Digital media technologies and immersive environments fundamentally shape and reshape how we live, perceive, interact, and perform. Mobile, Internet, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and motion capture systems – just to name a few! – not only extend our abilities to communicate, but also offer us a space for creation, reflection, and speculation. In this course, we worked to develop critical perspectives on new technologies such as VR and create original work using them. More importantly, we examined the ways by which new media can enhance and reimagine storytelling and performance.
The ultimate goal of the final project was to create new possibilities that emerge when one views the world in a different way, as someone or something else. How can the 360 video experience change how we see, how we perceive ourselves, and how we understand or relate to stories, spaces, situations, and individuals? There were no restrictions in terms of the style of storytelling – narrative, experimental, experiential, documentary, theatrical, etc. It was also important for the group to remember that as VR/Video 360 filmmakers they are more of a guide, and that film doesn’t really “tell” a story but allows the experiencer to discover a story through their own explorations.
(Please use Chrome Browser of Google Cardboard App to experience these videos.)
Visual Storytelling – Autoethnography/Experimental
Students use a personal story, experience, and memory in a visual autoethnography project in the form of experimental documentary. They approach this project as a process of discovery of a story in their life of the life of those close to them. The most important aspect of the project is for them to situate the story within the bigger frame of culture. The focus is on “personal as cultural”, or “personal as something bigger than your own story”. Using digital and emerging technologies they hold self and culture together and explore the ways by which one can tell a personal yet collective story. The goal is to make your audience to connect with the video emotionally even if they haven’t experienced or don’t identify with the certain topic/issue/story.
I focused on a parallel relationship between the city of Hong Kong and myself and the congruency between Eastern bodies surrounded by Western influence. I did some preliminary research on the history of Hong Kong and the growth of the city within the global world. I interviewed my dad in order to gain more of a first hand account of the society of Hong Kong. I also spoke about my own life and how I perceived growing up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. I wanted to expand on the thought that although one’s culture may always be tied to the spine of an individual, their environment and their perception and actions that they take on in the world is what truly shapes a person. But also, in the end, nothing really matters at all because we are all of the same species.
My autoethnogrpahy focuses on my aunt, who grew up in a time of prejudice and injustice against minority groups. Heavily influenced by the struggle my grandfather went through to assimilate to American culture, she became active in civil rights movements interested in advancing the Latino cause in the US. She was present for two different demonstrations of protest that eventually turned into violent riots after police intervention. Because of her bravery, she, and others, paved the way for my generation to grow up in a significantly more open-minded and accepting country.
My autoethnography is about losing my Dad to a smoking-related cause. It has a serious and powerful tone. When making changes from my rough cut to my final, I slowed everything down, from the speed of the clips, to the speed of my voice-over. At first, I was going to include the interview with my mom, but later decided to keep the story in my own voice and from my perspective, while also referencing various things my mom mentioned. The story remains mostly about how I dealt with his habit, from the time that I was a child, to losing him a year ago. My hopes is that it will speak to anyone who has dealt with the struggles of quitting smoking, themselves, or with a close family member or friend, because it truly is a habit that affects everyone around you.
I haven’t been home in three years and typing that alone has some weird effect on me. I miss home, but I also do not. I’ve lived here in Dallas for the past three years enjoying the multitude of cultures and people. One thing has stayed constant– the questioning of my ethnicity. I am a Mexican-American born to two Mexican citizens in the U.S. and raised on both sides. Never had I experienced the culture difference between Hispanics at the border and Hispanics from hundreds of miles away. Whether I’m surprising fellow Hispanics or I’m trying to convince someone I’m not actually lying about being Mexican–It’s different out here. My father was right when he told me the trivialities of being the first generation in the U.S. I’m enjoying the journey.’
Students create a work of art that incorporates some form of interaction, telepresence, or/and crowdsourcing. They can approach this from two angles: 1.) Create an art “tool” or other interface or system or platforms that you, the artist, interacts or communicates with during a live performance–online or in the meatspace, or 2.) Create an art “tool” or other interface/system/platforms that the audience can interact with or contribute to. Approaching the project students explore and examine the concept of digital performance, performer, and audience. They consider the ways by which the physical and online audience can interact with or contribute to the piece. How can they break that habit and get the audience involved or do them even give the audience a choice (think of surveillance cameras in a hallway that the people have to pass through; or the content they willingly and publicly post online).
This was an experiment done to test the validity of what is “real time” as well as how effective technology really is. I volunteered myself to walk all over Deep Ellum with a huge sign and a lime green makeshift diamond to simulate the SIM culture and reanact a real life SIM character and made the virtual surreality a reality… I would solely rely on the direction given to me by Twitter and anyone who saw the #RLSimGirlDeepEllum. I also provided a real time feed via Ustream, linked on RLSimGirl’s Twitter page, as well as a Facebook event and identity to try to promote this event as much as possible. All in all it turned out that there was a decent amount of participation with a total of 42 facebook friends, 14 Twitter followers as well as a total of 59 viewers who actually tuned into the live Ustream feed! Even since, these numbers seem to be on an upward trends of views.
Whatever happened to the sleepguy? – http://thesleepguy.wordpress.com
I realize now why online video culture is so pervasive. I sort of get why it is so important to people. The thing is, video culture is a self-perpetuating cycle. Producers feed viewers with interesting (pervasive) material, who in turn feed the producers with views and the illusion of loyalty/connection/interest, prompting the producers to continue what they are doing. Having experienced the psychological effect of having your material viewed by a large number of people, more people than one will ever meet in your real life, I can say with certainty that viewing someone’s work, even anonymously, has a significant effect on them. It builds the ego, or creates in the mind of the producer that people care about their work.