In 2016, after more than 20 years of contemporary dance creation our company started to explore the new digital spaces for contemporary dance with the 3D movie WOMB. Impressed by the recent progresses in motion capture technology we embarked in the creation of digital projects in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (XR). Our first digital piece VR_I (2017), an award-winning dance piece in immersive Virtual Reality for 5 spectators, toured extensively around the world establishing a model for the diffusion of location-based dance piece in VR. With Magic Windows (2019) and Dance Trail (2020) we explored the possibilities of augmented reality and the diffusion of digital dances into the real world through an app for smartphones. With La Comédie Virtuelle, the virtual model of a real theater in Geneva (2019) we envisioned a functional virtual theater for the XXI century. Real Time (2020), a stage duo with live motion capture was a project embedding digital worlds into a stage performance. In March 2020 when the first lockdown kicked in we decided to cancel our stage projecs and go full digital, focusing on real time technology for remote collaboration and performance. We developed or own digital platform to create independent collaborations and performances, in real time, without the limits of geographical and political borders. Our technology can invite any dancer under any motion capture equipment from anywhere in the world to dance together in a same 3D space accessible for a multi-user audience.
In this talk I will present the different digital dance projects we have created in the last few years and how collaborative projects such as Virtual Crossings can offer new possibilities for the performing arts. If motion capture can be a tool for creation it can also be used for the archival and study of dances and movements. The digitalization is not shared evenly in our modern society. By sharing hardware resources and knowledge, through networked technology, open source software and low fi and recycled solutions we can challenge the problem of the digital divide. We will discuss how motion capture technology can improve the inclusivity of different dances of different origins and create new international networks of movement-based collaborations. In a world of sanitary uncertainty and traveling difficulties, real time collaborations at a distance and in movement, offer new possibilities to the new problems of the performing arts.
Gilles Jobin is an internationally renowned choreographer that has created some twenty dance pieces since 1995 which have earned him critical as well as public acclaim. In 2015 he received the 2015 Swiss Grand Award for Dance by the Federal Office of Culture from Federal Councillor Alain Berset.
Fascinated with new image technologies, Jobin made a 3D film in 2016, WOMB. One year later, he created VR_I a dance piece in immersive virtual reality which was awarded a prize at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal. The work has featured in more than 40 venues around the world, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Venice International Film Festival and the Dance Biennale in Lyon. Two augmented reality projects followed in 2019, Magic Window and Dance Trail in 2020. That same year his team creates a digital model of a real theatre under construction in Geneva, La Comédie de Genève. Gilles Jobin and his team offered La Comédie Virtuelle, a multi-user VR experience that would enable the public to visit a bustling new Eaux-Vives building, the piece was presented in competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival 2020.
Cie Gilles Jobin presented during the festival a daily live show in real time, La Comédie Virtuelle – Live show, with 5 dancers from Switzerland, India, Australia. In 2021, he created Cosmogony, a mapping / video installation using motion capture in real time, in which virtual dancers appear locally being remotely motion captured from the studio in Geneva to the venue. With his VR and AR projects, Jobin addresses the issue of content creation for these new technologies from the viewpoint of performing arts.
Victoria Chiu trained at the VCA, Melbourne, Australia. Chiu’s practice investigates physicalising concepts in relation to histories of self, peoples and place and she works at intersections of dance, screen and technology. Chiu’s work is culturally significant and will continue giving voice to diverse bodies as they contribute to today’s global movement landscape.
Chiu has collaborated, performed and toured extensively with European and Australian companies Cie Gilles Jobin, Micha Purucker, Cie Nomades, Jozsef Trefeli, RDYSTDY, Rudi Van Der Merwe, Candy Bowers, Linda Sastradipradja, Fiona Malone, Bernadette Walong, Australian Dance Theatre for Superstars of Dance and Cate Consandine. Collectively her choreographic work including The Ballad of Herbie Cox, Floored, Do You Speak Chinese?, Fire Monkey, Grotto, Viral and What Happened In Shanghai, Genetrix and Soursweet have been presented in Europe, North America, China and Australia.
She has performed for Cie Gilles Jobin in Double Deux (2006), VR_I (2017) and MAGIC WINDOW (2019), Dance Trail (2020), la Comédie Virtuelle (2020).This project is selected at the 77th Venice International Film Festival and, in this context, she dances for La Comédie Virtuelle – live show.