.363983Z
Piroshy Ning 0 4 30 2008-08-17T12:07:14.907976Z
Tawhiri Pye 0 6 50 2008-08-17T18:36:12.135964Z
Arm Strom 0 34 30 2008-08-22T15:54:12.278136Z
Winnie Ragu 0 0 0 2008-08-18T08:41:19.877843Z
Maraki Barom 0 1 50 2008-08-20T23:08:17.728746Z
Kandyfloss Khandr 0 3 20 2008-08-21T02:48:58.068063Z
Mo10 Twine 0 2 40 2008-08-21T03:24:50.348143Z
Wifi Hax 0 1 40 2008-08-21T03:42:37.585152Z
archmunster Toll 0 17 20 2008-08-26T10:52:39.753913Z
Paul Allandale 0 0 50 2008-08-21T07:34:20.191013Z
Lula Rhiadra 0 2 10 2008-08-21T10:13:17.558206Z
Yeeting Andel 0 2 0 2008-08-21T14:00:02.241822Z
dougy Hellershanks 0 21 10 2008-09-02T11:00:51.966206Z
stretch01 Quan 0 2 10 2008-09-08T04:52:16.818796Z
Karen Ashdene 0 5 50 2008-08-22T08:15:41.201598Z
FREDDIE Jigsaw 0 0 0 2008-08-22T11:16:57.276796Z
aimme Bookmite 0 0 0 2008-08-22T11:44:29.436530Z
Clawz Karu 0 2 10 2008-08-22T14:01:48.118140Z
jaimeball Khandr 0 6 0 2008-08-22T16:00:21.701898Z
Mittze Tatham 0 9 0 2008-08-23T01:18:56.127352Z
Farr Baxton 0 13 20 2008-08-24T21:05:57.364448Z
elivana Langwarrin 0 0 10 2008-08-25T00:55:45.645500Z
Tip Ametza 0 5 30 2008-08-25T07:46:57.199885Z
Alice Svenska 0 1 40 2008-08-25T16:43:27.315369Z
Geon Nasu 0 27 50 2008-09-17T09:12:53.483948Z
MaxNaughty Magic 0 0 20 2008-08-26T22:30:14.980355Z
Johnnie Wendt 2 6 50 2008-10-31T04:11:43.888323Z
Trinny Dreamscape 0 1 10 2008-08-27T02:18:47.016323Z
Wendy Steeplechase 0 17 10 2008-10-07T00:50:52.367572Z
Fin Morpork 1 51 10 2008-09-10T08:17:20.036443Z
sintasarah Braveheart 0 1 50 2008-09-02T03:40:02.862481Z
Scorpy Wildcat 0 13 40 2008-09-20T04:23:15.969395Z
Mark Nasworthy 0 3 0 2008-08-29T01:57:38.983523Z
Silel Volitant 0 2 30 2008-08-29T04:55:42.329084Z
Marni Mizin 0 4 10 2008-09-04T09:05:43.757775Z
GNI Albatros 0 1 50 2008-09-29T23:22:54.372419Z
Yavanna Llanfair 0 0 0 2008-08-30T09:41:49.942971Z
Ember Nubalo 0 18 0 2008-09-03T00:27:39.117490Z
Dusty Skillman 0 2 50 2008-08-31T02:41:37.668638Z
Nicci Lane 0 17 10 2008-08-31T02:41:05.799371Z
Zan Zanzibar 0 0 10 2008-08-31T16:45:38.544124Z
DarkDharma Daguerre 0 2 40 2008-09-01T01:19:46.577962Z
Flint Bookmite 0 0 30 2008-09-01T03:34:19.513621Z
Vida Diavolo 0 4 30 2008-09-01T03:55:16.273194Z
Willi Maruti 0 2 0 2008-09-01T12:11:48.022490Z
Louren Fiertze 0 3 0 2008-10-31T05:36:35.084546Z
Nonnatus Korhonen 0 5 10 2008-09-01T18:25:36.337609Z
lianna Lannock 0 13 50 2008-10-07T20:47:15.293052Z
Belle Shan 0 4 10 2008-09-01T23:22:56.617978Z
Pixels Sideways 0 17 50 2008-09-02T03:44:37.808155Z
Serendipiti Zabaleta 0 0 30 2008-09-04T16:52:36.024158Z
Mariat Benoir 0 1 0 2008-09-04T16:53:39.334198Z
Isis Kranfel 0 7 30 2008-10-10T03:36:30.049600Z
Monet Netizen 0 8 0 2008-09-06T04:41:17.937200Z
Jandal Source 0 3 0 2008-09-09T04:29:15.526063Z
Marka Baxton 0 1 0 2008-09-10T03:31:12.430711Z
Lindas Fearne 0 12 0 2008-10-01T23:40:26.905379Z
Le Selentiak 0 0 10 2008-09-15T14:51:09.351158Z
Alanna Vantelli 0 0 50 2008-09-16T04:45:11.984606Z
Pebbles Hannya 0 0 0 2008-09-16T09:46:42.972663Z
DanP Andel 0 8 50 2008-10-01T23:40:16.307380Z
Danni Rajal 0 0 30 2008-09-16T23:27:05.107348Z
eightspeed Jumanya 0 16 40 2008-09-17T11:04:40.590505Z
DrWho Thespian 0 16 30 2008-09-23T08:02:55.688942Z
evesapple75 Kuhn 0 0 0 2008-09-18T21:23:12.490135Z
Barbara Meads 0 0 0 2008-09-18T21:24:23.163382Z
Rathelm Ansar 0 0 10 2008-09-18T23:46:05.580653Z
LindaLoves Magic 0 1 20 2008-09-19T00:36:55.076362Z
sanz Spyker 0 1 10 2008-09-19T01:54:29.965072Z
Commander Quan 0 1 0 2008-09-19T01:54:08.773909Z
Ash Underwood 0 1 0 2008-09-19T11:49:36.244618Z
Meg Ronmark 0 5 30 2008-09-19T12:36:48.020905Z
Leelee Luminos 0 45 50 2008-09-28T07:32:35.820306Z
Bartok Hykova 0 1 10 2008-09-20T09:46:58.883694Z
Digicam Vayandar 0 8 40 2008-09-20T12:43:14.960677Z
Hikino Zanzibar 0 1 30 2008-09-21T00:14:53.799172Z
Leumas Tigerpaw 0 2 0 2008-09-20T20:40:12.088121Z
Fli Nurmi 0 12 30 2008-09-20T21:51:05.667840Z
Suzuki Savira 0 0 20 2008-09-20T22:54:56.902789Z
Smooth Turbo 0 1 50 2008-09-20T23:35:03.247037Z
Ohadininrob Haystack 0 2 30 2008-09-20T23:37:30.883202Z
Teuamairangi Gray 0 1 0 2008-09-21T09:23:16.214308Z
Margaret Fhang 0 0 10 2008-09-21T11:05:51.428780Z
andycapp Inglewood 0 1 0 2008-09-22T03:21:17.084243Z
TimShadbolt Braveheart 0 1 20 2008-09-23T00:53:32.041056Z
LordCharlie Tigerpaw 0 0 10 2008-09-23T07:56:12.880246Z
Opal Osterham 0 0 10 2008-09-24T00:29:07.185130Z
Archie Tatham 0 3 10 2008-09-24T09:58:12.315968Z
Simey Ort 0 7 40 2008-09-29T19:54:57.339655Z
Stabsta Waco 0 6 40 2008-09-25T03:12:32.270279Z
Donche Vita 0 2 0 2008-09-25T20:27:29.183012Z
deeababy92 Andel 0 1 20 2008-09-25T07:39:50.440414Z
Silo Michalski 0 0 30 2008-10-03T22:59:09.839957Z
Aunina Savira 0 2 30 2008-09-25T18:44:47.681380Z
Pernuvia Constantine 0 0 0 2008-09-25T19:29:11.740878Z
Lyric Tizzy 0 1 30 2008-09-26T00:07:47.827407Z
Jj Deakins 0 17 0 2008-09-26T00:24:17.563236Z
Bettina Tizzy 0 18 0 2008-09-26T00:58:29.767905Z
Dancoyote Antonelli 0 10 30 2008-09-26T02:56:00.640425Z
Work Quandry 0 4 20 2008-09-27T06:42:24.219454Z
Enomec Hapter 0 8 40 2008-10-01T23:44:09.358986Z
Alizarin Goldflake 0 2 50 2008-09-26T18:48:25.767068Z
Wiski Oh 0 2 40 2008-09-26T20:16:43.711414Z
Art Abernathy 0 2 40 2008-09-26T21:07:46.931071Z
juakin Constantine 0 0 50 2008-09-26T21:27:01.975407Z
Samantha Kazakov 0 1 0 2008-09-27T01:52:54.830028Z
Aidenn Brooks 0 1 10 2008-09-27T04:43:13.494611Z
Scooter Gaudio 0 5 10 2008-09-27T07:29:45.641857Z
Balika Foxtrot 0 0 20 2008-09-27T07:35:37.762989Z
Corcosman Voom 0 2 30 2008-09-27T09:52:09.076356Z
Grace McDunnough 0 2 10 2008-09-27T12:23:25.163766Z
Case Tomorrow 0 1 50 2008-09-28T18:23:53.484556Z
Perefim Cao 0 52 50 2008-09-28T19:18:52.101391Z
DebZee Miklos 0 2 10 2008-10-03T03:27:11.201954Z
Tere Tinkel 0 17 30 2008-10-12T22:05:33.211039Z
Maoriboy Allen 0 9 50 2008-09-29T08:58:45.825089Z
Juko Tempel 0 3 50 2008-09-29T16:18:09.030571Z
Draven Swindlehurst 0 1 10 2008-09-30T05:44:26.780379Z
Betty Amoufhaz 0 3 30 2008-09-30T13:01:35.072472Z
DB Bailey 0 23 0 2008-09-30T14:00:19.791890Z
Ktalina Snoodle 0 0 0 2008-09-30T19:53:47.721227Z
ElvisOtis Ember 0 11 50 2008-10-01T04:56:53.516488Z
Leroy Goalpost 0 0 0 2008-10-01T06:50:14.044970Z
Dagmar Kohime 0 10 40 2008-10-02T02:44:21.576821Z
Tawny Parx 0 1 50 2008-10-02T06:11:59.992695Z
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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Blending Realities

On wednesday, 22 october 08 I carried out my second public presentation of my Second Life,Wellington Railway Station. My aims for this presentation were several:

First, I wanted to create a public forum for my work. I see this as being necessary from the point of view of the performer in the description of myself as artist. Initially I considered carrying out a series of live, improvised sketches during the presentation but I abandoned this idea after realising the challenge of resolving the dual roles required. I could not adequately verblise with both audiences and move my avatar - but I am still considering this problem for future events. Although seated behind a computer, I see myself in this situation as a performer/guide, establishing a link together with my Second Life self, for the assembled audience between Real Life and Second Life. However, my stance was not one of linking the real and the virtual. My task for this presentation was to suggest to the audience that in fact we were faced with the ingredients of a blended reality. I maintained that Second Life and my station was simply another facet of the real. That virtual perception/moments occur for us on a regular basis on any given day and that this encounter with the ether-made-visible was no exception.

Second, I wanted to expose an audience to my station simulacrum with streaming RL videos. I had just succeeded in obtaining the necessary permissions on the land for this to take place and I wanted to obtain feedback on the presence of the projected Real Life videos in the Station. Was there a more even balance existing now between the two states of RL and SL, with the addition of the videos? I have been building the Station with the deliberate intention of bringing in my RL videos for the last four months. So to some extent, the Station environment now containing these videos becomes (and became on the day) a proving ground for my concepts and dance practice in the RL public eye. The Station has been viewed extensively by some people in SL over the past few months and has recieved enthusiastic responses. But until the presentation no-one had seen the videos in the Station. Ultimately, the presentation of Second Life is still so new to most people, (it is significant that those people I know locally who are in SL for any length of time become very quickly, fully immersed in the SL terrain and perceive it as a real space/time place) that the chasm between the RL video footage and the perception of the SL space as a naturally-occurring environment may be too great for an audience to bridge on the first viewing. To get back to my videos in the Station - I am very interested in their addition to the SL Station space. Energetically they have introduced a quite different kind of presence in the space. I have as yet, to decide what I want from them in the space. The mere fact of their existence in the Station is interesting but I think I am pursuing something more - I want something more from them. Whether this is a symbiotic relationship with the cutouts crowds or a contrasting relationship where the videos play an interventionist role (like we as dancers have done in the RL Station) in the space I am not yet sure.

Despite the fact that the videos are being played on two-dimensional screens, I have noticed that being based in the realm of the 'Real' with seamless three-dimensional movement at the heart of their visual construct, because they have retained this movement, this essential quality separates them significantly from the SL cutouts and screens, which although essentially similar in their original visual signature (movement-based) they have assumed a more static state energetically, based on two dimensional visual constructs. I am not sure at this stage whether I want to bring the two closer together or change their essential qualities. The videos may remain as videos projected onto screens and the cutouts may remain - as cutouts. A possibility does exist to animate the cutouts, but judging by the other animated cutouts I have seen this will create only - animated two-dimensional cutouts.

At this stage I have not manipulated the video screens very much but I do intend to explore ways in which the RL movement can be blended with the static forms/screens/cutouts in the station to create a mixed visual panorama of feeling. For me there is more evidence of 'conversations' taking place here in the juxtaposed combinations of the RL and SL compositions. There may also be 'missed conversations' in evidence. At this stage it is still quite new and I will need time to reflect upon what I am constructing. Initially I was only able to bring in one video at a time into the Station, but I have just divided the Station concourse into three areas. This means that instead of uploading just one video into the station I can upload three different videos. When any avatar walks into that particular area and activates 'media' the video uploaded into that area will begin to play for them. The video then plays on all the screens with the designated texture/image (image of myself and Fiona with her hand over my eye). The avatar can stay in that area and watch any/all of the screens by using the camera controls. As soon as the avatar walks away from that area into another area, the video selected for that area will play. I have only just put this in place so will work with it for a while and then I may change the designated areas.

Third, I wanted to explore the possibility of a dialogue occurring between the RL audience around me and the SL crowd of avatars in the Station. Both crowds had recieved the same poster advertising the event in both RL and SL. Developing a dialogue between the SL Station crowd and the RL audience. The novelty value of Second Life for those seeing it for the first time is profound, so many questions from a public audience address general SL issues and this can become a distraction from specific aspects. During my presentation a wide variety of questions came up and were discussed, eg: the benefits and inherent dangers of intensive and longterm immersion in online world/games like SL and general internet/computing for children and adults. The subject of online education modes, efest, virtual learning and its effectiveness compared to learning in established RL norms of institutionalized (and non) learning modes and other issues. We spent some time debating the question of 'reality' after I asked 'What is Real?'. This reached a serious/humorous point when the avatars in the Station accused the RL audience around me of being the ones who were 'virtual'. Of course from the point of view of the avatars/people in the Station who were sitting at computers in Portugal, Montana, Wellington, Auckland, the UK and Holland, the people surrounding me were virtual. 'Where you stand determines what you see', but also how you percieve what you see - seeing and understanding - subjective solutions to negotiating our respective realities.

Fourth, I want to investigate with this current work, the extent to which I may be able to extend the parameters of technological/media communication within the context of space/time presentation. Virtual space and time I believe, is a facet of real space and time. I wanted the two descriptions RL and SL - as one blended reality - to extend our perceptions of space and time, in front of the public and to recieve responses related to this issue.

Fifth, I have been interested (hence my internet blog) in presenting my research/practice as a developmental process to the public since I began this programme of study. I am interested in promoting discussion and critical discourse on all aspects of my work in a public arena and I saw this event as an opportunity to engage with this process. The setting for this presentation was a small gallery, Momentum, built into 'Equilibrium, Advanced Chiropractic Centre' in Church St, Nelson, NZ Aotearoa. I gratefully accepted the invitation to 'exhibit' here, there being a broadband connection and it also meant that I could move in for the day; in fact, my presentation lasted from 10am - 4pm. I data-projected the Second Life screen straight from our laptop (Mac Powerbook) onto one of the central walls. Seating for the audience/public was to either side with the addition of mats on the floor in the front. During the day I anticipated that I would have time to continue working in the Station, in between visitors. At 10am I received the first visitors and I had a constant turnover without a break until 4pm.
I had no time to record my process or the event in either RL or SL. I spent this time intensively endeavouring to balance this mixed or blended reality with questions and discussion occurring unrelentingly in both RL and SL until the last person left at 4pm. I am very grateful to Graeme Burton of the Independent Theatre in Nelson (the premises next door) for coming in and videoing the event on two occasions through the day. I will be editing the footage for this blog soon.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Paradox in Blended Realities

... Estaban got to his feet and looked straight ahead. 'Age is not the problem Senorita. The problem is you are too beautiful for my resistance.' Tahi smiled and felt her face grow hot. It was the first time anyone but her dad had called her beautiful. 'Did you not feel my admiration when you was hanging out the sheets?' He looked down at her and grinned. 'Doesn't mean you can kiss me,' she said, trying to frown. 'I'm very sad at this point. The Maori he open my heart and the memories come back. I want a woman to take them from me.' 'Why do men think sex makes problems go away?' she asked.

'Because beauty and pain they should always be together. That is duende,' said Estaban. Sitting back down he grabbed the bottle and sculled back the last tarry remnants of wine ...

Extract from 'Estaban' by Briar Grace-Smith Sept 2008

In this quote above, two disparate persons come together to share in a moment of insight into the sublime - past memory and present paradox - beauty and pain. I included this quote very kindly provided for me by Sylvie Haisman, with permission from a fellow colleague in the same course. The piece was written recently so the Duende is very much current. Duality of emotion surfaces as a veiled aspect of the dueting in the corner of the main entrance to Wellington Railway Station in these latest video posts. I say 'veiled' because I am convinced that we keep our feelings in public places for the most part, under wraps. How to express, in a commuter crowd at rush-hour, these sentiments associated with that excess of passion so driven by the Duende? My belief, and I have said this in earlier posts, is that it is possible to feel these emotions and possess these insights without giving way necessarily, to an outward show of that internal turmoil. People do it all around us, all the time. I maintain that far from the Duende dwelling only in that rarefied atmosphere of traditional Spanish narrative, whether it be realized in dance or text, the essence of the Duende surfaces in the events of the everyday. The mundanity of the everyday conceals a multiplicity of moments which for each of us, at any given time or place, can be elevated beyond the routine. I am interested in expressing traits of the Duende evident through the poignancy in our apparent inability to stay close and present with another person or place - in the everyday. Emergence of this condition is there to be recognized on a daily basis, because we ourselves, are inevitably located in the everyday.

I have consistently aired the intention to work with almost, discarded moments of feeling and recognition - we churlishly throw away our sensing of inexplicable perception slips occurring out of the corner of our eye - events witnessed in passing as we hurry on our way to the next engagement - which hopefully, will be clear and unambiguous. So my dance deals with ambiguity and paradox, with back-eddies and corners near to, yet almost invisible from the mainstream of movement in this Station space. (image above, the SL Entrance corner which figures in the RL dance videos below. There is a mixed-reality reversal here. I could have referred first, to the Real Life corner. Which is real? ... paradox in blended realities).

I like corners. They both create and define that duality for me, offering up an irony existing in a constrained space which is both a haven and a trap - an enclave which provides a sheltered view - outward. So there is a circling within a contained fractal space, a fraction of the wider environment - a point of purchase in the stream of humanity. This is how I see where we are dancing and like a tidbit of unusual flotsam found at the tideline, we are stumbled into by the people hurrying on the edge of the crowd. You can see the doubletake. The unspoken question, the '... what the ...?' From a corner one can make forays out, into the flood and be tossed back again. Commuter detritus?

I have made work in my last sessions in the real life Station which are careful interventionist expeditions, breaking out and away from these corners. These studies will figure in my next post. For the moment, these two video studies below, 'Cutouts' and 'Leaving and the little death' are firmly located in the corner of the entrance.

In 'Cutouts' I have returned to pursuing black and white as a basis for creating quiet, understated micro-dramas, easily missed. Can the Duende exist here? I have asked this question above and in earlier posts. I am honestly not sure but I think, yes! Rather than define the Duende through obvious expressions of passion in our movement I have tried to tone this down in the dance itself although keeping a semblance of propriety emotion, while introducing a certain tension at the editing stage. 'Cutouts' is introduced through the flow of commuters at the entrance, resembling, with their white outlines, moving cutouts which I have been creating in my SL Station. I have used the 'extract' filter in Final Cut to create this ambiguity in the people and background. I have kept initially, the saturation of colour largely intact to denote that sense of normality in the main crowd flow (as distinct from our corner which is unashamedly black and white). This disappears, when the crowd quickly becomes black and white too - perception viewed from our dancing perspective - looking outward while inwardly preoccupied with the intimacy of the moment. Fiona and Sylvie are engaged here in a conversation which is laced with a certain tension in their improvisation coming from a connection which is not quite mutual. Sylvie seems to have a hidden agenda. We are never quite clear as to what exactly this may be. This is what I am looking for. Ambiguity. Sylvie appears to be playing with Fiona, (there is a sense of a desire to control Fiona) while Fiona simply seems to want to attain and maintain a connection. Small tensions. I think this is enhanced by the lack of distracting colour. The footage is grainier and I think the conversation is grittier for it.

I have used sound devised by Craig Agnew (Nelson musician/composer/lecturer at NMIT) here. We have been experimenting with abstract and minor key riffs to introduce into the work. I wanted another layer of sound over and above the Station sounds, to imply an extra voice in the conversation of the duet. I explored several choices before settling on this sound addtion.

In 'Leaving and the little death' I have kept the use of the Pleasantville effect to reduce the saturation of colour selectively and I have layered in myself rolling in the middle of the crowd flow, as a third party to the dialogue of movement expressed by Fiona and Sylvie. Am I 'the little death' here? Perhaps. I wanted to suggest that sense of a minor chord in the duet. A falling away into an unknown place. Here I have brought in another sample of Craig Agnew`s sounds which is localised around my movement.

I think that both of these studies are working more successfully as micro-dramas with the combination of close-up intimacy and contrast/desaturated colour. There is a sense of a story unfolding about perhaps something which is to be lost. A falling down.

*I have added these Second Life Station images as a current update on the commuter crowd in the Station. I am planning now on manipulating these images in such a way as to explore more sense of disquiet in the space. I will post the developments as they emerge. At this point in my thinking, I am beginning to explore the idea of using Second Life cutouts enlarged to real life human proportions and mounting these in the real life Station.






Paradox in Blended Realities - Leaving and the little death

video

Paradox in Blended Realities - Cutouts

video