Presented Jun 10 - Sep 10, 2019 Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, USA as part of the Art in the Loop
Summary of Project:
Public² is a mixed reality, geolocated performance at three Kansas City Streetcar stops. Choreographer Jane Gotch, in collaboration with videographer Ian Garrett, created a site-specific virtual reality dance at each stop, and a single culminating live performance. Part of Art in the Loop’s summer festival – a municipal initiative to draw people into the Kansas City downtown core.
Description of User Experience:
Audiences will be able to access the Virtual Reality components at their leisure. The videos will be available for free, anytime day or night through the duration of the Art in the Loop’s summer festival. Each of the video performances will be geospecifc, so the viewer will have to go stand at each of the three actual streetcar stops with their mobile device to watch the videos online. The potential audience might be there waiting for the streetcar, or they may come to the destination, having heard about it through Arts in the Loop publicity, specifically to view the piece. Just like they would traditionally go to a theater. The audience could view each video simply through their phones, or if they own one, through a virtual reality headset. The videos will play through use of their phone’s cellular data or by logging onto the free Google Fiber provided at the stops. Either way, the performance will present a new approach to experiencing site-specific dance performance.
In addition, Gotch will choreograph a live action performance at one of the three stops that will be presented alongside that location’s Virtual Reality video. For example the audience might arrive to the Union Station streetcar stop and be instructed to begin the performance by viewing the virtual reality video of that stop. While in real time, the dancers begin to walk towards them from the North. Upon arriving to the streetcar stop, they begin to dance as the Virtual Reality video is still playing. Thus creating a visual overlay by dancing in real time with their virtual selves. This event will create a one of a kind performance experience that fully merges the virtual and live action components of the project. This Mixed Reality dance will have one performance at the end of the festival.
Identified “Best Practices” for Mixed Reality Production:
- Choreographers should bring the technologist into the discussion around staging and have flexibility around re-orientation and adjusting timing to facilitate the experience
- When performing to an audience or a traditional camera, there is necessarily an immediate human connection between the performer and the spectator (either the live audience or the camera operator). This element is missing when performing to a 360-camera–which is not continuously operated by a human being–making it difficult to achieve the same sense of connection or intimacy within a performance.
- Performers should practice performing very close to a human spectator, as a way of getting comfortable enough to perform very close to the 360 camera.
- Performers should treat the camera as a person who can be interacted with, rather than as an object to be ignored.
- For geo-located work, creative branding should be used to tell audiences that there is a VR performance taking place, and how to access it. There was a need to mark the performance space so that pedestrians and audiences knew how to avoid or attend the performance.
Tips & Tricks:
- YouTube is a great way to access 360 content because there isn’t a 360 viewer built into phones yet.
- Have the camera operator dress/costume to be able to hide/blend into 360 shooting.
- 360 video can be a “cheap” way to capture space instead of having to build and render a model.