DSN 6400 (DAIM Graduate Studio):
This week was all about demos for my thesis project with Abby. Last year for the Open House demo, our project was titled, "Ruby Bridges", and we really didn't want that same name for this year, given her story is a placeholder in our framework for us to learn a design process around. This year, we went with re-titling it "Designing For Narrative Performance in Virtual Reality." This showcases its development as a design process, while using stories in VR to help define that process.
Tuesday's class consisted of Abby and I preparing for the SAC over at the Knowlton, which would be our first time transporting the equipment and using the wireless VIVE offsite. It was a good learning opportunity for us to see what this would be like to present in front of a new crowd other than our peers at ACCAD. We were at the show for roughly 3 hours, and had about 20+ participants try out our set up for the VR experience. Some had never tried VR before, so there was a learning curve is discussing with them how to put on the headset, how to operate within the game, how they can/cannot move, and what to expect. Many were interested in the fact that we have them stand up once the mother character actually reaches down and extends her hand towards you. It's a sign of connection when a character in the experience does that, and they were interested in the standing aspect. From there, we took them to new levels, where the scene is scaled so that they feel at a small size once they stand up. This is an indication of being at the height of a six-year-old, and many gave us feedback that they understood that. It was intimidating, different, fearful, and surreal. They grasped the concept immediately that they were meant to be small, and not that everyone else was supposed to be giant, which goes to show this test is currently working out.
We also found out the dos and don't of our setup. It took us roughly 10-15 minutes to actually set everything up and to run properly, the only thing that I think we would change, is to have a bigger TV monitor to show what the participant in the headset is seeing. But we were thoroughly impressed with how well the wireless set up for us with the fragbox, and just how transportable this experience is.
Our second demo was on Friday - and Abby and I were much more prepared for this, both because we did the Open House last year, and also because we had a set up experience only a couple days before. Here, we showed again what we had on Tuesday at the SAC show. We had a larger monitor this time for showing our audience what our user was seeing. We also had a third monitor showing where we were last year and comparing the two side by side to see how much progress we have completed in a year's time.
The feedback that we got at the Open House was very similar in regards to the height change and scaling of the scene. Many people felt intimidated by the change in the size of their personal scale, but agreed that it hinted at you being like Ruby, without having the avatar of Ruby. Many asked where we were going next with this project, and how we came to this story. Abby and I both took the reins and answered with our interests in design and animation, and how we are using this as a catalyst for our process, and hoping to take it beyond just a desktop and hopefully have it showcasing somewhere after we graduate.
Both demos this week truly gave us good practice on discussing our project and progress, and seeing how participants both within VR, and the audience members watching outside of it, gave feedback about the changes we've made in development.
ACCAD 5194.01 (Performance and Narrative in VR):
In our VR class, my group started testing within the motion lab to start striking our layout scene. Within this though, we found our digital scene to be a bit too large. So I am going in and trying to rescale it. (Photos to come). I am also trying to re-rig our character since it had one higher node than it was supposed to. Also photos and videos to come on this.
FILM 7001 (Feminist Film Theory):
Screening: Daughters of the Dust
Reading: Troutman/ Johnson. “Dark Water”
Reading: Gourdine, “Fashioning the Body [as] Politic”
Reading: Machiorlatti, “Revisiting ‘Daughters of the Dust’
Troutman/Johnson, “Dark Water”
- On page 77, it says, “Walker intimates that her work “gives the illusion of past events, the illusion that it’s simply about a particular point in history and nothing else.” Even though Dash did Daughters of the Dust, could see this same statement being said about how that film was created? That the work as a whole gives an illusion of past events, about a particular point in history, and nothing else? Or do we see it as more than?
Gourdine, “Fashioning the Body [as] Politic”
- On page 501, it states, “To maintain blackwomen as subjects, Dash must not ignore their objectification, but must render the objectifiers absent.” How effective is this?
- The discussion of the ‘dress’ is heavily touched upon in this reading, especially the white dress. What can come from the fact that most dresses, were white? I ask this in regards to the black woman in a white outfit. The text discusses ‘whiteness’ of the dress in relation to purity, religion, marriage, etc. But what does it mean in regards to colonization? (Pg. 504) “All of the actors’ dress underscore the symbiosis between the necessity of appropriate costume for accurate period representation and dress as a vehicle for transforming images of black-women’s character.”
Machiorlatti, “Revisiting Daughters of the Dust”
- On pages 99-100, Machiorlatti writes, “Echoing Welbon and Rhines, Jacquie Jones asserts that Daughters of the Dust offers “African American life freed from the ruban, from the cotton picking, from the tragic integrationist ladder-climbing. Here, in the unlikely arena of American film, the complexity and shaded histories of Black women’s lives take center stage.” Can we compare this quote about Daughters of the Dust to that of Eve’s Bayou?
- On page 101, it states, “Her filmmaking is a call to action for all people to question the mainstream cinematic representation of black women.” How is mainstreamed defined? In the way that are represented in the narrative based off of their roles and characters? Or the technological way they are actually shot by the camera? I as an audience member had a hard time understanding the story line because of the way the film was shot, not because of the narrative.
- Do we think the name ‘Peazant’ is symbolic?