Saturday, 7 November 2009

Duet for Five - In the Company of Strangers

Duet for Five

These images are taken from my latest dance and video work with Fiona Baker in First Life and Todd Cochrane aka Toddles Lightworker in Second Life, representing a further development in exploring the issue of Avatar Companionship and the embedding of our presence in the surfaces of our lives. The title 'Duet' suggests a dance form usually identified with two people, yet with the composite layering of First and Second Life, a movement dialogue exists here for Five; relational engagement between humans and avatars as well as that discrete conversation occurring between human to human and avatar to avatar. I intentionally selected a 'male' avatar to embed ambiguity in the shape and character of the personna present, rather than have an equal and predictable male/female avatar echo. This shift in gender reflects the potential for exercising the unpredictable nature of gender selection in Second Life. The male avatar could easily belong to my wife, Fiona. Unless you know the person behind the avatar, there is no way of knowing their First Life identity.

Once again, departure is experienced in both locations. The difference between these locations is that I orchestrated Toddles Lightworker`s process of departure, unlike the leaving in the duet in the First Life station, which was improvised. So avatars represent that potential constant (if so desired) for us in extra-terrestrial or telepresent companionship, which suggests that (allowing for the vagueries of the Internet) empathy, alignment, connection and even discord can be tailored in a mixed-reality environment, where we never have to be 'alone' for long.

Contact Improvisation Dance is by nature, an intimate, shared movement form and method of conversing somatically and I am interested in the ways this may be implied by avatar movements (which lack the capacity, as yet, to carry out shared, improvised movement) overlapping and running through one another, unfolding in ways that are similar to and in verbal communication.

This work also focusses upon juxtaposing the contrasting possibilities within movement which exist, currently, between First Life movement and Second Life animations. The impossible, horizontal floating and the somewhat grotesque movements (which can occur anomalously at any time) of Toddles Lightworker`s limbs are relevant to the description of uniqueness (and serendipity) in behaviour signatures which exists for entities in both of these different locations on our one world surface.

The Station entrance screens are deliberate points of focus in this work. I am particularly interested in the shadowed figures of the avatars moving and 'sinking' in and out of the screens while the video, 'not-hereReprise 2' is playing. Interacting with and becoming perhaps, a part of the dark spaces of interfaces.

1 comment:

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