Tilt World’s 2nd Iteration

Drawing Glitter
KJ, Tara & Keith

My final “Tilt Brush” iteration this semester was an installation/performance during ACCAD’s open house on April 5th in the Motion Lab. The audience/participants entered a circle of projection screens where cardboard boxes, feather boas, pool noodles, and random small balls littered the space. Tasks were written on cards around the space for the audience to complete such as, “Build a castle.” Two performers were also in the space, one acted as safety and instigator of movement (KJ Dye), while the other (myself) was immersed in VR. As the performance transpired, painted traces of the immersed’s VR experience was projected throughout the space.

I wore the VR headset in the black void of Google’s Tilt Brush and except for running into the occasional cardboard box obstacle or feather boa adornment I was in my own world, a world absent from that of the audience-participants. People came in, sat on blankets or “played” in the space while KJ and I completed our score.

The technology stopped working at the beginning. A tower had been created out of cardboard boxes and was possibly obstructing the view of one of the cameras making it difficult for us to complete part of the score that began on the floor. The house I was to build, the tracing of bodies and the reflection of looking at the house from a transported place had to be skipped over. We completed this iteration with the standing portion of the score.

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KJ crawling through a box and Tara wearing a boa. Keith is a spectator.

Documentation was also on the fritz, schedules had been mixed up and although Oded filmed the event, his video was corrupted. Technology often breaks or doesn’t work at moments when I am around. However, even though it didn’t work perfectly, I’m not sure it mattered. From my perspective, my world was cutting out, but from everyone else’s perspective (from what I have gathered so far from people’s explanations of what happened) they didn’t notice. It was swirling, surrounding colors in a space where the audience became performers. They watched me navigate blindly through a messy environment with KJ keeping me safe and directing my movement in alternate routes.

There was a push and pull to KJ and my relationship. Do I allow her to draw for me or do I draw residually? When she stops me, do I let her? Ideas of permission and control came up for me, perhaps, in part, because I wasn’t able to see her. One of the most unexpected things was that I have no memory of what the audience was doing while I was in VR. When performing without a VR headset, I could remember who came to see the event and what they did. But here, I only remember the brief time I took the headset off and hugged my babies because it wasn’t working. That moment is particularly magical for me because it is the only moment I knew what the space looked like and when I took my headset off the first thing I saw were my two girls.

Reflecting back to the beginning of this project, I was planning on short iterations of three different projects. The other two fell away as I became enamored with objects in space and the theory of absence/presence introduced in Dr. Nadine George-Graves Performing Bodies. In Leder’s “The Absent Body” the idea of yourself as nullpoint played right into the idea of yourself in VR. Sensation at the forefront, other theorists exploring perception (Merleau-Ponty), subjection, and the “zero point of orientation” (Husserl) informed my interest in these two worlds.

Finally the use of task to empower the participant in a way that the performer is empowered. Through Freire’s ideas of liberation pedagogy and praxis, I found a connection between Freire’s definition of praxis and what is happening in participant environments. Freire’s definition of praxis, “reflection and action upon the world to transform it,” can be applied to these environments. I was transformed. KJ protected me and the audience’s world left traces that were beautiful, creative and a reminder that they were there too, even though I didn’t see them.

Click here or here to view two of 12 traces created during the semester of rehearsals I had inside of Google’s Tilt Brush. During these rehearsals, I was researching how to create an improvisational score that I would paint live.  These are traces 11 and 10. (These links are best viewed and interacted with on a touch screen, like your phone or tablet, you can swipe around to see different angles and zoom in and out. They will only work on computers with enough computing power.)

Aboutness

The “aboutness” is important right now. What is your experience about? What is your research about? What about you is unique, similiar or contrary? What are you about?

I’m currently about discovery. It’s difficult to look at yourself. Display yourself. Find yourself the article of your attention, but that is what they are asking us to do right now. What do you want. What is your want most about. What is the aboutness of your wants. Don’t commit to things you should do. Only do your wants. You be you. I like to proscribe to this but you do sometimes have to do things you don’t want to do.

Update: Aboutness is defined in the Oxford Living Dictionary as “The quality or fact of relating to or being about something.” I thought it was a made up word. I was convinced that if you just add “ness” to the end of word, it meant you were in grad school. Coolness.

Stating your Research

Research Statements are no joke. So hard. How do you whittle down your interests into one specific thing that is the essence of your interests. What are my interests? That has been the point of the last two weeks here. I’m interested in everything I’m doing right now. I feel as though I have been in a vacuum and someone just let me out and I have entered a world where everything is slightly different with smells and feelings that I remember but it all looks different. I am so grateful of my new back to school lenses.

Lenses are so interesting. Rose colored glasses. I might be most interested in red colored glasses. Getting back on track, the minute you look at something from a different lens it is all different. There are academic lenses, marketing lenses, and research lenses. I knew this before, but somehow my current lens makes everything seem so important and interesting. I’m sure there are more lenses but I think I’ve said lenses enough in this paragraph.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate Felecia Marshall’s beautiful painting I borrowed here titled “Rose Colored Glasses.” Click here to buy it.