Immersive Dance Piece ‘DUST’ Allows Users to Become Free-Floating Eternal Particles Traveling Through Space
Imagine a private dance performance where you are not required to sit in a fixed spot in the audience, can move about freely, and have the ability float at will — unbeknownst to, and unable to disturb the dancers.
DUST, a new VR experience created by Prague-based digital artist duo Mária Júdová and Andrej Boleslavský. Their unique piece invites the audience to witness dance performances from the perspective of an eternal particle traveling through the space. The experience is a four-minute-long contemporary dance piece that revolutionizes the art of dance and melds the real world with the virtual counterpart, all while pushing the boundaries of performance art. DUST aims to create new environments where physical and digital co-exist and interact in real time.
“Often, when I watch dance I have the desire to be really close up, to float around, invisible, and virtual reality has given us the opportunity to experience it. We created our own set of tools and made volumetric recordings of the dancers to be able to immerse the people right next to them and look at the performance from any point of view,” said Júdová.
According to DUST, the piece is inspired by how almost every element on Earth was formed at the heart of a stardust, including our bodies.
Drawing inspiration from these eternal particles which were part of our bodies for an incredibly short moment, DUST seeks to reimagine our perception of body, space and time with the use of digital technologies. More specifically, it combines the live stream with volumetric capturing of dance and virtual environment and in doing so, immerses the viewers visually, as well as physically and emotionally. DUST seeks to explore innovative forms of engaging the audience and ways of building new narratives through the creative partnership of performing arts and new media.
“We wanted the audience to feel like they are dust particles floating in the immediate presence of the dancers, they can even step inside them. Everything that is, was formed from dust. The sun, planets, our earth, our bodies. How to become a dust particle again and what it would be like to see the world from a different perspective,” said Andrej.
Creating pieces such as this, advances research in the fields of participatory performance, human-computer-interaction and VR technologies. In DUST, the audience uses an HMD to place themselves in the immediate presence of the dancer and within a unique visual and aural scenario which has been created by capturing volumetric recordings of dancers and photogrammetric imagery of Rambert’s building.
DUST was created with a custom suite of tools that allows to capture, edit and preview volumetric recordings in a VR headset. For the dance performance, a Kinect depth sensor and custom software was used to simultaneously shoot the performers from a variety of angles and capture the full volume of the dancer’s body.To produce high resolution 3D models of architecture, the artists used the Reality Capture photogrammetry software and Blender for postproduction. DUST was made with VVVV, a multipurpose toolkit for room-scale VR experience using HTC Vive headset. The interactive website contains the preview of the volumetric recordings and supports WebVR.
The project is an exploration of the future of dance, performance, film and sound could transcend to with the application of VR. Watch the trailer here!