Control Me Project – Proposal and Rational

PROPOSAL – MFA Exhibition 2016 – ART7009 ‘Realisation’

 MFA Research

My research over the last year has been about exploring through Social Art Practice and using creative play to investigate peoples’ relationship with the outside (real/physical) world and the inside (virtual/technological) world. I have been concerned about Western societies apparent withdrawal from the real world to become increasingly preoccupied with ever-evolving and ever-trending immersive social platforms. This concern has become particularly pressing as we move closer to a world where virtual and augmented reality will become commonplace and the lines between the virtual and the real become even more blurred.

Through creative collaborative and participatory events involving a variety of age ranges, both online (Gaming, Twitter, Facebook etc.) and within the real world (Forest walks, Popup events), I have endeavoured to create an ‘interstice’, a space, which encourages dialogue surrounding these concerns. This research has also persuaded me to reconsider my own relationship to both the real and virtual world, which has given me personal insights that have widened the creative course.

“Control Me”

This piece is a reflection on the contrast, or lack thereof, between the virtual and the real. I have extended a hand into the virtual world with all its enhanced imitations, and invited its commuters who travel through the shopping malls, hangouts and entertainment complexes of the information superhighway to break from the boundary of their coded environments. The invitation is an opportunity for online ‘Gamers’ to ‘Control Me’ like one of their online characters or avatars in the real physical world, by addressing the question: “Your character dies in an epic battle, you’ve re-spawned into the real world…what happens next?’ I in turn have attempted to re-enact the scenarios conjured up by this question through the medium of video.

Just as I, the gamers too are bound to the physical world by their bodies, even if their minds are elsewhere traveling timelessly through the technological rhizome. Understandably that just as ‘Gamers’ are confined by the rules of their online worlds, they too will know that when they ‘control me’ in the real world I will be confined by its limitations.

My desire is that the collaborators and the viewers of the performances are given the ‘interstice’ to examine their own relationship to both the real and the virtual world.

             “Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.”                                                                                            – Oscar Wilde

 Presentation

The plan is to have a space that vaguely emulates a living room (Sofa in the centre facing the projections). The viewer will sit on the sofa to view projections (videos extracts from the re-enactments) and use headphones to hear the audio. (Simulation of ‘Gamer’ Immersion). They will be presented with 4 projections that will be set in a timed rotation (possibly random and varied timing) on two walls and one on the floor. I may also use a webcam to project the viewer back to them selves (Depends on the RAM of the laptop as the software (VPT7) may crash if not enough spare RAM is available). The whole experience should take approximately 5 minutes with a short break of 2 minutes (to allow the viewer to leave and another to enter). This should all work on a loop throughout the day, as it will be set up on the projection software and through the editing process.

The Space

I would like to request the dark space that is directly in front of the entrance door in the ‘Dark Space’; it is in front of where the BA Merran Dubb presented. This space will be perfect in size once I have manipulated it incorporating the space to the right of it. This will make it long and relatively narrow, which should suit my requirements (I may have to widen slightly). Also it is already painted black which means that I will not have to blacken any other white walls. The entrance to the space is small, which is ideal as I wish it to be curtained off; my work requires one visitor at a time. It also means that it will be easier to keep the black out area in one block as the group wish to open out the black out space to allow for more white space.

Equipment Needed

  • Laptop with VPT7 software
  • 3 Projectors (long throw – I may only need 1 or 2 if the software works in the space as well as I predict)
  • Ledges for Projectors
  • Headphones
  • Audio Interface
  • Webcam (Undecided)
  • Cabinet to store laptop when not in use (may use a fake wall for this as it will be more secure)
  • Sofa (Maybe use one of the university’s blue sofas?)
  • Vented MDF to cover in the underside of the sofa that houses the Audio Interface
  • Power Leads (5) and Data Cables (5) – (less depending on success of VPT7 software)
  • Black curtain and pole for the entrance 

H&S

I have two concerns:

  1. Trips and falls from cables – I will endeavour to run cables along the top of the walls where possible and where they run along the floor have them securely taped to the floor in a area that should have less (if any) traffic.
  1. It will me my sole responsibility to turn on and off the equipment during the assessment and exhibition as the software runs as a live presentation and will need to be set up specifically every morning and closed properly in the evening.

(I was delighted that I was able to create the projections with only one projector.  I am always trying to create work that reduces my carbon footprint. )

Visual Plan

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