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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Atemporal Memory — work in progress show

Atemporal Memory — work in progress show






Atemporal Memory is a virtual reality performance which invites audiences to experience live performance in a dynamic time structure, using a real-time volumetric image capturing system. The project attempts to explore how our time perception and memory are influenced by computer time and media technologies in regards to human-computer interaction. In the concept of my project, time can be considered as a tangible interaction substance, which is an extended entity that can be grabbed, touched and manipulated. Through the design process, I address the question of computer and digital memory that have augmented/distorted human perception of time and space, which allows both visualization and manipulation of phenomena that beyond natural temporal/spatial scales.





The motivation of the piece is inspired by the notion of ephemerality as ontological disappearance in performance experience. Peggy Phelan wrote that performance “becomes itself through disappearance” in her book, Unmarked 1993. Phelan draws this ontological line in the sand that the value of performance lies in its disappearance: ‘Without a copy, live performance plunges into visibility — in a maniacally charged present — and disappears into memory, into the realm of invisibility and the unconscious where it eludes regulation and control’.





However, the performance of time in digital media contexts, the disappearance and memory become visible and tangible appearance through documentation/representation with the use of media technologies such as photography, video and interactive media, moreover, the ephemeral moments are saved into timeless space (computer memory) where the time can be brought back. In Steven Dixon’s Digital Performance book, he mentioned that changes in the conception of time within the contemporary technological culture and digital performance practice that the time becomes not only less linear but also renewable (Dixon, 2007).



Reference_Deborah Hay, No time to fly



How can nonlinear computer time affect an ontological narrative of live performance?


The aim of the project is to transform the way of linear and ephemeral performance experience into a dynamic time scale. I have built a virtual space where past and present presence can coexist. The design of a technical system is developed for performers to record their body movement in real-time, allowing them to dance with their past movements simultaneously in virtual reality space. In order to merge real and virtual worlds, I am using real-time volumetric point clouds data from depth cameras to produce where physical and digital co-exist and interact in real time.





When performer press the button trigger, recording starts and it stops automatically when set up duration is finished. As soon as recording time is finished, the digital body disembodies with a present body and it shows the sequence of past time movement depending on the controller position and movement speed. The captured digital body clip can be played back and forward, as well as the speed of movement can be controlled by the controller movement.







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