This project began after Ben and I connected and he told me this wild idea he had - to make a live holographic scanning rig that could be used in devising and live settings for performing artists. We developed the idea over hours of (very early) Skype meetings from London to California and talking over the technical feasibility of it all with our technology partner Mimesys VR.
One thing Ben and I became really passionate about exploring was a central question: what is electrifying about live performance and how can we integrate that into XR experiences? As theatremakers ourselves we felt like there was something missing out of a lot of the VR/XR experiences - something about the intersection of intimacy, liveness, and communal energy and connection.
There was also something missing about the way many performing arts organisations were working with VR/XR technology. It often felt disconnected creatively, bolted-on at the end, or just...lost in translation? The audience gets new angle on the experience, but not necessarily an entirely new experience.
So, what if instead of transposing traditional work into a digital sphere, we aimed to make something inside a live XR world, something fluent? How could we work with artists to find new languages and processes to create performance-based extended reality work in an integrated, platform-native way? How does it inform the way we see the world and ourselves? How does it affect the artforms we work with?
So many, many, questions! That's why we brought academics, students, artists, makers, directors, and actors together for this R&D lab - to start digging deep and grapple with the forms we work with, to see if there's something a little more exciting underneath. We've found some answers, and a lot more questions, and we can't wait to see what gets unearthed next.