Virtual Plays

Reflection on Virtual Reality in Theatre talk by Kiira Benzing, part of Living Systems Collaboratory.

I loved the idea of emergent tech that is about social connection, emotional and unique unexpected experiences. Overall, love that tech is about bonding people!

Purpose

Thinking deeper here, does responsibility come here too? Is bonding always good? What happens when bond is just temporary and after immersive experience participants are left in their lonely worlds? How can tech facilitate a lasting bonding between people? Perhaps immersive experiences matched with social networking tech? More on that, how can tech facilitate meaningful connections between diverse people?

The Way

I loved Kiira’s approach on failing publicly as testing new ways of creating and engaging the audience with real-time feedback.

“What if you fail publicly?” Ha!

I recently realised that feedback loops are essential for all of my projects. I feel some sort of curiosity and urgency about people’s response and it motivates me to produce the works to see the reaction and take the next step then.

It shapes my behaviour too. Instead of planning, I come up with an idea and ask various people about it. For example, I post on Instagram, write a quick blog, post on 0oo, SAME community, share with LSC. I feel it’s essential to have multiple spaces for feedback loops. 1:1 (email, chats), group (calls), 1:strangers (most social media). I wonder how would I incorporate such behaviour even more into my process?

For example, I was sketching about synergy and butterflies came out. So I described it as a social experiment and I started playing with that for real. 🙂 Then I’m thinking how this “Synergy Bubbles” approach fits SAME community too. Perhaps it would make a cool ice-breaker for strangers within the community!

Also, I’m thinking of trying a different way of writing a book and producing each chapter like a music single, and then combing all chapters into an album (a book). The plot is inspired by conversations with various people I met online. I’d like to engage random people to my process too. Hmm.

Stories

I loved Kiira’s comments on transporting people into new worlds through story. Well, that’s the purpose of arts and such a great use of human life (to engage each others in stories!)

I was curious how Kiira spoke about characters (“Are they important for the plot? What their body looks like?”). It helps to polish the story.

“How do we help audience get confidence to get into these worlds? Design for different levels and stages?” That makes me rethink spells (weird peculiar ones or doable ones) and perhaps structure a plot into different types of quests with different moods and spells. Four worlds in one!

Something else caught my attention in the talk. The gods were from traditional Greek myths. So, I’m thinking can we go beyond old stories and introduce something new? In my book, I’m thinking about introducing gods like Universe, Earth, Bacteria, Sprout… Well, pagans would say that’s nothing new though!

Tools

So now stories start on Miro. (I also use Airtable!)

Science in VR

Someone mentioned that Living Systems would suit the medium of VR so well. I agree. Imagine becoming a bacteria and the Earth, and the Universe, how does that feel?

Dream Worlds

Reflections on “Speculative Design”, talk by John Crawford, part of Living Systems Collaboratory.

My main take-away is: Trust my imagination and go explore widely and wildly! Create those worlds. Then invite others into those worlds. Ah, if I tune into Living Systems mindset, I’ll add: Create the worlds in parts and invite others to contribute to those worlds as we go!

Speculative Design

Overall, I loved the sound of Speculative Design (SD). I have to admit, sometimes the names of frameworks keep me away from exploring them, but I found SD inviting. While I play with design tools daily, I can see how design is very structural process and often it limits me, and puts me in the box (of using the frameworks). While SD sounded like a playground where ideas (and questions of course!) breed free!

“SD takes a one step further and into science fiction, it tries not to predict future but speculate it (how these ideas will develop in future?). The art of impossible, putting us into a world that we can experience together, SD is about not communicating idea but exploring a theme/constellation/possible scenarios” 

John Crawford

How inviting this is? It really triggers me to explore SD further! And I know that for me it’s easy to “communicate the idea”. So it feels like an inviting challenge to tune into a different channel and “explore constellations”! Hmm.

Artists as Inventors

Another take-away is about celebrating art! “Artists are inventors of future” – oh, this is so wild to think/feel/live in tech worlds I often hang out. I really find such a perspective liberating. My inner child is awake, thank you! Oh, also, I agree so much on John’s point that design solves problems and art is not about “solving”, it goes beyond that. My favourite comment was John’s point on “art adds a new layer to design, it’s not about solving problems, but finding new questions, deeper ways of thinking, …” I may not consider myself an artist (well, I never went to the art school!), but such definition speaks to my heart. Yes indeed! Finding new questions! Oh, how much I love such a mental gym.

What else I took from the talk, I loved the emotion and the buzz within comments section of Youtube! Q&A is a way more molding/bonding than a screenshare. More Q&As! Why not. Q&A on emergent media was cool. “We’re inventing the medium when we use the tool” – love this. Such an invitation. 

Prototyping

Oh, I just noticed I did not relfect much on Prototyping yet. So let me try. Prototyping is super easy for me. I’m a fast thinker and imagine quickly. Trusting my explorations is what I need to push myself more… Trust deep dives. While going back to prototyping, I see it as a canvas to build on, for me it starts with a chat in the woods (“imagine this!”), then a A4 paper sheet, simple sketch, I show it to someone, then I move onto WordPress (I LOVE prototyping with websites because it allows me to add on and add on, like polishing you know?), and then again I show it to someone, get feedback, update, the cycle continues. Maybe that’s what John meant with “iterative approach is cyclical”?

I wonder though, how to push the limits in the prototyping? How to make failure desirable? Because here lies true learning. How to make and showcase too early on purpose? What an interesting exercise is that! Hmm. I’ll think about it. Maybe I’ll even do it. 🙂 

Living Systems

Lastly, I loved John responding on “Living Systems Principles influencing design”. I thought about it these days when I read Lynn Margulis thinking. You can see what’s on my mind here.

Here is my chat-poem of today:

dream big, zoom in

dream big, zoom in

dream big, zoom in

= seed

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