Archive for November, 2008

26
Nov
08

Becoming Dragon, Dec 1-17th, calendar of events and poster

Becoming Dragon – a 365 hour immersive performance in Second Life
December 1-17th
Opening December 1st, 7-9pm
Daily Hours, 11am-7pm

Where: The Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA),
Atkinson Hall, Visiting Artist Lab #1613, UCSD, and in Second Life at
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Seventh%20Eye/186/12/35

Contact: Micha Cárdenas, mcardenas A+ ucsd (d()t) edu
or IM Azdel Slade in Second Life

Calendar of Events throughout the performance, all times are SLT, Second Life Time, which corresponds to Pacific Standard Time. You can attend and participate in all of these events here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Seventh%20Eye/186/12/35

Dec 3rd, 3pm,
Voice Chat with Sandy Stone
“Gender and Desire in Virtual Worlds”
http://sandystone.com

Dec 5th, 5pm
“Something is Happening”
UCSD Symposium on Performance and Affect
http://visarts.ucsd.edu

Dec 8th, 6pm
Voice Chat with Stelarc
“The Body in Transmission/Transition: Learning to Live in Mixed Realities”
also streamed in Tijuana live at Lui Velazquez
http://www.stelarc.va.com.au
http://luivelazquez.com

Dec 10th, 2pm
Voice Chat with Brian Holmes and Rubaiyat Shatner
“Imagining New Worlds, Biopolitics and Self-Governance in SL”
http://arsvirtua.com
http://brianholmes.wordpress.com/

Becoming Dragon is a mixed reality, durational performance in Second
Life, in CRCA’s Visiting Artist Lab #1613 of the Atkinson Hall building,
on the UC San Diego campus. The opening begins at 7pm on December 1st,
2008 and the performance will run for 365 hours. The performance is
Micha Cárdenas’ final MFA project.

Becoming Dragon questions the one year requirement of Real Life
Experience that transgender people must fulfill in order to receive
Gender Confirmation Surgery (Sexual Reassignment Surgery), and asks if
this could be replaced by one year of Second Life Experience to lead to
Species Reassignment Surgery. For the performance, Micha Cárdenas will
live for 365 hours immersed in Second Life with a head mounted display,
so that all she will see is Second Life, and a motion capture system to
map her movements into Second Life. The performance space will be open
to the public for the duration, during the hours that the building is
open, 9am to 7pm. During the entire duration of the performance Micha
will stay in the performance space at CRCA and in Second Life.

Becoming Dragon is receiving support from the Center for Research in
Computing and the Arts, CalIT2, University of California Institute for
Research in the Arts, Ars Virtua, the gallery@calit2, the b.a.n.g. lab
and the Embodied Cognition Lab of the cognitive Science Department.

See the performance in Second Life here:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Seventh%20Eye/186/12/35

Read Micha’s live blogging from Second Life during the performance at:
https://secondloop.wordpress.com

[New to Second Life? Here’s a link to a ‘Getting Started in Second Life’ article on the virtual world’s website: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Help:Getting_started_in_Second_Life.]

Hours and Location:
CRCA, Atkinson Hall, Room 1613
Hours: 11am-7pm, Opening Dec. 1, 2008, 7pm,
Continuing for 365 hours, roughly 3 weeks

First Floor, Atkinson Hall
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
Map & Directions: http://atkinsonhall.calit2.net/directions/

Read more at:
https://secondloop.wordpress.com
http://sharingissexy.org/wiki/Becoming_Dragon
http://bang.calit2.net/tts/category/becomingdragon/
http://flickr.com/photos/azdelslade
http://flickr.com/photos/lotu5/sets/72157606067246259/
http://delicious.com/lotu5/becomingdragon

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21
Nov
08

New Photos from Calit2 of First Day Trial Run

Thanks Tiffany and Calit2!

Entire Set Here.


20
Nov
08

First day long trial run

Today was the first all day trial run for Becoming Dragon. I spent my longest time immersed in Second Life with the Head Mounted Display yet, 10 1/2 hours. The full motion capture is not ready yet, but the head tracking works, so I am able to use the first person view and look around spaces in Second Life by moving my head and turning my body. For a first day long test, it went remarkably well. I spent a fair amount of time in the performance space, the model of the actual room I’m in. When I was eating dinner, Rubaiyat Shatner came to the door and said “knock, knock”, which was funny. I had IM’ed him about chatting about the number of prims we can have in our space, because we’re currently full. Ars Virtua granted us land.

I stopped by the Isle of Wyrm today to tell some of the other dragons about my performance. I went into the Cathedral and there was an elder dragon there. Wanting to tell some of the creators, I asked this gold and black dragon why they were considered elder, and they said it is because they are a co-founder of the Isle of Wyrm, and co-creator of the dragon avatar! I was so happy, and told him about the performance and gave him the press release. I also used group chat, and got lots of really supportive (and snarky) comments. They gave me contacts at Reuters and at Linden Labs to IM in world about the performance. One person said I should be ready for crashes and that I’ll get very intimate with the login screen. We talked a bit about my performance and the dragons started heatedly discussing “lifestyle drug” prices, and then SL crashed.

Unfortunately, they’re right. I had lots and lots of crashes today. Even blue screens. I’m hoping to resolve those before we add even more complexity to the setup.

Still, after 10 hours, my forehead is a bit sore, but that’s all. (which reminds me that I need to check the emf reading…) I expect that once we get stereoscopic mode working, it’ll be much harder, but maybe its a blessing that its not. During bathroom breaks, walking around, I did feel a bit queasy in my stomach and a bit like my vision was weird. But I mostly feel a sense of directness, a kind of immediacy, like my body is on alert and I’m just acting instantly. I’m sure that once I’m done writing this and take the HMD off, I’ll have more to say about how I feel.

This afternoon the calit2 photographer and blog writer came by. She had lots of interesting, deep questions, like why I want to transition, and at that moment I was happy to have this mediation of an HMD in front of my face, which made answering a bit easier.We talked about a lot of issues, but importantly about the poems I’ll be performing, and the way that hormones affect our mental processes and decisions and trouble the notion of a clearly defined subject or author or artist.

Ben Lotan came by to do some video documentation, and I talked a bit with him about how one of my qualms with this piece is that the technology, being only for one person, might be read as reinforcing the notion of the artist as individual, heroic, creative, unique, which I reject and want to avoid. I’ve done so much collective work, this is one of my first individual pieces in my MFA, and I strongly favor the tradition of kaprow and beuys and lygia clark, that of empowering the viewer and everyone to see themselves as an artist. Still, I thought after Ben left that my performance troubles tries to trouble the notion of a subject so much, that if the artist as individual does seem to exist, that artist is also in transition and transmission, multiple, shifting, changing before the eyes of the audience.

There are still so many parts to work on. Anna, who’s working on modeling, came by late and we talked about the status of the modeling. Elle, a friend who’s going to help with photo documentation stopped by also. Ricardo even came by to take a look before he goes to Transfer Actions in LA, and was very encouraging, talking about how the space is transforming into the inside of a dragon, and noticing the mature rating.

I’m starting to get collaborative events lined up, and will be announcing those soon, which I’m excited about. If you have comments and questions and thoughts, leave a comment here please!

At the end of this long day, a few thoughts stay with me. One is the way in which this performance moves me into a liminal space. By using this HMD for an extended period, I am shifting my body and mind outside of everyday experience, like a drug induced state, but caused by the closeness of the display and the duration. I think something really important about performance is the ability to find limts and push on them, and I’m glad that I’ve found this simple gesture, of long term immersion, that can show me something new. Another thought is the way that users of immersive virtual reality technologies, such as the HMD I’m using, report the experience of time loss. When I look outside, I can’t believe its nighttime. The day really did slip by. I thought I’d be much more productive, much more bored, but really, there is a sense of timelessness as you stare at the bright screens hovering before your eyes. I tried to be aware of that and set SL to nighttime once it was night, but I think I need to open the shades more for my next trial run.

At the end of the day, I am tired. I decided to spend some time in “happy land”, and thats what’s in the photo above. I’m not sure the name of the land or of the artist, but I’ll post it here once I do. Comment if you do know… It was a very pleasant way to end the night…

posted by Azdel Slade on Seventh Eye using a blogHUD : [blogHUD permalink]

18
Nov
08

PRESS RELEASE: Becoming Dragon, a mixed reality, durational performance in Second Life, opens December 1st

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Becoming Dragon, a mixed reality, durational performance in Second Life, opens December 1st

What: Performance in Second Life and at CRCA on the UCSD Campus
When: Beginning December 1st, 7pm, running for 365 hours, viewing hours, 11AM-7PM
Where: The Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA), Atkinson Hall, Visiting Artist Lab #1613, UCSD, and in Second Life at
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Seventh%20Eye/186/12/35
Contact: Micha Cárdenas, mcardenas A+ ucsd (d0T} edu


Becoming Dragon is a mixed reality, durational performance in Second Life, in CRCA’s Visiting Artist Lab #1613 of the Atkinson Hall building, on the UC San Diego campus. The opening begins at 7pm on December 1st, 2008 and the performance will run for 365 hours. The performance is Micha Cárdenas’ final MFA project.

Becoming Dragon questions the one year requirement of Real Life Experience that transgender people must fulfill in order to receive Gender Confirmation Surgery (Sexual Reassignment Surgery), and asks if this could be replaced by one year of Second Life Experience to lead to Species Reassignment Surgery. For the performance, Micha Cárdenas will live for 365 hours immersed in Second Life with a head mounted display, so that all she will see is Second Life and a motion capture system to map her movements into Second Life. The performance space will be open to the public for the duration, during the hours that the building is open, 9am to 7pm. During the entire duration of the performance Micha will stay in the performance space at CRCA and in Second Life.

Second Life is an online 3D virtual world, where users can create their own avatars in whatever form they like. It is not a goal oriented game, so its users refer to it as a metaverse or a MUVE, Multi User Virtual Environment. There are over 15 million registered users of Second Life. More information is available at http://secondlife.com

The Free Software/Open Source licensing of Second Life also provides a code base for modification, and a number of modifications have been made for Becoming Dragon. Kael Greco has patched the Second Life client to include an updated version of the stereoscopic code from the University of Michigan. For the duration of the performance, Micha Cárdenas will wear a Head Mounted Display (HMD) with stereoscopic display to simulate an actual 3 dimensional experience of Second Life by displaying a different image in each eye.

To further explore becoming as an embodied process and Second Life as a Mixed Reality Performance, Christopher Head has added code to the Second Life viewer to read live motion capture data from the Vicon motion capture system in the performance space. This code, along with scripts in Second Life allow the avatar’s movements to correspond to Micha Cárdenas’ movements. In Second Life, the performance will take place in a to-scale model of the actual performance space, to allow the performer to navigate that space over the duration of the performance.

A number of other modes of Mixed Reality will be included in the performance, including a live video feed from the lab into Second Life and 3D printouts of Second Life objects in the actual performance space. The performance space will also include an HD stereo projection of Second Life which visitors can see and interact with.

The project seeks to explore the shift from subjectivity to becoming, to examine the subject in transition, as opposed to a clearly defined identity. The choice of a dragon for an avatar is related to the history of dragons as magical creatures, able to shapeshift into different forms and teleport through space, well suited to Second Life. Dragons are also part of the large community of non-anthropomorphic avatars in Second Life, which are not easily limited to either male or female binary gender categories. The project seeks to explore the possibility for using mixed reality environments to construct new genders outside of the limitations of the male/female spectrum.

The performance is one stage of an ongoing investigation of the transformative potential of technology, inspired by artists such as Orlan and Stelarc. During the year of research and development of this project, Micha Cárdenas has begun her real life hormone replacement therapy and has been writing poetry and prose about the experience on her blog, http://technotrannyslut.com. This writing will be included in the performance of Becoming Dragon.

Second Life is being used as a networked, mixed reality platform. The massively multi-user nature of Second Life, with over a million users, allows an exploration of online public space, becoming as a process of social feedback and the subject in transition as the subject in transmission.

Becoming Dragon is receiving support from the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, CalIT2, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, Ars Virtua, the gallery@calit2, the b.a.n.g. lab and the Embodied Cognition Lab of the cognitive Science Department.

Artist Bios

Micha Cárdenas is an MFA candidate at the University of California San Diego. Micha holds a Master’s degree in Media and Communications with distinction from the European Graduate School and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Florida International University. She is a researcher at CalIT2 and CRCA and is currently working at inSite on their video archive. Her interests include the interplay of technology, gender, sex, desire and resistance. Micha is a transgender, genderqueer media artist, theorist and trouble maker. Micha is a founding member of a number of art/activism collectives including Sharing Is Sexy, the borderlands Hacklab and the City Heights Free Skool. Micha is the performer and technical and artistic director of Becoming Dragon.

Kael Greco is an M.F.A candidate and researcher at CalIT2 at UCSD. His research focuses on space and its representation through computation; how cities, territories, landforms are processed and understood as datasets. Kael’s work has been exhibited across the country, from gallery shows in NYC (most recently at Apex Art) to technology conferences in Southern CA (a featured exhibitor in the 2007 O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference). His work has also been seen in publications such as Engadget and Glowlab. Kael Greco holds Bachelor Degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics and Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kael has ported the stereoscopic code for Becoming Dragon.

Christopher Head is a software artist and MFA student at the University of California San Diego. Much of his work focuses on the intersection of software design and art practice to produce projects that take a variety of forms including computer visualization, simulation, games, and hardware hacking. Christopher received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Jose State University while working in the CADRE Laboratory for New Media. While at SJSU he also participated in the ISEA2006/ZeroOne festival as part of the Montalvo Arts Center visiting artist residency with Antoni Muntadas as well as a series of exhibitions and shows within the SJSU Art Department. Christopher has written the motion capture code for Becoming Dragon.

Benjamin Lotan received his BS in cognitive science from the University of California at San Diego in 2008 specializing in Human Computer Interaction. His past research has been supported by Calit2, CRCA, and the Embodied Cognition Lab. He now works as an interaction designer and documentary filmmaker in San Diego. Benjamin is working on documentation for Becoming Dragon.

Anna Storelli is an Undergraduate in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California San Diego. She studies a broad spectrum from computer technology to film and video to traditional studio art, while exploring the intermixing of traditional mediums with digital media. She worked as a graphic artist for an interactive flash-based website, Earthguide.ucsd.edu, in partnership with Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Now she does production work for Warner Brothers Entertainment Co., DC Comics, assisting all aspects of pre-press preparation for the Wildstorm/CMX comic lines. She plans to finish her degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts by 2010. Anna is working on 3D modeling and 3D printing for Becoming Dragon.

See the performance in Second Life here:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Seventh%20Eye/186/12/35

Read Micha’s live blogging from Second Life during the performance at:
https://secondloop.wordpress.com

Hours and Location:
CRCA, Atkinson Hall, Room 1613
Hours: 11am-7pm, Opening Dec. 1, 2008, 7pm,
Continuing for 365 hours, roughly 3 weeks

First Floor, Atkinson Hall
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
Map & Directions: http://atkinsonhall.calit2.net/directions/

Read more at:
https://secondloop.wordpress.com
http://sharingissexy.org/wiki/Becoming_Dragon
http://technotrannyslut.com/category/becomingdragon/
http://flickr.com/photos/azdelslade

http://flickr.com/photos/lotu5/sets/72157606067246259/

http://delicious.com/lotu5/becomingdragon

#

15
Nov
08

yay, becoming dragon group photo!


Here’s me and all my collaborators on the Becoming Dragon performance. We’re doing these photos for a local weekly publication.
posted by Azdel Slade on Seventh Eye using a blogHUD : [blogHUD permalink]




links

Visit the performance space in SL

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