Volumetric Performance Toolbox

Building tools for movement artists of all ethnicities, cultures and abilities to create immersive performances online.

We are creating an open-source prototype for volumetric dance performance in Mozilla Hubs. We envision this as a set of tools that allow movement artists to capture and stream their performances in real-time from their own living spaces, using minimal equipment, and viewed by a virtual audience of real people. The performance would be accessed via web browser across most devices and not limited to virtual reality headsets.

Rationale

Our starting question was: How can there be new dance creation and performance in the time of COVID? In the crisis faced by thousands of theatres and dance companies, performances have been cancelled and the creation of new work halted. With the future uncertain for large gatherings and high-contact activities, this project provides a safe alternative for creation and performance with new opportunities for positive social impact. Our work is made possible through the 2020 Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future at Eyebeam.

Goals

We envision the toolbox consisting of the following elements:

  1. Livestream volumetric capture software (currently tested using Azure Kinect)
  2. Lightweight capture hardware: Raspberry Pi and Realsense camera (in development)
  3. The Platform: Mozilla Hubs (needs to customised)
  4. Custom scene-builder, which allows artists to easily select the atmosphere, background, lighting, props and architectural assets. (to be developed)

To date we have a successful proof of concept for livestream volumetric capture of dance!

Who are we centering and why?

We are focusing on building tools for movement artists without tech experience nor access to technologist collaborators and funding for a costly creative process. We especially want to prioritize BIPOC artists, disabled artists, LGBTQ artists and artists from all marginalised communities, because performance and virtual spaces are oversaturated by white cis-gendered male creators and users. As the lead performing artist is a Black woman, the importance of being represented in virtual space as a true to physical appearance is central to the design. 

The Team

Valencia James– project lead, movement artist

Thomas Wester– collaborator, creative technologist (Glowbox)

Ben Purdy– collaborator, creative technologist (Glowbox)

Sorob Louie– collaborator, creative technologist (VirtuLabs)

Thomas Newlands– collaborator, technical artist (Glowbox)

Get Involved

We are looking for the following expertise to help us make this initiative a reality:

  • Backend developer with expertise in Mozilla Hubs and Spoke
  • WebVR artists and designers with expertise/interest in Mozilla Hubs and Spoke

Please contact Valencia James (valenciajamesprojects@gmail.com) for more information.

Produced by Eyebeam 2020

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