Over the past five weeks, I had the opportunity to contribute to the project Dance Machines II: Breaking Virtual in Hamburg. This VR dance piece, a collaboration between the Studio für Unendliche Möglichkeiten, Choreographer Regina Rossi, and her team, focused on envisioning the future of dance classes.
Having participated in its previous iteration, I returned to explore Unreal Engine 5 and delve deeper into Motion Capture, taking on greater responsibilities. Working with the Hip Hop Academy in Hamburg, my main role involved transferring motion capture data of two dancers into the Unreal Engine environment and organising them into a cohesive narrative. This process was not without its challenges, as emerging technologies often present hurdles akin to those encountered in the real world. It required meticulous attention to detail, patience, and a focused approach. The animation process, consisting of small, deliberate steps, put my perseverance and precision to the test. Recently, the project had an unofficial premiere at the Hip Hop Academy, with the official premiere scheduled for November at Kampnagel.
One aspect that captivated me during Dance Machines is the fascinating dynamics that emerge when individuals wearing VR headsets find themselves embodying characters that are vastly dissimilar from their own and observing how they navigate communication, touch, and seek reassurance from one another within these virtual environments.
I was also able to participate in GMTK’s Game Jam which prompted me to delve further into Blender, exploring animation techniques and character development to create a compelling, personality-filled character. This has inspired me to work on a small platforming puzzle game about a Cube named Cubey (original, yes I am aware), who can absorb and change colors from the world around them.
What would a role play experience wherein audience members inhabit entirely different bodies look like… how would this experience influences their notions of non verbal communication, expression, and care?