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<nettime> PRESS RELEASE: Becoming Dragon, a mixed reality, durational pe
lotu5 on Tue, 18 Nov 2008 22:17:37 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> PRESS RELEASE: Becoming Dragon, a mixed reality, durational performance in Second Life, opens December 1st


This is my MFA performance and the culmination of a lot of the thinking 
I've been posting on this list. I hope you can make it and I'd love to 
hear feedback on it. Thanks.



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

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