Saturday, August 30, 2008

So long I've been absent

My work has been on recently as well as in Second Life in Odyssey on a five-month residency. I've been working through a New York State Council of the Arts Grant as well as a National Science Foundation computer consultancy as part of a grant concerned with codework - at West Virginia University (Center for Literary Computing and Virtual Environments Laboratory). These things have kept me away from blogging for the most part. If you go to and look at texts roughly from around pm.txt through pu.txt you'll find descriptions of the current work. -

The original description of the project reads in part as follows:

"to continue and complete work on choreography and avatar modeling, both of which feed into research, live and recorded performance, and virtual online performance. The result of the project will be the production of several DVDs from new and already assembled materials, as well as a series of live performances, continuing the work I have presented at a number of venues. Here is a rough guide:

Working with performance materials using VLF radio and avatar-to-human modeling (some already shot), I am examining the interstices of the analog/digital, flesh/grid, avatar-human. This is reverse modeling - from human through altered motion-capture to 'grid 3d modeling forms' back into human behavior/action - through imitation and mapping. I have been collaborating with Foofwa d'Imobilite in Switzerland on some of the initial materials. I will produce a series of DVDs and laptop performances out of this."

I have been lucky enough to work at West Virginia's Virtual Environments Laboratory at Morgantown, WV, for the past seven months. During this period, Foofwa d'Imobilite came down and recorded with us for a week, also with Kira Sedlock, a dancer at the school. Foofwa worked with us generating a series of new dance files - video, .bvh (see below), small and large 3d scans of bodies still and in motion. He also presented a major per- formance involving Second Life (see below) and live "avatar performance" or "avadance." All of this has been documented. The videotapes that were produced have been shown widely, at venues ranging from Millennium in New York, Yonsei (South Korea), to the Electronic Literature Organization Conference in Portland, Maine. In addition, I hae been working on an NSF grant dealing with “Codework”; this led to a major conference with the same name here in West Virginia; the videos were shown there as well. The files that were produced – what are called .bvh files, which document human behavior - have been used in a number of ways, most recently in a five-month residency in the online virtual reality world, Second Life. The Second Life setting is a major (virtual) exhibition space, Odyseey; I change the exhibition almost daily, using the material, again, that has already been culled.

The .bvh (BioVision Hierarch) files have been used in phenomenological studies present-ing untoward or extreme abstract images which behave "humanly." I'm working with the aesthetics of these studies, as well as analyzing what constitutes the appearance of intelligent behavior. The resulting files are both artworks and research studies, and a NYSCA grant has given me the opportunity to work between the two.

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