This is me, my face – as I sit behind my desk right now. A real time intrusion into virtual space of my physical self. And, for the period of the performances, in effect, a secondary avatar. -Glyph Graves
I’ve just come from an historic new exhibit from one of the great pioneers of virtual art, Glyph Graves. His new exhibit, Composition in Realities features several of his interactive sculptures across the barren landscape of the Art Screamer sim. But the groundbreaking part was the performance Glyph gave – a piece he cleverly calls ‘Faceted Existence’ whereby he has programmed an interface (a very appropriate term here) with his Kinect which rendered his face in three dimensions, real time, utilising some 2500 prims.
Glyph wrote the code and the interface with the advice of master coders Desdemona Enfield (who often works with Douglas Story on immersive works like ‘Dynafleur’) and Miki Gymnast. While people have been hacking and experimenting with Kinects almost since the day they came on the market, this work is to my knowledge (and to Glyph’s) the first art piece to fully embrace this new technology and make it work in world. The result does not necessarily equal the aesthetic beauty of Glyph’s other sculptural works, however it was definitely in the realm of ‘cool’ as we watched Glyph’s actual face come to life in moving, flashing prims. ColeMarie Soleil got a sneak preview of the exhibit, and made a very short machinima of the work which she has graciously let me post for you here:
For me, Glyph is at the forefront of creating art which truly exists within variable reality, a term coined by digital art pioneer Roy Ascott, which I have come to prefer. In the introductory note to the exhibit, Glyph states:
The majority of the pieces here use real-time elements of the physical world, and combine them to create an SL existence.
You could call this an Augmented Virtual Reality Installation or a Composite Reality Installation.
Or simply an Art installation.
This is a new type of exhibition:
It does something other than cross the RL/SL boundaries
It ignores them.
It chooses to place the art created here not as a thing separate, a category known as “virtual art,” but as a work that says this is just a new tendril from a body of human endeavour that we call art.
Also included in this exhibit are other of Glyph’s sculptures which combine avatar interaction with real-time data to created pieces which shift and change. In a manner of speaking, Glyph plays electronic god through his art, and the result is fascinating and rather beautiful. These works include his award-winning ‘Antarctica’, ‘Forest of Water’, and the exquisite ‘Sabrinaa’s River’, made in memory of his dear friend Sabrinaa Nightfire who was lost to cancer earlier this year.
The exhibit is sponsored by SL art patrons Zachh Cale, Chestnut Rau and Amase Levasseur. Future performances of Faceted Reality will be announced via the various art groups such as Art & Artist Network, but the sim is open for exploration any other time. Don’t miss this!
UPDATE: Dividni Shostakovich of Split Screen has also made an interesting blog post on this which gets a bit more into the technical aspects, worth a read!