Intro to Networked Collaboration

SL Art Performance – Brooklyn is Watching

Last night, I participated in my first SL Art performance.  Josephine recorded the performance so it can be shown in an art space in Brooklyn at some time.  We were able to meet as a group in SL to practice beforehand.  It took a little effort to master the usage of the animations, but I must say that it was much easier than I originally anticipated.  I think in SL it is easy to be turned off or intimidated by the “foreignness” of the experience.  But once you jump in and open up yourself to the experience, I found that it is rewarding because you see what is possible in SL that is not in the real world and you can make meaningful connections with other people.

Interacting with my classmates as well as members of the grad class that I had not interacted with at all was definitely interesting.  It is interesting because there are some users that had voice activated and many that did not.  I enjoyed having the freedom to speak or to type as it further enriched the experience and felt that voice does allow a stronger personal connection.  I think that is probably because when you are listening you can sense emotions better that could be related to humor, shyness, or confidence.  During the actual event, there was no speaking and we did not focus on the musical aspect of the performance.

Motion and the visual were the most importance aspects of the performance.  The interplay of our avatars on screen made interesting patterns and the climax involved many additions to our bodies in the form of geometric conical structures or arches that exaggerated our motions in the virtual space.  Even without any major audio, there was a definite rhythm to the performance.  It helped that there was a leader (in this case Josephine) that could coordinate our actions within some general guidelines.  If it was totally free form, I think it would be too chaotic and more difficult to appreciate as a performance.  There was definite freedom to move through the space positioning your avatar next to above and below others doing dance moves that would be very difficult or impossible in real life (at least for me!).  As programs get more sophisticated and you get more skilled at controlling your avatar, I can foresee that you could really “freestyle” and present an intricate and unique dance performance.  In fact there must be some users of SL that already do this.

Overall, I think it would be interesting to hear comments from the viewers in the real world of the event.  Of what they took away from it.  On a minor technical note, I was unable to “fall asleep” at the end of performance as was planned due to a glitch in SL.  I think that this then also becomes part of the overall experience and the performance.  I’ll post some snapshots from our practice stage when I get a chance later!

SL Group Practice before actual performance

SL Group Practice before actual performance

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December 12, 2008 - Posted by | collaboration, culture, events, remix, social networking, virtual worlds

2 Comments »

  1. The event was great. It took some getting used to to practice, but now I am glad I have those gestures in my inventory, so I can try them out again in SL. Especially, backflip, and jelly_start! It definitely was fun to go out there and I even had a chance to talk to someone I know in the group. I recorded a movie of us at the event, which I never would have known how to do a few weeks ago. Although, I am not so sure our conversation is private because it is scrolling in the chat window. That is really different from being in a dance club. We really wouldn’t have been able to have a private conversation on that dance floor because we could hear everybody all talking at the same time, and we resorted to text chat to keep it down. So, it is different from being in a club. It was a great experience. These events are fun and we learn things. It is a very different from the kinds of conversations you do hear in SL when you’re in more public spaces.

    Comment by brettbarndt | December 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. I especially liked that there were some grad students there. I thought it was great to chat with them about there experienced, and what they’ve continued on since the course.

    It was my first time experiencing a group even in SL and I loved the fact that those of us with micriphones could speak hear everything happening in the room. And as Josephine explained after I noticed that the sound would alter depending on where my character would face was facinating. Another detail to make that virtual world closer to how we interact in real life.

    It took some time to master the dance moves, which is why it was great we met first. I think we really needed that time. I would suggest mandatory course meetings on SL earlier on in the year, or maybe having more of them to insure students can make it. Speaking in real time with our classmats brought me closer to the course. Of course it was great to meet with Brett for our earlier project, and it was nice “running into” him at the networked event, however having the other students there was real great as well.

    What especially caught my eye about this even over the previous ones was the connection with a live space in Brooklyn. On one hand I wonder what customers in a Cafe care about a bunch of newbie collab students’ avatars convulsing around with giant purple beams attached to their noses, but I also admire the ability to link virtual events with physical space. This aspect will keep me in Second Life, when otherwise I personally have not found other interests in the virtual world.

    Comment by kelboa | December 17, 2008 | Reply


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