Interactive VR 360° video performance and installation
AIR Taipei, Taipei Culture Foundation (TW); Open Time | Applied Futures Research, Erasmus University of Applied Scien- ces and Arts Brussels (BE); Across Asia Film Festival (IT); NAO PerformingFestival (IT)
May 2021: Lockdown IV.
Thanks to the use of VR 360° online platform, it is possible to “use” real people as virtual avatars.
Muddle is an interactive VR 360° video performance and installation.
The viewer/user, thanks to a VR Headset, can access Muddle and use a human avatar anywhere in the world.
The avatar (performer), equipped with a 360° video camera, will be remotely controlled by the user, carrying out every command that will be communicated to him (via sound or text).
Muddle is the beta version of an online VR platform that allows you to live a virtual reality experience using a real human avatar. Humanity is facing the impossibility of leaving their houses, of being able to travel, to attend a concert or to go to bed with one’s Tinder-date: Muddle allows you to live a real experience through virtual reality.
I will also create a single-channel video artwork with the video materials created during the performance. The narrative and aesthetic structure will arise from a mixture of my video language and the codes of documentary and noir cinema.
Statement and context
Muddle is a new chapter of my project on “Human disasters”, a research that I started in 2018.
The project studies how human communities reacts to shocking or catastrophic events.
This research originated during an art residency in Uruguay. In Montevideo I was struck by the number of people addicted to Pasta Base (cocaine’s waste substance), so I worked with its inhabitants, imagining a society made up of only toxic people. Subsequently, thanks to a research fellowship of MUST Museum, I worked with inhabitants of a village near Milan, imagining a future in which Italy sinks into the Mediterranean sea. During the first part of 2020, I was in the Belgian countryside, hosted by a peasant family. With them, I studied the evolution of viruses, focussing on the spillovers’ theme.
Fukushima, HIV, 9/11, Tohoku Tsunami. And now Covid-19.
The so-called “disasters” are Hyperobjects, according to Timothy Morton’s definition, with which we have to deal; to which we belong.
So how can we coexist within “disasters”?
What forms of resistance can we develop?
What forms of coexistence and relationships are recreated between human and non-human?
The genesis of this project comes from two main references:
I. The book “A perfect crime?” by A YI, based on the true story of a Chinese teenager who kills his classmate. At the end of the investigation, the case is dismissed as a murder “without reason”. The boy committed the crime solely out of boredom.
II. The research of Byung-Chul Han and Timothy Morton are leading me to develop a strong interest in the processes that today govern the creation, reading and encoding of an image through a device.
I am referring in particular to Morton’s concept of Hyperobjects and Byung Chul Han’s studies on self-improvement, which becomes self-upgrading if placed in a context of hyper-technological and productivity-driven society.
These are the questions that are accompanying me during the development of this research:
-Can humans claim their supremacy over AI?
-How can I compare myself with my virtual projection?
-Where is the border between reality and the experience of virtual reality?
-What is the difference between virtual and user projection?
-What are the ethical and moral developments of a user/player/viewer once they have passed the Uncanny valley?
The political, ethical and aesthetic implications multiply.
Especially if this research fits into the biopolitical and neoliberal context we are experiencing.
A stark contrast to the “There is no alternative”
• The Transparency Society
• Hyperobjects. Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World Timothy Morton
• Xiamian, Wo gai gan xie shenme (Tr. it.: E Adesso?)
• Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?
• In the Dust of This Planet
• Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene
Network and presentations
From July to September 2021 I will participate in the AIR Taipei art residency program at the Taipei Artist Village in Taipei (Taiwan) to realize the second phase of Muddle.
During the residency I will develop new video, photographic and installation artworks (including a MetaVR video installation, in which the viewer will be able to compare himself in real-time with his own VR projection).
The residency will culminate in a final exhibition of the research results of the artists in residence.
The Taipei Culture Foundation-Dept. of Artist-in-Resident will also publish a catalog “Taipei Artist Village Yearbook 2021” which will contain the results of my research, together with those of the other invited artists and related critical texts.
On my return to Europe, I will present the results of my research in Italy and Belgium through Artist Talks, exhibitions and screenings (In Belgium at the Erasmus University of Applied Sciences and Arts; in Italy at the Across Asian Film Festival at the Civic Museums of Cagliari and at the Nao Performing Festival at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan).