This innovative practice-based research examines audience experience in Virtual Reality (VR). The research draws upon audio-visuals generated live and performed to a group in VR. This study fills a gap in current research being conducted around VR, as it pushes the envelope on ways in which live performance in VR impacts an audience, and investigates the affect of live content while immersed in the virtual space. This research is being supervised by Dr. Marianne Greated (Fine Art Course Leader, GSA) and Francis McKee (Director, CCA Glasgow). VR development is being done through a sponsorship with Solar Flare, formerly Inition London. The gestural audio interface is being developed by engineer Ross Flight. Earmarked to help analyse the findings are Dr David Luke (Breaking Convention UK), Dr Beatriz Calvo-Merino (University of London) and Professor Fiona Macpherson (Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience - University of Glasgow).
The goal of this project is to evoke an altered state experience, using technology as a vehicle for immersion. This work aims to create a meditative or contemplative encounter utilising sound, frequency, light and the colour spectrum.
A key element of this project is the group aspect, which generates a shared group experience. VR group gaming is an inspiration here, while developing a new paradigm for group meditation.
This work consists of a performer and seated audience, which are networked to the performer’s VR system. The performer uses hand movements and gesture to produce and process VR visuals and sounds in real-time.
Visually, this work avoids figurative objects and instead focuses on bold colours and particle trails of light. As the performer moves throughout the space, vibrant ribbons of colour are produced and transmitted to the audience headsets. The performer will be able to envelop an audience member with colour, surrounding them with saturated light. Sounds and tones will occur in tandem with the performer’s movements and emit through a high quality audio system. The audience will essentially be sitting inside a live improvised sound installation, accompanied by mesmeric VR visuals.
There are seven scenes, each with a different palate and mood. This will be organised through the Newtonian colour spectrum - moving from Red to Orange to Yellow to Green etc.
This work sits alongside the rapidly growing interest in VR for therapeutic purposes, including VR for PTSD soldiers, Cognitive Behavioural VR therapy, exposure therapy and meditation.
A vision for this artwork is that it become a new part of organisations, schools, events and retreats that focus on meditation, altered states, breath work, psychadelics, yoga, dance or combinations of these modalities.
Live at Forthwith
Field research thus far has included audio-visual performances in a variety of international locations including: Forthwith Art, Music & Tech Festival (Winnipeg CA), Cafe OTO (London), König Otto (Berlin), Galerie Paradise (Nantes FR), Tramway Gallery (Glasgow), CCA (Glasgow).