The past month I have been involved in an internship at Gibson / Martelli Studio in London and got loads more hands on experience in VR art making.
It could have not worked better since I joined right in the middle of the creation of a new performance prototype and witnessed generous amounts of brain and body storming, VR environment development and I was even Motion captured!
The first task I was assigned consisted in selecting and cleaning some previous MoCap intakes and I was taught different methods to do it. This step is as fundamental for the following VR editing, as time consuming and sometimes even very complex. However, it allows to access the smallest detail of the motion intake from any preferred angle and modify it in such a variety of ways that could completely change the final movement result. The other astonishing element, is the ability of the software to guess – in case of gaps in the intake – where a body part could be by analysing the movement performed just before the gap, the relation with other body parts and the knowledge of human anatomical movement rage.
Then, I got immersed into some VR performance works where performers’ avatars were almost human-size. One of the very interesting aspect was that the avatars were not aware of my presence (of course!) and therefore they had no second thoughts on dancing through me. Initially it took some determination to convince the brain I was not being approached by a real body, but a virtual one. This led to question the commonly accepted concept of proximity between performer and spectator. Clearly VR seems to challenge it as both spectators are able to cross VR environments and avatars can move through spectators. Keeping clearly in mind the nature of a VR avatar, was key to maintain a neutral position when crossing spaces – although I am not totally sure I always managed to refrain from dodging it. After a few encounters that proximity becomes the norm and it would be interesting to find out how this aspect could contribute to a participatory performance.
The Motion Capture experience was fantastic and will definitely get more space in a dedicated post.
I loved every second of this internship not only for all the practical experience I made, but also for the generosity of Ruth and Bruno to share their knowledge and experience with me as well as the valuable and thoughts provoking conversations we had about future research developments. I am very thankful for this all.
Till the next!