Keynote at Actor and Avatar seminar at ZHdK

An invited keynote at the two day conference “Actor and Avatar” organised by Professor Anton Rey, IPF, ZHdK August 29th and 30th 2019 at the Toni Areal, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). The “Actor and Avatar”  project explores aspects of actor performances particularly aimed to provide facial expressiveness for a virtual character (avatar) and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The VR Installation The State of Darkness previously exhibited in the Science Gallery, Dublin (Dec 2018) and in the 360 degrees (Prague 2019) will be presented at the conference. In addition, Enactive Virtuality Lab’s team member Victor Pardinho will run a Master’s Class for ZHdK students and staff.

The keynote by Pia Tikka 29th of August will address a range of topics related to the actors and humanlike virtual characters in the collaborative setting as described under the image.

Images: Two examples of the recordings of a dyadic realtime setting where the two actors are seated in front of a Green Screen in the ZHdK IPF Film studio looking at each other through a display in front of them directly connected to the camera in front of the other actor. The other actor takes the role of an asylum seeker’s interviewer (I), while the other actor plays the role of an asylum seeker (AS). Both are listening to the dramatised background story of the latter while engaged in evaluation of each others emotional state within the dramatised context. The performances are applied to humanlike virtual characters in the project Booth developed at the Enactive Virtuality Lab. Actors (upper row) Dr. Gunter Lösel [AS] and Tim Woody Haake [I]; (row below) Corinne Soland [I] and Samuel Braun [AS]. Images©IPF courtesy of Dr. Rey and Miriam Loertscher from ZHdK research group.

Presenters included:

Images: Derek Bradley, Walt Disney Research Studio Zürich (above) and Matthias Wittmann, Digital Domain (below)

ACTOR & AVATAR EXHIBITION: STATE OF DARKNESS INSTALLATION

 Industry engagement: Derek Bradley, Walt Disney Research Studio Zürich was one of the enactive experienters of facing Adam B in the State of Darkness. Here with Pia Tikka and Victor Pardinho (Sense of Space, Finland).

The Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize winner

The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies has been awarded the 2018 Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research by The Dance Studies Association. 

Pia Tikka & Mauri Kaipainen contributed with the chapter on “Screendance as Enactment in Maya Deren’s At Land: Enactive, Embodied, and Neurocinematic Considerations” 

The award will be conferred at the annual Dance Studies Association Conference at Northwestern University, August 8 – 11, 2019.

 

The following is the citation offered by the selection committee about the book:

The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies, which is skillfully edited by Douglas Rosenberg, features a gracefully comprehensive introduction and thirty-six impactful chapters from leading scholars who expand our understanding of screen technologies as creative, collaborative tools for dance. Both foundational and insightful, the essays focus on pioneering figures like Loie Fuller, Maya Deren, and Norman McLaren; on histories from Harlem and Hollywood to Brazil and Bollywood; and on themes that productively intertwine virtual bodies, framing, editing, space, race, gender, and politics. Authors from Dance Studies and related fields turn their gazes toward the way screendance can provide a liberating or controlled space, an ever-changing canvas, a democratic frontier, a site for social justice, new aesthetic pleasure, or a viral phenomenon with many meanings. Readable, rigorous, and thought-provoking, The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies engages popular, contemporary, traditional, and historical dance, offering wide-ranging new ways of understanding how ideas travel and can transform our lives through the “stage” of the screen.

The award will be conferred at the annual Dance Studies Association Conference at Northwestern University, August 8 – 11, 2019.

The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies is the first publication to offer a scholarly overview of the histories, practices, and critical and theoretical foundations of the rapidly changing landscape of screendance.

 

SCSMI conference Hamburg

Image: Dr Johannes Riis opens the plenary session for honouring the academic career and contribution of professor Torben Grodal at the SCSMI, chaired by Dr. Stephen Prince (right corner). 5 invited speakers included in addition Ed Tan, Mette Kramer, Pia Tikka, and David Bordwell on the June 13th.

 

Conference presentation Pia Tikka: Enactive Virtuality: Modelling triadic epistemology of narrative co-presence

 

The presentation discusses the concept of enactive virtuality in terms of a triadic epistemology, in which holistic understanding is accumulated via reflecting subjective experience against its psychophysiological epiphenomena and varying narrative contexts. Film narrative can evoke strong emotional identification with the screen character, however, in a context-dependent manner. The aim is to deepen the holistic understanding of cinematic narrative in particular as simulated person-to-person encounter. Two concretising case studies of person-to-person encounter are discussed. The first setting applies conventional film as a model of life situations, while another dramatic setting assigns the viewer an enactive role when engaging with an artificial screen character. These settings are compared and analysed in terms of the mentioned triadic epistemology.

Neurocinematic talks @ Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main

The Brain on the Screen

Invited talk on “Narrative Sense-Making – A Neurocinematic Approach” at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (MPI), Frankfurt am Main, March 26, 2019.

Presentation at the Cinema of the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Brain on the Screen public series of 4 introductory talks: Ed Vessel, Vittorio Gallese, Marie Therese Forster, and Pia Tikka.

 

Run Lola Run (German: Lola rennt) is a 1998 German thriller film written and directed by Tom Tykwer, and starring Franka Potente as Lola and Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni. The story follows a woman who needs to obtain 100,000 Deutsche Mark in twenty minutes to save her boyfriend’s life.

 

 

The Brain on Screen

Vier Filme – Vier Vorträge – Ein Akteur: Das menschliche Gehirn

Diese und weitere Fragen stehen im Zentrum der Film- und Vortragsreihe „The Brain on Screen“, die das Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik gemeinsam mit dem Deutschen Filminstitut & Filmmuseum im März 2019 veranstaltet. An vier Dienstagen (5., 12., 19. und 26.03.2019) werden vier Experten jeweils eine Einführung in vier Filme geben, die aus neurowissenschaftlicher Perspektive interessant sind.

Während der anschließenden Film­vorführung hat das Publikum die Gelegenheit, hautnah mitzuerleben, wie neurowissenschaftliche Forschung zum Filmerleben aussehen kann.  Wer möchte, kann Teilnehmer in einer den Film begleitenden Studie werden.

The Brain on Screen“ bietet einen wissenschaftlichen und praktischen Einblick in ein spannendes Forschungsfeld und verwandelt das Gehirn selbst in einen Akteur.

Wenn Sie Interesse haben teilzunehmen, können Sie sich hier anmelden.

 

 

 

 

Talk @ Hong Kong Baptist University

Pia Tikka:

Public lecture

Enactive Virtuality – Conceptualizing the dynamics of narrative cognition

Date:  21 March, 2019

Time:  4:30 – 5:45 pm

Venue: AAB 905, Academic and Adminstration Building, Baptist University Road Campus,  Hong Kong Baptist University, March 21, 2019.

https://talent100.hkbu.edu.hk/

Abstract

I will introduce my concept of enactive virtuality, associated with the idea of narratives as fundamental constructs of human mind. Inspired by the approach to enactive mind by Fransisco Varela and colleagues, the concept of enactive virtuality describes the experiencing mind as a dynamical system of body, brain, and the world. The epistemic triangulation is suggested as a means of translating the concept to practice.

While audiovisual narratives have been shown to elicit very similar physiological responses in different viewers, however, individual life experiences define how the story is interpreted by each. The approach of triadic epistemology, a combination of methods from arts, social sciences, and psychophysiology allows generating integrated knowledge about how different viewers experience particular narratives. The method builds on the fundamentally pragmatist idea that no two domains of knowledge are enough to explain each other, but a third is always required to provide the interpretative angle. Therefore, understanding narrative content needs to be analyzed not only based on subjective reports of the viewers, because that is not anchored to any overall understanding, but they also need to be related to a neurophysiological repertoire of experiences. Similarly, being able to describe the neural activity data collected during the viewing of a film, it is not enough to relate it only to subjective reports of the viewers, but the observations also need to be interpreted to conventions of narrative dramaturgy and filmmaking. A selection of cases are described to clarify the concept of enactive virtuality and the proposed triadic method.

 

 

And a great aftermath of the Talk at the HKBU campus Cafe with Roger Carcia, Chianly Sze, Samantha Goh, Mette Hjort, and Eugene Birman.

Against loneliness – Enactive Avatar

Against Loneliness: Sharing with Enactive Virtual Agent

The very nature of the human species is social. Loneliness correlates with mental and physical ill-being within, for instance, the elderly, or people with disabilities, or other conditions causing reduced life-environment. Simultaneously, an increasing trend in the European lifestyle is to outsource taking care of such members of family, or in a broader scale, the society, into the hands of professional social and medical care. In the light of recent studies, loneliness can be considered a fatal condition. Loneliness reduces the ability to improve one’s life-conditions, motivation of taking care of one’s health, and affects negatively the functions of society, thereby indirectly also the European economy. As an indication of the urgency of the matter, UK has even appointed a Minister of Loneliness.
The issue dictates the need to figure out all plausible ways to fight loneliness. While human company must be the primary solution, other solutions must be considered to provide socio-emotional comfort to those who suffer of the lack of human accompaniment. An intriguing suggestion is whether technology in some form might contribute to relieve this sore issue.

Work-in-progress: Enactive Virtuality Lab, BFM, TLU (MOBTT90) in collaboration with University of Tartu (UTARTU) Estonia, University of Barcelona (UB) Spain, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC)Israel, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) Germany, Sense of Space Oy (SoS) Finland, Trotzkind GmbH (TRO) Germany and Tartu Linna Pensionäride Organisatsioon “Kodukotus” (TLPO) Estonia.

Image below: Skype group session during the project in development.

Video image: A conceptual 3D sketch of the shared experience between a bed-bound elderly and an enactive virtual accompaniment in VR immersive environment. The video depicts a first-person perspective to the co-presence when addressing loneliness by means of artificial accompaniment and virtual reality technologies. Against Loneliness: Sharing with Enactive Virtual Agent, MOBTT90. The 3D art work Eeva R Tikka, 2019.

Workshop on Enactive Mind in Design @ Imagis lab Politecnico di Milano

ENACTIVE MIND IN DESIGN

Dr Ilkka Kosunen on affective computing, at the Enactive Mind in Design workshop, the 2nd workshop week organised by Enactive Virtuality Lab at Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, invited by Prof. Francesca Piredda.
In this workshop we familiarise ourselves with the concept of enactive mind and learn by practical work how enactive narrative systems can be applied to designing media projects.
The concepts of enactive cinema (Tikka 2008) and enactive media (Tikka 2010) are discussed, against the theoretical foundations of enactive cognitive sciences (Varela et al. 1991). Accordingly, a holistic first-person experience can be understood as being and playing a part in the world. The approach suggest going beyond the conventional concept of human–computer interaction by emphasising unconscious interaction between the experiencing participant and narrative systems. Instead of directly manipulating the narrative, the unfolding of the story is affected by the participant’s enactive emotional participation, tracked, for instance, by biosensors.
LEARNING MODES:
Lectures with video screenings, reading articles, and discussing on enactive mind and narratives; instructed/tutored hands-on enactive design exercises in small teams, analysing and reviewing created projects, demos and/or concepts.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Basic understanding on enactive mind and enactive narrative systems
Basic understanding of the use of biofeedback in enactive media design
Hands-on designing and producing enactive narrative systems (proof-of-concept)
Collaborative team work and presentation skills
TEACHERS:
Prof. Dr Pia Tikka, Dr. Ilkka Kosunen, School of Film, media, art and communication & Center of Excellence MEDIT, Tallinn University; Several visiting lecturers (t.b.a.)

2 TALKS on EMOTIVE VR Film by Marie-Laure Cazin

Freud’s last Hypnosis, a neuro-interactive 360 movie for EMOTIVE VR

Presentation of the ongoing project Emotive VR prototype, an innovative form combining VR and EEG headsets. A neuro-interactive omnidirectional movie has been realized, visualized in Virtual Reality (VR) Head-Mounted Display (HMD). During the visualization, the EEG signals are recorded and analyzed in real time. Some visual effects and an interactive music vary according to the emotional state of the viewer.

Marie-Laure Cazin is a Fine Arts teacher in the High school of Arts and Design ESAD-TALM (France) and in Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Part of the Enactive Virtuality Research Group, in BFM, University of Talinn, she is currently completing a PhD in Aix-Marseille University (France) on Cinema and Neurosciences. As an artist and a filmmaker, she has developed many experimental cinematic prototypes, using digital tools to create a live interaction between the film and performers or spectators. She collaborated with scientists for art-science projects, working with brains’ datas of emotions in her last interactive projects.

See projects on line (Fr)

Sound designer Matias Harju webpages (Eng

EMOTIVE VR documentation online (Fr)

2 TALKS on EMOTIVE VR by Marie-Laure Cazin (ESAD-TALM, France)

Visiting lecture at Aalto University, Aalto Studios, organised by Virtual Cinema Lab & Enactive Virtuality Lab, January 30, at 14-15

January 30, at 14-15 Place: N-416, BFM, Narva Mnt 27, Nova Building, Tallinn University.

 

Visit at Medialab-Prado Madrid

Enactive Virtuality Lab on excursion at the Medialab-Prado AVLab, a space for creative experimentation involving sound art, visual art and performance art based on open and collaborative processes. Its areas of activity are: experimental music, live audio and video processing, video games, media facades, performance art and live performances.

And participating in AVFLOSS meeting for project initiatives (above).