net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

VR – performance – residency.

Wh(o/at) arranges When. / Qu(o)i agence Quand.

I had the lucky occasion to discover VR during a residency December 4-9 2017 and January 30 – February 10 2018 in the Labo NRV, invited by Les Subsistances, Lyon.

combi2More images on flickr.
Information en français.

I had never used a VR headset and so in the first week Olivier Bienz, a student, showed and brought me into different universes as The Lab (Steam), Google Earth, VRchat, Tilt Brush as well as some he or his fellow students made himself. He also showed me Unity 3D, a game development platform, used to create VR worlds and thus we created my first VR landscape together. At the same time Célia Bonnet-Ligeon, the lab’s coordinator organised meetings for me with local organisations like UrbanLab (ERASME), Eydolon and Nucléus, who all generously showed me their expertise.
I also met the researchers of the laboNRV and students of ENSBA Lyon. We talked, tested the VR headset while carrying the wearer, putting her upside down. It was and hilarious, and energizing and inspiring for all of us and so I decided to continue to work with them.
I was impressed by how simple it was to create an illusion of a landscape in the headset by using Unity’s basic terrain and drawing tools and how that influenced my imagination. I remembered David Markson’s book Wittgenstein’s Mistress and started to write some text that I could use in between the short modules (4 – 5) of what should become a collective performance, developed in the last week of the residency.

Video trailer by Guillaume Seyller. 6.58 min.

Wh(o/at) arranges When. / Qu(o)i agence Quand. A performance by Annie Abrahams with Valentin Godard, Guillaume Seyller, Johanne Mortgat, Keywa Henri, Arthur Jamon, Laetitia Dangelade and Elisa Baron.

– a stage – a computer – a VR headset – unity + steam – a video projector + large screen – two joysticks – two sensors – a standing microphone – 50 chairs – two tables – a blindfold – sound amplification – diffuse light + a spot –

We had no repetition, only tests and trainings. I have spend two days with the students to familiarize them with the tool, and to have them explore its limits and possibilities. To discover what kind of relationship with the body and the imagination, it can produce.
We worked with and in VR, not for VR.
We explored VR space from the inside and from the outside, and discovered an in-between.

Protocol .pdf + notes and text. (in French)
How it was announced.  (in French)

Vide – ligne – paysage – couleur – éclair. Sound by Jan de Weille. (command)

This is what I formulated as a starting point for this artistic research in Oct. 2017 :
Where are we in VR space? In what is called Third Space? or in a liminal space? and is it important to know where we are?
Is the “I” still important in there, and how do we meet an other? What other ? How far are we giving up control? How far do we dissolve, get lost? Who arranges what? And what relationship to our body can we have, do we have?
Could a VR experience become like an intractive entanglement training?

“It is.”, I can answer now, as long as you search for what it is build of, how it is experienced from the inside as well as from the outside, together and with others.

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Filed under: Event, Performance, Virtual Reality, , , , , , ,

Ed Atkins – remediating?

Ed Atkins: NO-ONE IS MORE “WORK” THAN ME, 2014. Performed in 14rooms, Fondation Beyeler, Basel.
On a large unadorned flat screen a 1:1 scale 3-D head, shaved and tattooed, bids for his humanity. A real-life person is present, performing according to the directive to “bear witness to” the avatar’s eight-hour pitch at being a convincing person.

Rooms

Why am I posting this video? It was Ienke Kastelein who pointed me to it when we talked about the discussion on empathy and intimacy in networked performance in which we both participated. There is no immediate link, but I watched the video, did some research and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Why was there a performer “to bear witness” beside the screen? What did that mean?

A triple (quadruple?) presence – Atkins doing a poetic performance for 8 hours somewhere not far away, an avatar, a 3D-head delivering this performance on a bluescreen to the public and an actor, wearing a blue hood, besides the screen. The fourth presence being the computer who calculated in real-time the 3D head and the sound.

There was a large screen and a live performer, who didn’t really do anything save remediate.” said Atkins in Head Space, a conversation between Ed Atkins and Matthew De Abaitua about the intertwining of art and technology in Frieze 165.

remediate = to set straight

This made me think he needed this body to make the performance acceptable in the frame of contemporay performance practice. He needed a remediator, a corps that could attach the 3D-head. He needed to heal. The technological is not (yet) “real” enough to perform.

It also pointed exactly to what I consider to be a problem in online performance practice. We count on a suspension of disbelief in order for the performance to be. (“What tells me, it’s not prerecorded?”) Sometimes, the use of a chatwindows in online performances also functions as a kind of remediator that suspends the need to belief…
What if we stopped remediating, but started working the pixels, flaws, glitches, delays, misunderstandings … the aesthetics of behaviour – aesthetics of attention (is there a difference?).

Don’t get me wrong I like the poetry of the piece – I do like the presence of the body – it makes the whole thing a bit wry. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t see the performance, I would like to though.

Filed under: Of interest, , , , , , ,

Upcoming

  • 7-9 09 slaap video in STWST48x4 SLEEP, Stadtwerkstat, Linz.
  • * Time to relax, to think about writing a book, about continuing Entanglements Trainings and how to develop distributed intelligence, about neural networks and performance and maybe VR. .

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Annie Abrahams
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