Panelist at the VR Sci Fest – Stockholm 2020

http://bit.ly/ux-xr-everyday-vrscifest

The 4th edition of VR_Sci + Art festival will be cyber-physical and will cover different social aspects of today’s reality, where people are more than ever disconnected due to the global pandemic.
How to communicate and be connected during the time of isolation?
How technology can help us to stay connected despite any crises?
How can we create meaningful scientific and artistic projects without being able to be close to each other?
All these and many other questions we will try to answer during VR_Sci + Art Fest by inviting experts, creators and makers.
The panel “UX & XR: everyday digital experiences” by Tieto_Evry x MEETinVR was streamed live on Facebook.
The panel recording here for those who missed the live show:

Accepted talk – the 8th ECREA conference (postponed to 6-9 September 2021)

New dates for the 8th ECREA conference: 6-9 September 2021

Dear ECC 2020 conference applicants, dear ECREA members,

We would like to inform you that in consultation with the Local Organising Committee, the ECREA Executive Board has approved new dates for the 8th European Communication Conference: 6-9 September 2021. The conference was scheduled for 2-5 October 2020 but we had to make the uneasy decision to postpone. The different timelines and strategies of gradual withdrawal of pandemic prevention measures adopted by individual European countries have made it impossible to organise the event according to our standards of academic quality and hospitality.

The conference calendar will be revised and new important dates will be announced in the conference website.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Braga from the 6 to 9 September 2021.

The submission: ECC20-1152 title Addressing loneliness by means of enacted co-presence in XR  has been accepted to the 8th European Communication Conference to be held in Braga, Portugal, October 2-5, 2020.

Braga, Portugal ECC Abstract submitted tikka et al.

https://www.ecrea2020braga.eu

Addressing loneliness by means of enacted co-presence in XR
Authors Pia Tikka1, Gholamreza Anbarjafari Shahab2, Doron Friedman3, Sergio Escalera4, Mauri Kaipainen5.
1University of Tallinn / BFM / MEDIT, Enactive Virtuality Lab, Tallinn, Estonia.
2University of Tartu, Intelligent Computer Vision iCV Lab, Tartu, Estonia.
3The Interdsiciplinary Center Herzliya, Sammy Ofer School of Communications / Advanced Reality Lab, Herzliya, Israel.
4University of Barcelona, Dept. Mathematics and Informatics / Computer Vision Center, Barcelona, Spain.
5Perspicamus Ltd, Company, Helsinki, Finland.
Abstract Text 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 into the hands of professional social and medical care. Yet, 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. 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.

We propose storytelling and narratives as the key component of satisfactory social interaction. Stories told provide supportive structures for maintaining one’s identity and connectivity as part of the world. This talk takes a look at the intriguing question, whether advanced audiovisual technologies which allow immersive interactive experiences within virtual narratives, in some form, might contribute to relieve this sore issue. To emphasize, immersive technologies, here, VR/AR/XR, cannot as such provide fully satisfactory solutions for complex human issue of loneliness. However, as a range of solutions for socially assistive robot technologies have already been proposed by others, it may be appropriate to balance the so far technology-dominated discussion with the deeply human approach of storytelling. The talk outlines efforts to combine the art of interactive audiovisual storytelling with already existing advanced technologies to explore the interconnections between loneliness and technology. It discusses empowering solutions to loneliness, while being mindful of technological determinism.

ECREA’s Executive Board and the Local Organizing Committee of the 2020 ECC in Braga are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic as we are concerned about the health and well-being of our members and conference attendees. The conference dates (2-5 October, 2020) remain unchanged at the present time but we wish to announce changes to the deadline for the acceptance of invitations and the registration period to take account of this period of uncertainty and give you more time to make decisions about attendance. We would greatly appreciate it if you could log in through the link below and confirm or decline the presentation of your paper at the conference. The new deadline for your decision is June 15, 2020. Registration will open on June 15, 2020 and the early bird registration will be correspondingly extended. To reiterate, our intention at present is to go ahead with the physical conference in October but we will review this on an ongoing basis as well as engaging in contingency planning. We are not contemplating a virtual conference as an alternative to the physical conference.

Please take care of yourself, your family and your loved ones. Further updates will follow in due course.

ABSTRACT REVIEW RESULTS:

Link: https://www.czech-in.org/cmPortalV15/Portal/ECC20/normal

 

 

NECS conference – Panel on “Transitions: Moving Images and Bodies”

Paper Presentation accepted to NECS conference – Postponed 2021 (covid-19)

Transitions: Moving Images and Bodies

18–20 June 2020
Hosted by the University of Palermo

Panel members: Ian Christie, Ana Olenina, Julia Vassilieva, Pia Tikka

Conference cancelled due to cover-19.

Pia Tikka:
 
Luria-Eisenstein experiment of embodiment re-enacted in virtual reality 
This talk discusses the practical revival of the psychological experiment that Alexander Luria and Sergei Eisenstein conducted a century ago into a virtual reality (VR) setup. The experiment, that applied hypnosis to subjects in order to study the linkage between sensorimotor behavior and mental states, was rediscovered by Julia Vassilieva in 201#.
The talk has several goals: 
(1) To highlight the parachronic nature of theoretical discoveries: As proposed in my Enactive Cinema: Simulatorium Eisensteinense (2008, 42), theoretical ideas have the tendency to re-emerge anew in cycles, adapted to the current context again and again. Even today’s embodied mind approach has its roots deep in the theoretical ideas of historical practitioners in arts and sciences, such as Luria and Eisenstein. 
(2) To address significant paradigmatic overlaps: The re-enacted experiment allows identifying common grounds between the psychoanalytical ideas as it was conceived of as in the Luria-Eisenstein experiment and the neuro-phenomenological approach introduced by Francisco Varela in 1996. Furthermore, it allows relating Raymond Bellour’s idea of the hypnotic nature of cinematic experience (2009) to the experience of immersion in virtual reality settings, as also discussed recently by Marie-Laure Cazin (unpublished thesis 2020). 
(3) To reconfigure the practical set-up of the Luria-Eisenstein experiment by means of VR with a focus on comparing the methodologies of producing immersive experience in their time and today.
In sum, following the original protocol reported by Luria and Eisenstein, the re-enacted experiment extrapolates the theoretical ideas of Eisenstein-Luria collaboration onto the 21st century art-science context.

https://necs.org

A talk at the Forum on Arts & Social Robotics in Hong Kong

Invited talk by Pia Tikka at the Hong Kong Forum Nov 2, 2019.

Hong Kong Baptist University will be partnering with the Consul General of France and the Alliance Francaise to mount an exhibition and a forum, October 31 – November 2, 2019.

The exhibition will focus on the work of the French artist Yves Gellie, specifically his photographs and films related to social robotics and artificial empathy. (t.b.c.)

Hong Kong offers possibilities to play with Sophia from Hanson Robotics.

 

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 State of Darkness: Master’s Class at the ZHdK

 

VR installation The State of Darkness exhibited at the ZHdK Sept 28–30.

Master Class by Victor Pardinho 28 Aug

Master’s Class by Victor Pardinho at the ZHdK September 28,2019

Topic:

Volumetric intelligence: A framework for the creation of interactive volumetric captured characters.

 

In this workshop, the author will introduce a framework for virtual characters based on the volumetric scanning of real actors and 3D real-time engines. Participants will have an opportunity to check the system used at “The State of Darkness”, a biosensor driven VR art installation where human and non-human narratives coexist. The structure of the meeting is flexible and can be adjusted accordingly to the participant’s interests. We will discuss topics such as 3D asset workflows, real-time engines, volumetric capture and the design and production of XR experiences.

 

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.

 

VRHAM — Virtual Reality & Arts Festival Hamburg

With Piotr Winiewicz (in image) and Mads Damsbo at the VRHAM! (Virtual Reality & Arts Festival Hamburg), the Germany’s first international Festival for Virtual Reality Art. Established by Ulrich Schrauth in Hamburg in 2018, VRHAM! opened its doors for the second time, from 7 – 15 June 2019, in Hamburg’s Oberhafenquartier. Under the year’s motto “DIS:SOLUTION” a large selection of extraordinary Virtual Reality experiences and live performances by contemporary artists was presented.

Image: Cinematographer and my doctoral student Sampsa Huttunen (University of Helsinki) exploring the Augmented Reality work by–

0AR
AOI NAKAMURA, ESTEBAN FOURMI, UK, 2018

Experiencing 0AR communally via three connected devices, audiences are encouraged to explore, move around the space and interact where their actions have a unique influence within the performance. 0AR is based on seminal masterpiece zero degrees (2005), a collaboration between dancers/choreographers Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, sculptor Antony Gormley and composer Nitin Sawhney.

Below a selection of other exciting  VR works:

DAS TOTALE TANZ THEATER

INTERACTIVE MEDIA FOUNDATION & FILMTANK, GERMANY, 2019

Who are humans in the age of technology? What role do they play and how do they interact with the machines that surround them? These types of questions were already negotiated at the Bauhaus 100 years ago. DAS TOTALE TANZ THEATER frames these questions today in the context of the development of artificial intelligence by staging a virtual reality dance experience.

LAST WHISPERS: AN IMMERSIVE ORATORIO

LENA HERZOG, USA, 2018/2019

At an unprecedented speed faster than the extinction of most endangered species, we are losing our linguistic diversity—and the very means by which we know ourselves. This immersive oratorio is an invocation of the languages that have gone extinct and an incantation of those that are endangered.

CLAUDE MONET – THE WATER LILY OBSESSION

NICOLAS THÉPOT, FRANCE, 2018

From 1899 to 1926, Claude Monet painted more than 250 scenes devoted to the water lily theme, which became what he himself called “an obsession.” This contemplative VR experience invites the user on a sensory journey starting off in Claude Monet’s garden, stopping along the way at the workshop of the artist and ending in the exhibition rooms of the Orangerie Museum.

VESTIGE

AARON BRADBURY, UK/USA/FRANCE, 2018

Vestige is a room-scale VR creative documentary that uses multi-narrative and volumetric live capture to take the viewer on a journey into the mind of Lisa as she remembers her lost love, Erik.

EEVR @ EKA Estonian Art Academy

EEVR nr 23 tuleb EKAs!

Estonian Virtual Reality Community meeting at the EKA Estonian Art Academy June 8, 2019.

Image: The Head of the VR Lab, teaching staff, and specialist tutor Johanna Jõekalda, presenting the EKA’s student projects that have applied biosensor data for studying the participant experience.

 

Program in Estonian:

Enne suurt suve vaatame üle Eesti Kunstiakadeemia VR Labori ja kuulame/proovime palju huvitavat. Kohtumisel tutvustatakse EKA VR Laboris möödunud aasta jooksul läbi viidud kursuseid (Johanna Jõekalda), VRi rakendusvõimalusi disainiprotsessis (Artur Staškevitš) ning VR-prillide uut tähte Oculus Questi (Kristjan Oliver Kuus). Olete oodatud mõtteid vahetama!

12:00 Esitlused:
– EKA VR Labori kursused (Johanna Jõekalda)
https://www.artun.ee/erialad/arhitektuur-ja-linnaplaneerimine/vr-labor/
– VR tehnoloogiate kasutus projekteerimistöös (Artur Staškevitš)
http://arturstashkevitsh.berta.me/
– Oculus Questi esmamuljed (Kristjan Oliver Kruus)

13:30 Demod:
– EKA VR Labori projektid
– Oculus Quest
– TASE lõputööde näituse VR projektid

Ürituse järel soovi korral ringkäik EKA uues majas ja TASE lõputööde näitusel.

Sissepääs peauksest aadressil Põhja puiestee 7. Üritus toimub 4. korrusel arhitektuuriosakonna ruumides.