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?