May 3rd, 2018 from 10 – 11 am

Presentation Abstract:

Atelierhaus Droste: VR and the unreliable narration of sight
By Lindsey Drury

Produced in collaboration with Matthew Gantt, Atelierhaus Droste is an environment and performance work. The Atelierhaus Droste environment was a palimpsest of the virtual and the material: we arranged a physical space within the Atelierhaus Australische Botschaft Ost and a correspondent virtual room. We sought to imperfectly replicate the actual studio in the Australische Botshaft in VR. Through the work we created, we experimented with the sensorial, cognitive, and somatic dissonance produced by the differences between a space as represented visually in VR and as material presence.

Atelierhaus Droste was presented as VR performance art through two workshops and a dance-for-camera performance. In my Performersion presentation, I will draw from both these exposition forms to share my observations of how VR’s relationship to material space is experienced through embodiment. In other words, my presentation will draw not only from my experience performing in the VR environment, but also from my engagement with the numerous workshop members and audience participants who entered the Atelierhaus Droste environment to experience it for themselves.

My presentation of Atelierhaus Droste will particularly focus on the way that VR divides visuality from tactility. Within rehearsals for the dance developed through Atelierhaus Droste, I navigated the dissonance between visual and tactile experience until I could function with ease in the difference between the two. To do so, I learned to use the visible VR space as a mere representative ‘map’ for the space I actually inhabited. Visible tables and chairs became indices for actual tables and chairs as I learned through my dance in VR to treat my sight not as a sense that could inform me of actual spatial contours, but as a representation whose inexactitudes could – like any other visual information – be learned and thereby read.

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