Prague-based artist duo Mária Júdová and Andrej Boleslavský have been investigating the creative potential of technology for over a decade. Their work combines the exploration of technologically informed dance practices with participatory performances, body movement, and time and space.

Their latest work, DUST, is a multidisciplinary project that aims to transform the way people see and experience contemporary dance through an immersive Virtual Reality experience.

In their Lunchtime Talk, Mária and Andrej talked us through the process of research and development so far.

Here are five headlines:

  • Prior to DUST, Mária and Andrej explored visualising the biometric data of a dancer by attaching sensors to the dancer’s body and feeding back the data collected in real-time. This enabled the dancer to respond to and improvise with their own data through movement. They found that the data sets were so large it was difficult for the dancer to process it quickly in a meaningful way.

  • In DUST, they collaborated with dancers, choreographers and coders in an iterative process to quickly generate and test ideas using volumetric capture to record a dance performance and present it to an audience in VR. You can see the volumetric capture set up here.

  • Mária and Andrej are interested in exploring the notion of presence when experiencing dance through VR as opposed to a traditional theatre setting. VR users have a physical presence within the virtual world, enabling them to interact with the performer in new ways. In VR you are not restricted to the same laws of physics, the audience can embody any point of view.

  • In DUST, the audience member is a dust particle floating around the dancer in virtual space. Through experimentation with presence, perspective and physical immersion, DUST gives its audience a unique perspective.

  • Audience members responded to DUST in a variety ways - some people tried to touch the dancer, others tried to avoid any virtual touch with the dancer and some people were physically moving and improvising along with the performance.

Studio themes