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Adventure Art Essay Fantasy Humanities Journal/Diary Science Fiction Social Sciences Theater/Play Theory

Becoming Dragon: a mixed reality, durational performance in second life

By Micha Cárdenas, 2008

The goal for Becoming Dragon was to develop a working, immersive Mixed Reality system by using a motion capture system and head mounted display to control a character in Second Life – a Massively Multiplayer Online 3D environment – in order to examine a number of questions regarding identity, gender and the transformative potential of technology. This performance was accomplished through a collaboration between Micha Cárdenas, the performer and technical director, Christopher Head, Kael Greco, Benjamin Lotan, Anna Storelli and Elle Mehrmand. The plan for this project was to model the performer’s physical environment to enable them to live in the virtual environment for extended amounts of time, using an approach of Mixed Reality, where the physical world is mapped into the virtual. I remain critical of the concept of Mixed Reality, as it presents an idea of realities as totalities and as objective essences independent of interpretation through the symbolic order. Part of my goal with this project is to explore identity as a process of social feedback, in the sense that Donna Haraway describes “becoming with” as well as to explore the concept of Reality Spectrum that discusses, thinking about states such as AFK (Away From Keyboard) that are in-between virtual and corporeal presence. Both of these ideas are ways of overcoming the dualisms of mind/body, real/virtual and self/other that have been a problematic part of thinking about technology for so long.

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