Apr 14, 2008

About Real Virtual Games

Real Virtual Games (RVG) is a co-autored transdisciplinary project. An alternative hybrid embodied architecture for live and avatar inhabitants, RVG questions the immersive interfaces of videogames and social places (Second Life), in its deployment of handicapted (dis)embodiments. Through constructive deconstruction, we engage in interfacing situations, experimenting other applications for commercial apparatuses, altering and estranging what has became too familiar embodiments. experiencing anemerging posthumanity corporeality concerned with the subjective, collective hybrid and mutable posthuman realities within the globalized virtuality of our contemporary still Cartesian bio-information condition.

Departing from a dislocation of the virtual into the physical, and vices versa, this project is situated in the reflection about the challenges to embodiment posed by increasingly immersive interfaces, as is the massive adoption of virtual sites and bodies for RT communicative models. Through constant intertwining of dimensions of experience, RVG advances in the virtualization of physicality (space and bodies) and the embodying of virtuality, where corporeal and virtual are interconstitutive aspects of the hybrid realities created and perceived.

Parallel RT interactions are developed towards situating the performative action in associations with real-simulated virtual immersive environments. These interactions are complex, allowing multiple readings of various interfacings at play. Through a practice-based exploration of posthuman corporealities where technologies of virtuality and materiality become fully impregnated in our ways of behaving, relating and communicating, we aim towards a conscious and transforming creative familiarization with the very technologies, aware of their reductive and expansive effects to our physicality, modes of perception and reasoning capacities. RVG includes practices of appropriation of VR on-line environments and virtual beings along with physical world artifacts. Provoking momentary disorientations, these help regaining a renewed embodied awareness that includes the confluence of physical-virtual entities towards an emerging posthuman subjectivity.

The processing of bodily movements nourishes the interlinking of materials and artistic disciplines to reveal an organicity of the mediated elements. Emphasizing the deployment of choreographic process and of audio and visual representations/depictions of the spatial and temporal experience in/between realities.


Isabel Valverde (transmedia choreographer)
António Caramelo (media artist)
Jorge Gonçalves (dancer, choreographer)

Helena Figueiredo (media artist)
Inês Negrão (dancer)
Regina Mourisca (virtual dancer)
Rui Viana Pereira (sonoplast)
Xana Sobral (scenic space)

Using Mocap, we are acquiring particularly subjective and strange movement sequences, which will become movement viruses to upload to Second Life. During the hybrid physical-online (SL) performance and audience participation, the virus movements are shared amongst avatars and between these and live subjects. Constituting the work's choreographic dramaturgy, performing and interacting with the movements intervens within hybrid instanciations, spreading the virus in physical-virtual realities.

Real Virtual Games' performative environment is meant to be presented within a gallery space about 10x10 meters, or large enough to include the work apparatuses (2 computers with VR glasses and vision-based responsive system, with 2 projectors and movable soft screens) and about 50 visitors/audience members. At the same time it will happen at a Second Live scheduled location, and open to avatar audiences and participation.

The performance itself evolves in simultaneous, not always related, situations, including performers' altered and shared interfacing with live and videogame (Hidden & Dangerous) and Second Live environments and characters. Whereas one performer engages in the VR immersion through VR glasses, contacting with the other performers mainly through touch, other performers are immersed in the physical space, their movement generating sound through a responsive device, while interacting with the projected VR space and bodies. In the virtual online environment (Second Life), the virtual performer engages with the virtual site and the physical performer through its avatar. The audience members are asked to experience the multiple mediated immersions, to free associate or interconnected realities, and are invited to engage with the interface systems and characters before and after the performance, uploading to their own avatar or dowloading to their bodies the virus movements.

After a first phase of the project developed in the context of TeDance (2007), we want to mention the continuity of the disponibility of the 3D glasses by VIMMI (Visualization and Intelligent Multimodal Interfaces Group), INESC-ID/Lisbon Technical University, and the recent support offered by Lusofona University making the MovLab (Mocap Studio) available for the development of the virus movement sequences database and edition for upload into SL characters. Following, the opportunity of Residencies at CENTA and Teatro Aveirense, will enable to work other acquired and generated material( movement, bodies, images, videos, sound) and architect the piece's multimodal interaction dramaturgy .

1 VR Glasses (TeDance/VIMMI)
2 Computers (RJV team)
2 Webcams (RJV team)
2 Video Projectors (DuplaCena; CENTA)
Equipamento de Som (to be provided)
5-10 Light Projectors and mixing table (to be provided)
Isadora software (movement-sound interaction)

Support from other institutions
1. Lusófona University of the Humanities and Technologies - School of Comunication, Art and Information Technologies - MovLab (Motion Capture and 3D Animation Lab) – Logístics Support
2. Lisbon Technical University, VIMMI (Visualization and Intelligent Multimodal Interfaces Group), INESC-ID – Logistics Support - 2 pairs of 3D Glasses
3. CENTA (Center for New Artistic Tendencies) – Project Residency for implementation of interfaces and dramaturgical development
4. Teatro Aveirense - Co-production / Presentation (undergoing discussion)
5. Duplacena – Logístics Support – Technical Equipment (videoprojectors)

Project TimeLine
April (2 weeks) - Lusófona University/MovLab - Motion capture and edition of character animation
May-June (2 months) - Online Rehearsals in Second Life with Avatares
July (1 week) - CENTA - Artistic Residency for responsive environment structure and implementation
July(1 day) - CENTA - Informal work-in-progress performance
August (1 week) - Teatro Aveirense - Artistic Residency for dramaturgic construction (under discussion)
September (2 days) - Teatro Aveirense - Performance and Participatory Environment (under discussion)

Authors' Bios

Isabel Valverde is a performer, interdisciplinary choreographer and researcher originally from Portugal. Ph.D. in Dance History and Theory from U.C. Riverside, supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology/PRAXIS XXI (Portugal), her dissertation is titled “Interfacing Dance and Technology: a theoretical framework for performance in the digital domain”, (publication forthcoming by FCG/FCT). Isabel is currently pursuing her research as post-doctoral fellow of the E.U./ F.C.T., affiliated with the Institute for Humane Studies and Intelligent Sciences, the Visualization and Intelligent Multimodal InterfacesGroup (VIMMI/INESC-ID/IST/UTLisboa), and College of Social and Humanities Sciences/UNLisboa. Isabel holds a MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from the Inter-Arts Center, San Francisco State University, supported by a Fulbright/I.I.E. fellowship. Her dance studies include the Licenciatura in Dance from the FMH/UTLisboa, and diploma from the School for New Dance Development/Amsterdamse Hogeesschool vor de Kunsten, under the ERASMUS Fellowship Program. Developing experimental solo and collaborative performance work since1986, Isabel performed in Portugal, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Paris. Since 2002 she develops My Fado Dance: What Portugueseness?, a work-in-process solo using Portuguese Fado music, and RT som-video interaction. Towards a familiarization with new posthuman embodiments and human interactions as well as the continuum of actualization and virtualization, Isabel has been collaborating in participatory responsive and interactive environment projects, such as Blind Date, a participatory multimodal environment, with Y. Melanitis (Monaco Dance Forum, 2002), IN TOUCH, a mixed reality performance based on costumed made touch sensor wearables, with V. Zordan, K. Chi, V. Sundar, P. Chagas, (first prototype performed at Siggraph 2005 - Cyberfashion Show, Los Angeles), and more recently working collaboratively in works, such as Touch Terrain, with Melanitis (MDF, 2006), and BlobDance with A. Moura and J. Gonçalves.

António Caramelo is Assistant Professor at the Évora University , lives and works in Lisbon since 1997 in the field of visual arts, especially in the real time manipulation of image and sound. The last exhibitions in which he participated: “Toxic – o discurso do excesso”, Fundição de Oeiras, Oeiras, 2005; “God With Us”, Plataforma Revolver, Lisboa 2005 (como José Berenguer); “Noite na Terra”, Plataforma Revolver, Lisboa 2005, amongst many other.

Jorge Gonçalves is a computer engineer and, currently, pursues the Master of Performative Arts -Dance at the Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, Lisbon Technical University. Began his Dance education at the Balleteatro Profissional School where, in 2005, he concludes the Contemporary Dance Program. Since 2003, has been working regularly as dancer interpreter in the productions by Né Barros of the Balleteatro Company in OPorto. At the Encontros Imediatos of Alkantara 2006 Festival, created the piece “Dueto” with Ana Mira . Presently, he is teaching Contemporary Dance teacher at the Centro de Formação of Balleteatro.