Immersive Arts Lecture Series: Double Trouble - Digital Avatars on Stage
Digital characters have been around for decades. In mainstream cinema, photorealism proved to be a cost-intensive challenge and a long road through the Uncanny Valley. In the game universe, the need for real-time rendering required simplification and abstraction. Meanwhile, however, with the help of ever-faster computers, game characters have come closer to their movie siblings and with the real-time capacity of game engines, digital avatars have now entered the live environment of the stage. In this lecture, the development of digital characters in the media context will be outlined, in order to then address the specific problems that arise when doubles and twins enter the universe of theatre and performances. Here, the audience needs to be able to see both the actor (in a motion capture suit) and his or her avatar so as to confirm that the avatar’s performance is indeed being created live, and not the result of a pre-recording. However, the double appearance also has its downside. The spectators need to constantly decide whom to look at: The actor or his or her digital avatar. The research project Presence and Absence of the Immersive Arts Space addressed this specific problem and focused on alternatives to the twin appearance. The outcome of the artistic explorations are discussed in detail.
Kino Toni, 3.G02