May 2007
Socializing Cyberinfrastructure: Networking the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Ruzena Bajcsy University of California, Berkeley
Klara Nahrstedt, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Lisa Wymore, University of California, Berkeley
Katherine Mezur, Mills College

5. Lessons Learned

The December 2006 performance definitely gave new meaning to collaborative dancing and creative choreography. Through this performance we have learned new lessons that lead us to new symbiotic relationships between creative dance design and new TI technology elements.

TI Technology Lessons Learned: The 3D real-time vision algorithms need further improvement as we discussed in Section 3 and showed in Figure 3. The dancers had considerable visual “holes” and their movements were slower than real-time since the TI system is currently not able to reconstruct 3D frames at higher speed than 10 3D frames per second. The network protocols need further improvements with respect to bandwidth and content adaptation, strong support for better extracting and understanding of semantic information about dancer location, and importance of presented views to the audience, resulting from the 3D vision algorithms, dancers and audience.

Collaborative Dance Lessons Learned: Through this experiment, we have answered the first set of questions discussed above. Movement in virtual spaces makes sense for artists. Due to their improvisation skills, they cope very well with the various imperfections of the TI technology, such as delays, bandwidth constraints, and visual holes. Actually, they use it for their artistic advantage and create very visually pleasing dance segments. However, the experiments also show that dancing in cyberspace is very different than in physical space. For example, with the sense of virtual touch feedback, if one raises a hand in the cyber environment to touch a virtual object or person and there is no physical object to touch, different reactions in dancers are produced. It has become very clear that a new type of choreography must be created when considering dancing in TI environments. But it is precisely this new type of creative interaction with the technology that makes it so exciting for dancers and choreographers. The art form of dance choreography that inherently values the different ways in which individuals move and relate to one another is a good fit with TI technology, which inherently values the entire body of an individual streaming into cyberspace.

The possibility to arrange bodies/individuals in infinite new ways in relationship to each other and virtual objects, as well as the ability to create entirely new meanings and contexts through this creative coordination, has the potential to have a huge impact on the field of choreography and on many other fields that prioritize the study of the body.

6. Conclusion

3D TI environments are becoming more viable and more affordable. As we have shown, it is possible to build TI environments out of COTS components and engage them in geographically distributed interaction and communication. Furthermore, with the maturity and advancement of TI technology, we are experiencing a very natural symbiosis between collaborative dancing and TI technology as it was shown in our experiment between UCB and UIUC in December 2006. This symbiosis creates feedback in both ways. The TI technology becomes richer in terms of its digital options to allow dancers to explore more and more physically impossible situations in the virtual spaces and hence create very new choreography designs.

Acknowledgement We would like to acknowledge the support of this research by the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, CITRIS and by the National Science Foundation (NSF SCI 05-49242, NSF SCI 05-49231, NSF CNS 05-20182, NSF CCR 03-25274, NSF STC TRUST). The presented views are those of the authors and do not represent the position of NSF. We would also like to thank our collaborators Dr. Gregorij Kurillo, Zhenyu Yang, Wanmin Wu, and Renata Sheppard for their individual contributions in the overall tele-immersive project.
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9 cairo.cs.uiuc.edu/teleimmersion/

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Reference this article
Bajcsy, R., Nahrstedt, K., Wymore, L., Mezur, K. "Tele-Immersive Environments for Geographically Distributed Interaction and Communication," CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 3, Number 2, May 2007. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2007/05/tele-immersive-environments/

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