[NetBehaviour] Becoming Dragon, a mixed reality, durational performance in Second Life,

info info at furtherfield.org
Tue Nov 18 22:12:08 CET 2008

Becoming Dragon, a mixed reality, durational performance in Second Life,

opens December 1st

What: Performance in Second Life and at Calit2 on the UCSD Campus
When: Beginning December 1st, 7pm, running for 365 hours, viewing hours,
Where: The Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA),
Atkinson Hall, Visiting Artist Lab #1613, UCSD, and in Second Life at
Contact: Micha Cárdenas, 619-750-8851, mcardenas at ucsd.edu

Becoming Dragon is a mixed reality, durational performance in Second
Life, in CRCA's Visiting Artist Lab #1613 of the Atkinson Hall building,
on the UC San Diego campus. The opening begins at 7pm on December 1st,
2008 and the performance will run for 365 hours. The performance is
Micha Cárdenas' final MFA project.

Becoming Dragon questions the one year requirement of Real Life
Experience that transgender people must fulfill in order to receive
Gender Confirmation Surgery (Sexual Reassignment Surgery), and asks if
this could be replaced by one year of Second Life Experience to lead to
Species Reassignment Surgery. For the performance, Micha Cárdenas will
live for 365 hours immersed in Second Life with a head mounted display,
so that all she will see is Second Life and a motion capture system to
map her movements into Second Life. The performance space will be open
to the public for the duration, during the hours that the building is
open, 9am to 7pm. During the entire duration of the performance Micha
will stay in the performance space at CRCA and in Second Life.

Second Life is an online 3D virtual world, where users can create their
own avatars in whatever form they like. It is not a goal oriented game,
so its users refer to it as a metaverse or a MUVE, Multi User Virtual
Environment. There are over 15 million registered users of Second Life.
More information is available at http://secondlife.com

The Free Software/Open Source licensing of Second Life also provides a
code base for modification, and a number of modifications have been made
for Becoming Dragon. Kael Greco has patched the Second Life client to
include an updated version of the stereoscopic code from the University
of Michigan. For the duration of the performance, Micha Cárdenas will
wear a Head Mounted Display (HMD) with stereoscopic display to simulate
an actual 3 dimensional experience of Second Life by displaying a
different image in each eye.

To further explore becoming as an embodied process and Second Life as a
Mixed Reality Performance, Christopher Head has added code to the Second
Life viewer to read live motion capture data from the Vicon motion
capture system in the performance space. This code, along with scripts
in Second Life allow the avatar's movements to correspond to Micha
Cárdenas' movements. In Second Life, the performance will take place in
a to-scale model of the actual performance space, to allow the performer
to navigate that space over the duration of the performance.

A number of other modes of Mixed Reality will be included in the
performance, including a live video feed from the lab into Second Life
and 3D printouts of Second Life objects in the actual performance space.
The performance space will also include an HD stereo projection of
Second Life which visitors can see and interact with.

The project seeks to explore the shift from subjectivity to becoming, to
examine the subject in transition, as opposed to a clearly defined
identity. The choice of a dragon for an avatar is related to the history
of dragons as magical creatures, able to shapeshift into different forms
and teleport through space, well suited to Second Life. Dragons are also
part of the large community of non-anthropomorphic avatars in Second
Life, which are not easily limited to either male or female binary
gender categories. The project seeks to explore the possibility for
using mixed reality environments to construct new genders outside of the
limitations of the male/female spectrum.

The performance is one stage of an ongoing investigation of the
transformative potential of technology, inspired by artists such as
Orlan and Stelarc. During the year of research and development of this
project, Micha Cárdenas has begun her real life hormone replacement
therapy and has been writing poetry and prose about the experience on
her blog, http://technotrannyslut.com. This writing will be included in
the performance of Becoming Dragon.

Second Life is being used as a networked, mixed reality platform. The
massively multi-user nature of Second Life, with over a million users,
allows an exploration of online public space, becoming as a process of
social feedback and the subject in transition as the subject in

Becoming Dragon is receiving support from the Center for Research in
Computing and the Arts, CalIT2, University of California Institute for
Research in the Arts, Ars Virtua, the gallery at calit2 and the b.a.n.g. lab.

Artist Bios   
Micha Cárdenas is an MFA candidate at the University of California San
Diego. Micha holds a Master's degree in Media and Communications with
distinction from the European Graduate School and a Bachelor's degree in
Computer Science from Florida International University. She is a
researcher at CalIT2 and CRCA and is currently working at inSite on
their video archive. Her interests include the interplay of technology,
gender, sex, desire and resistance. Micha is a transgender, genderqueer
media artist, theorist and trouble maker. Micha is a founding member of
a number of art/activism collectives including Sharing Is Sexy, the
borderlands Hacklab and the City Heights Free Skool. Micha is the
performer and technical and artistic director of Becoming Dragon.

Kael Greco is an M.F.A candidate and researcher at CalIT2 at UCSD. His
research focuses on space and its representation through computation;
how cities, territories, landforms are processed and understood as
datasets. Kael's work has been exhibited across the country, from
gallery shows in NYC (most recently at Apex Art) to technology
conferences in Southern CA (a featured exhibitor in the 2007 O'Reilly
Emerging Technology Conference). His work has also been seen in
publications such as Engadget and Glowlab. Kael Greco holds Bachelor
Degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics and Art from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. Kael has ported the stereoscopic code for Becoming

Christopher Head is a software artist and MFA student at the University
of California San Diego. Much of his work focuses on the intersection of
software design and art practice to produce projects that take a variety
of forms including computer visualization, simulation, games, and
hardware hacking. Christopher received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from
San Jose State University while working in the CADRE Laboratory for New
Media. While at SJSU he also participated in the ISEA2006/ZeroOne
festival as part of the Montalvo Arts Center visiting artist residency
with Antoni Muntadas as well as a series of exhibitions and shows within
the SJSU Art Department. Christopher has written the motion capture code
for Becoming Dragon.

Benjamin Lotan received his BS in cognitive science from the University
of California at San Diego in 2008 specializing in Human Computer
Interaction. His past research has been supported by Calit2, CRCA, and
the Embodied Cognition Lab. He now works as an interaction designer and
documentary filmmaker in San Diego. Benjamin is working on documentation
for Becoming Dragon.

Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Anna Storelli is now attending
the University of California San Diego as an Undergraduate in the Visual
Arts Department. Studying a broad spectrum from computer technology to
film and video to traditional studio art, she explores the intermixing
of traditional mediums with digital media. She has been nominated to
present her work in several exhibitions, such as The Waiting Room
Undergraduate Art Exhibit at UCSD. She has worked as a graphic artist
for an interactive flash-based website, Earthguide, in partnership with
The Institute of Oceanography. She now does production work for Warner
Brothers Entertainment Company, DC Comics, assisting all aspects of
pre-press preparation for the Wildstorm/CMX comic lines, including
scanning, detail cleaning, color editing, and lettering from concept to
completion. She plans to finish her degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts by
2010. Anna is working on 3D modeling and 3D printing for Becoming Dragon.

See the performance in Second Life here:

Read Micha's live blogging from Second Life during the performance at:

Hours and Location:
CRCA, Atkinson Hall, Room 1613
Hours: 11am-7pm, Opening Dec. 1, 2008, 7pm,
Continuing for 365 hours, roughly 3 weeks

First Floor, Atkinson Hall
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
Map & Directions: http://atkinsonhall.calit2.net/directions/

Read more at:



gpg:  0x5B77079C // encrypted email preferred
gaim/skype: djlotu5 // off the record messaging preferred

blog: http://bang.calit2.net/tts


More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list