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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  June 2019

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING June 2019

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Subject:

Re: curating VR Art

From:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 22 Jun 2019 08:32:54 +0930

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VR, or any visual medium (eg: hyperrealistic painting, iMax cinema), has never interested me in terms of generating a strong (uncanny) sense of reality through immersion and/or illusion. My interest has always been in interaction and how it can render our relations, our agency and inter-agency, uncanny. This seems far more transformative of our subjective sense of self than something that is primarily ocular (as Johannes suggests). That’s why I’ve always worked with interactive environments (usually employing immersive projection) as everyone can interact in the environment at the same time, whether with other people or with the synthetic elements in the environment. It is a shared experience focused on agency rather than spectacle. That can allow a particular kind of generative ontology that challenges your sense of self.

AR is interesting for the same reason, especially where it is a shared experience (as it can be with networked Hololens units). Everyone is in the same (hybrid) environment and can perceive and interact with the same phenomenon, whether tangible or not.

Of course, you still have to work out how to make that interesting (why should people interact - what’s the point?). The technology is not interesting of itself.

best

Simon


Simon Biggs
[log in to unmask]
http://www.littlepig.org.uk
http://amazon.com/author/simonbiggs
https://www.youtube.com/user/SimonBiggsUK
http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?name=simon.biggs








> On 22 Jun 2019, at 05:17, orpheus <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> dear all
> finding this discussion interesting, allow me to respond suggesting a few things, and actually I've not seen much debate on these matters: it might be good to hear more views.
> 
> Adinda's experience of the exhibition made me a little sad, and also I felt that this kind of waiting in queues, signing up, and waiting for a turn and having to choose in fact the queue line (how do you know what to choose when there are multiple isolating VR works?), would have frustrated & alienated me.
> 
> This made we wonder why initially, when I heard about VR works returning (yes, Osmose was amongst the earlier experimental piece, I never saw it but Char told me vivid stories), I laughed them off, considered them unwieldy, insulating, isolating, ocularcentric, and antisocial. For my dance installations, naturally, unusable.
> 
> 
> I do like Simon's response, and I had exactly the same change of mind (partial); when a collaborator offered to work with the DAP-Lab ensemble on "kimosphere no. 4", in 2017, we deliberately created a poetic sonic and tactile content/architecture (also including biophysical sensorial interfaces) in a larger immersive environment (the dancers acted as ghosts and guides, it was the audience that became protagonists), and then included 4 small 3D films in the  google cardboard boxes, and one VR (VIVE) "station" on one side of the immersive environment, where those visitors who wanted to also explore our virtual forest could climb inside.  It was not interactive (multiuser method, or with avatars) as we only had one headset; but since then I have done workshops with performance artists and designers and included the VR again in an installation that was even more tactile and sensorial (we tried out the notion of "augmented virtuality" by adding organic materials and physical objects).
> 
> I have now also written about this, if anyone is interested, in the current Theatre and Performance Design issue 5, 1-2  (2019), the Bauhaus anniversary issue; and elsewhere. In my experience, the audience wandered around and there were many interactions in the space, the VR-place only one, and as audiences would stay for an hour or hour and a half, many of them wore the goggles or observed, with interest, how the immersant inside VE would act, move, behave. Some folks really seemed to like just imagining the imaginary.
> 
> I have also been inside a gallery at Moody Center for the Arts (Houston) where Momoko Seto's PLANET ∞ was exhibited:  4 swiveling chairs, 4 Rifts, and off you go inside the 7 minute world (https://vimeo.com/220965048).
> Easy set up, I think people came and went.  Problem might be the re-charging of the batteries of the wireless sets. There was no guard, so audience had to figure it all out.
> 
> In our kimosphere performance, we did have a "conductor", our VR designer Doros Polydorou had to hold the cables of the Vive set to the computer and make sure the immersant would not get entangled....
> 
> The entanglement side is sweet of course. And I gather there are some strange things one can design to make your heart stop and trick your brain. At the "Digital Materialism" workshop (Tanzhaus NRW, Düsseldorf) last month I got seasick and scared, doing a highwire tightrope act I never thought would fool me, but it did.  We were 5 groups of 6 people each, taking turns. The designers of "The Plank" were from HSD (University of Düsseldorf). It was a workshop context, so no wider audience.  I'm not sure it would be reproducible as a streaming work, as in the Tanzhaus the designers had set up the actual plank/highwire, with objects to retrieve from other rooftop side, and there were windmachines to change the temperature when the rain started..... There was also a dancer who generated purple streaks inside my VE. A bit weird, a google tiltbrush-like drawings happening around me as I'm falling off the wire.
> 
> with regards
> Johannes Birringer
> DAP-Lab, London
> 
> 
> 
> ++
> 
> [Simon schreibt]
> 
> Our research centre (Creative Computing Studio) recently hosted the production of a VR dance piece. It was commissioned by the Adelaide College of the Arts dance program and choreographed by a visiting choreographer with experience with VR (Sarah Neville) to be danced by the final year students on the dance program. The work they made was a 10 minute interactive VR piece (in Unity) for Rift. The work was presented in the foyer of the College theatre before the program of commissioned stage based works started and then during the intermission and at the end of the program. They had a number of ‘booths’ - areas around 4 x 3 metres in size, each defined by a Persian carpet on the floor and some theatre style retractable belts with metal stanchions, waist high around that. Each booth had an Oculus Rift Go setup and an assistant to help people put the headset on, take the hand controls and get started (and finish the experience as well). By this means a number of people could experience the work simultaneously and there was little queuing. Over a series of evenings a lot of people experienced the work. Seemed to work well.
> 
> Currently we are developing a dance work for Hololens. This will allow dancers and audience members, all wearing Hololens AR head units, to interact with one another and a number of computational agents visible in the AR environment. In theory it will work with any number of headsets, although in practice we only have four units so that will be our limit in the studio. The point here though is that the experience is not for a single person at one time but is multiuser and interactive between everyone and everything (people and generated agents). It is fundamentally a shared experience. I should also mention that the piece will be networked and people at remote locations, wearing Hololens and logged into the same server, will be able to join in the group improvisation. We have already undertaken experiments between Adelaide and Melbourne, with no apparent latency.
> 
> In my experience VR/AR/ER/MR work best with shared activities. It’s a matter of conceiving and developing works that function in that manner. The idea of showing up at a conference or event and queuing to have a solo experience, whilst everyone around you is looking at you doing it, seems weird - unless that’s the outcome you are seeking. You can choose to turn the user into part of the show, although possibly at their expense as most people do not enjoy being on ‘show’ like that - indeed, many people refuse to use VR when there are other people around watching. I imagine there is an innate human aversion to being the centre of attention and not being able to see those watching you.
> 
> best
> 
> Simon
> 
> 
> Simon Biggs
> [log in to unmask]
> http://www.littlepig.org.uk
> http://amazon.com/author/simonbiggs
> https://www.youtube.com/user/SimonBiggsUK
> http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?name=simon.biggs
> 
> [Hide Quoted Text]
> On 18 Jun 2019, at 00:26, adinda van 't klooster <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> dear all,
> 
> 
> Just back from VRHAM, an interesting VR art festival in Hamburg and as far as I'm aware the main one that focuses on art only. It was great to see a variety of VR artworks but it also brought up some interesting questions that might be of interest to people on this list to discuss. The curatorial problem with VR art is having to overcome the fact that it is for one person at a time, and thus likely involves some sort of queuing process. The only reason I didn't see Osmose back in 1999 in Austria was that back then the queuing system was a basic stand in line until it's your turn (several hours in that case), so it's a good things that queuing systems have progressed slightly. However, I don't think we are quite there yet in terms of optimal experience.
> 
> 
> What they did at VHRAM was create a guarded exhibition inside the main exhibition. The guarded bit was where the main twelve VR art experiences were exhibited. You could get in there via twelve IPAD's fixed to a wall inside the exhibition space. Each IPAD was connected to one of the VR artworks. There you could sign your name up to be next to experience that particular VR artwork. They had a system of allowing between 3 and 8 names on this list at a time, with new slots only becoming available once a person left that particular exhibit. Once you were next in the queue you received a text on your mobile phone telling you it was almost your turn, and again one when it was your turn to have the experience.
> 
> 
> This still caused large queues on busy days, as people would stand in front of one of the twelve IPAD's waiting until a slot became available to sign their name up for. Waiting half an hour to an hour just to sign your name up was not uncommon.  Inside the guarded exhibition space actual gallery attendants were checking whether people were turning up for their slots and calling out names in case people didn't come forward.
> 
> Issues that occurred were:
> 
>  *   the system didn't realise when one person had signed up for two different VR artworks and their slot became available at the same time, this would cause one of the two VR exhibits to be lying empty for some time whilst there was a large queue of people outside waiting.
>  *   people who didn't know about the sign in wall would innocently spend perhaps an hour looking around the rest of the exhibition which consisted of a few further VR experiences that were mostly unmanned and not all working as they should be. Once they figured out they had to sign up for the main artworks, they would then have to spend a long time queuing to wait to sign up their name and then wait further time to have the actual VR experience. As tickets were sold for afternoon and evening slots, this meant many people might have only experienced one or two of the twelve VR artworks after leaving the exhibition. They would then have to come back another day to experience more artworks.
> 
> 
> I was wondering afterwards whether it wouldn't be better to have a system where you could sign in for particular times slots and do this signing up online, well before visiting the exhibition, so that you would know which VR artworks you were going to see and you could avoid the waiting. I realise this might still bring up some issues when people don't turn up or the technology fails and the timeslots go out of sync with actual exhibition times but perhaps those could still be addressed by the people on the floor and waiting would still be less then with the current system. One might still have to limit the amount of artworks you could see in one day to allow enough people access to the works but it would be fairer on visitors who know beforehand how many artworks they were going to experience for their money.
> 
> 
> Or would it be better to simply curate this kind of exhibition through VR STEAM, for people to download and experience at home on their own headsets? As VR content creator that was certainly my personal conclusion, as the wait was mostly just frustrating, but I realise that this would exclude a lot of people and so the questions of how to curate this type of exhibition in a gallery space are still very valid.
> 
> Hopefully of interest to anyone out there. I was certainly impressed by them quality of some of the artworks once I finally got access to them!
> 
> 
> best wishes,
> 
> 
> Adinda van 't Klooster - Artist & Researcher (currently: Creative Economy Fellow at Durham University)
> 
> Mobile: + 44-(0)7412-717737
> 
> Websites:
> www.adindavantklooster.com
> www.affectformations.net
> 
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