Idea #1: Virtual Toy Theater
Toy Theater was historically a medium in which those who might not otherwise be able to access the popular plays of the day were able to recreate their favorite stories and build their own imaginary worlds within the comfort of their own parlors. The parallels to our current media environment of socially distanced entertainment begin to appear when one considers how new technologies make new modes of expression possible at ever expanding scales, regardless of the century. What similarities might a mass produced cardboard cutout set of a popular 19th century melodrama have with a gamer donning a Deadpool avatar in Fortnite in order to watch a concert?
While the aesthetics couldn’t be more different––Fortnite is chaotic while modern toy theater is designed to focus your attention on a very small, deliberate scene––I submit that the communal spirit is the same as well as the spirit of simply being a fan of something.
I propose a final project that would be a custom collaborative performance platform that would allow users to log in at the same time, share their live webcam feeds, and manipulate virtual objects. My aim is to capture the DIY look and feel of modern toy theater. Part of my fascination with it is that fact that it is accessible and rewards ingenuity and simplicity.
Idea #2: Collaborative Dance Space
I’d like to finally be able to build an app that can submit PoseNet info back and forth. In an attempt to simplify my midterm idea, I would like to create a browser-based app that anyone could log into and have their bodies represented abstractly, perhaps just using the PoseNet keypoints. There would be a series of rules applied so that as the keypoints interact with each other, the visuals and sounds emitted by the app would change accordingly.
If I can get this working, then I’d like to add a more polished aesthetic to it which is TBD. I’m inspired by a couple of different things…