Hypertext '08: Dene Crigar, Hyperlinking in 3D Multimedia Performances

Dene joined us remotely from her lab in Vancouver, demonstrating multimedia works that are performed through hyperlinks triggered by a performer’s actions in a 3D space.  The demonstration is intended to challenge the notions of a hyperlink as a silent component of a 2D work.

First demonstration — Virtual DJ.  

Spinning circles of light seem to track the performer as she moves a motion-tracking controller in 3D space.  Four cameras track down on a 9x9x9 space; we saw 8 maps of “Level 1,” the music and lights are located in different directions, so one has to remember where each zone is.  She carries a small container that emits an infrared light, picked up by the cameras.  Space divided into a 3D grid, with different media objects programmed into the grid.  A PC reads the performer’s location in space, talks to a Mac which runs sound and visual elements. Software: “Reason”

Things of Day and Dream, corporeal poetry.

Software: “Ableton” (it sounded like that… unfamiliar to me)  Recorded a poem, divided it up into chunks… video clips keyed with the text in 13 zones.  Each chunk of spoken word invokes a different chunk of video, with music playing throughout.  Text, video, and music all embedded in 13 different zones.  Very short — just a minute and 5 seconds.  Grid divided into 2 regions, 10 different phrases on the “dream” side, and 2 with “awake,” and in the middle is a liminal zone.  [Question… what does live interaction add to the performance? Watching someone else — a specialist — interact with a 3D space is one kind of experience…]

Rhapsody Room. 

Spaces trigger individual words, also keying changes in the sound track and lighting. “Jolt,” “sky,” “final”.   Pronouns high, in the middle were the modifiers, and on the ground were the verbs.  Intersting experience.

[The complexity of navigating through the 3D menus reminds me of the frustrating experience of navigating multiple 90 degree turns through nested Windows menus.  It takes a precision that seems mechanical and robotic… how often does the system poll the location of the controller? How does that affect the nature of the experience?]

The whole studio setup reminds me — just slightly — of the “mood room” in Anthony Clarvoe’s PICK UP AX.  Lab set up with a collaborator in Canada… very little lag time.  There’s too much lag to create classical music.

Question from Mark Marino: how do new users interact with the system?

Dene says it takes people about 20 seconds of moving the controller up and down, but within 30 seconds people start moving around.  People who are comfortable with their bodies and uninhibited are all over the place, but people who are more reserved are more timid with the controller.   Designed to be portable and friendly to new users.

Rather than a mouse running across a desk, the mouse is a tracker, the surface is air, and a hyperlink is an invisible point in 3D space.  [I guess her controller doesn’t have a clicker, so it’s all activated by “hover”.]

Invoked Jeff Parker’s “A Poetics of the Link.” 

Patterns, repetition, cycles… a physical instantiation of the interaction of cameras, trackers, light, computers, along with the human performer’s body, brought to fruition by the hyperlinks.  Disorienting, but not silent gaps.  We tend to think of hypertext disjoined spaces, but Dene sees them as potentially contiguous.

Dene — “event link” — multidimensional event space. Invoked Aarseth’s notion of time in ergotic works. Time in the tale, time of the telling, and the event time.  DIalectic between aporia (gaps) and epiphany (insight).  Dene sees her work as lacking gaps.

3D perforamce works are about signification and mapping… performer finds her own sense of order. Transition, relay, and movement. Emphasizes the performer inside the system. Human, corporeal contribution to the work of art.  Add, along to the perception of reading along multiple paths, also the mutiple paths of performance, multiple ways of the human performer interacting with the work.

“Corporeal Poetics.”

The controller has no “click” function, so all the 3D ineractions is “hover.”

Diana Slattery, “Glide” – build a visual language and gesturing, hand gestures.

Kate Pullinger and mouse-over.  “Breathing Wall” — breathing into an apparatus to move the story along with the breath.

Mark B. asked how this counts as literature — is it scored?  Virtual DJ isn’t written down, Rhapsody Room is open enough that anyone can innovate, but Day and Dream takes practice to perform.

The notion of ephemeral beauty is part of the allure of this kind of work… “Do I really care” whether it’s possible to capture it?

The space can handle four different trackers, each triggering different actions in the various spaces.

The demos we saw were all based on the tracker’s location in 3D space.

In The Mindful Play Environment, it is possible to use trajectory, speed, proximity of trackers to each other…  Dene’s website has a video of that work in progress for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.