Visions of Our Communal Dreams

v2.0 by: Michael Takeo Magruder with Drew Baker, Erik Fleming & David Steele, 2012

A virtual/physical art installation exploring issues of hybridity, embodiment and collective creativity in the Avatar Age.

About the Artwork:

Visions of Our Communal Dreams is a new media artwork blending virtual, physical and networked environments that explores issues of hybridity, embodiment and collective creativity made possible through the use of avatars and virtual worlds. The artwork is comprised of two public spaces – one virtual and one physical – that are inherently connected in order to create a series of mixed-reality contexts, situations and experiences.

The artwork's virtual component consists of an imaginary forest landscape constructed using the open source 3D application server OpenSimulator. This synthetic, 'living' metaverse is defined by the creative aspirations of its avatar inhabitants and is intrinsically linked to a changing selection of gallery and public spaces in the real world. Live interactions and exchanges flow between the virtual and physical realms through various site-specific 'portals' ranging from immersive architectural projections and windows to arrangements of small painterly artefacts and kiosks. These gateways are realised through telematic interfaces that allow residents from both discrete locations to gaze upon each other and their surroundings, thus creating uncanny connections and dialogues between the worlds.

Experience Version 2.0:

Virtual: Transitional Space, OSGrid: Explore the virtual forest landscape located within the open source metaverse OSGrid by following these simple instructions: VOCD_virtual-participation-guide_v1.1.

Physical: 5-30 October 2012, Robots & Avatars exhibition, presented at KIBLA: Multimedijski Center, Maribor, SI: Visit the physical installations embedded within KIBLA's galleries and public spaces.

Networked: @voocd, Twitter: Instil life into the virtual forest for all to see by tweeting bird, butterfly or flower to @voocd.

* Version 2.0 represents the first major update of the artwork since its initial launch at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, UK in March 2012. Documentation of Version 1.0 can be viewed here:

Virtual/Physical Documentation:

Learning Experiences:

Visions of Our Communal Dreams is not merely a self-contained artistic experience, but rather, is part of a wider conversation and journey that seeks to consider a future vision of work and play made possible through the innovative use of avatars and virtual worlds. To support this endeavour, the project encompasses a programme of interrelated educational activities through which participants learn skills relating to avatars, virtual worlds and collaborative content creation that feed back into both the artwork and its underlying creative processes.

Version 2.0 Workshops:

The Visions of Our Communal Dreams v2.0 project supported a series of media-based workshops undertaken in partnership with KIBLA. Over a four-day period, a group of media art students and professionals were taught industry standard and transportable skills (such as avatar body and clothing customisation, constructing and texturing 3D builds, and basic scripting and animation) using the open source 3D application server OpenSimulator. With their newly acquired knowledge, they worked alongside the project team in order to feed their own ideas and creativity into the collaborative process of expanding the virtual forest.

Workshops Documentation:

In Collaboration with:

Drew Baker [ OpenSimulator modelling and programming ] . Erik Fleming [ OpenSimulator development and administration ] . David Steele [ network design and server-side programming ]

Additional Creative Inputs From:

Ghislaine Boddington (b>d>s) [ dramaturgy ] . Emma Puente [ media production ] . Simon Sedmak (KIBLA) [ technical production ]

Workshop Participants: Viktor Höchtl (as 'Bobi Pencilman'), Jasna Kozar (as 'Crassy Jassy'), Severin Lorenčič (as 'Nedrian Valvazor'), Monika Pocrnjić (as 'Monika Nevem'), Simon Repnik (as 'BadSheep Black') and Metka Šantl (as 'Blood Rainbow')

With Thanks to:

Aleksandra Kostič (KIBLA) [ curation ] . Dejan Pestotnik (KIBLA) [ educational programme ] . Lidija Pacnik Awais (KIBLA) [ coordination ] . Snežana Štabi (KIBLA) [ press ] . Boštjan Lah (KIBLA) [ photography ] . Leanne Hammacott, Janka Krasznai & Marie Proffit (b>d>s) [ production ] . Katherine Bond & Andrew Prescott (KCL) [ support ]

Supported by:

Visions of Our Communal Dreams v2.0 is a 2011-12 development commission for the Robots & Avatars project. Commissioned by body>data>space and the National Theatre in association with KIBLA, Maribor and the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London. The project is funded by the EU Culture programme with additional support from King's College London's Creative Futures fund.

Artwork Requirements:

Virtual: Windows/Mac computer system with Firestorm Viewer virtual worlds browser and stereo audio. A high-specification CPU/GPU, colour display with ≥1024x768 resolution and high-speed Internet connection are recommended.

Physical: Modular virtual/physical installations using: high-specification computer systems capable of real-time high definition 3D rendering; multi/single channel high definition video systems (screen-based and projection); 2.1 audio systems; and HCI devices for user interaction.

Online Resources:

© TAKEO 2012