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 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 at the Glasgow School of Art by Dr Marianne Greated (Head of Painting & Printmaking, GSA), Dr Francis McKee (Director, CCA Glasgow) and Ronan Breslin (Dept of Simulation & Visualisation). Lead VR development is being done through a sponsorship with Solarflare Studio, formerly Inition London. The gestural audio interface is being developed by engineer Ross Flight and Vfx are being developed by VJ Chris Speed.
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 palette and mood. This will be organised through the Newtonian colour spectrum - moving from Red to Orange to Yellow to Green etc.
A vision for this artwork is that it become a new part of the artworld paradigm, as well as becoming a travelling in-residence piece at organisations, schools, events and retreats that focus on meditation, altered states, breath work, psychadelics, yoga, dance or combinations of these modalities.
Current work is being done to migrate this project to an online network, enabling the possiblity of remote performances.
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).