Friday, October 17, 2008

The RINGS (Homo Sapiens version 2.0) A protest rock opera

The RINGS is a work created in Second Life® by a multinational team within the Cybernetic Art Research Project (C.A.R.P). Josina Burgess, one of the minds behind the production tells that this has been developed through months of collaboration by a creative team drawn from Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Italy, France and the UK. Taking its principles from hyperfunctionalism as well as H.J.Krysmanski's Power Structure Research.

This team has put together an impeccable musical production which utilizes cutting edge technologies such as collaborative worldwide song composition/ recording/ mixing techniques, automatic audiovisual timeline controlling systems, flying seat systems as well as a 4d live-cut camera system and puppet animation record/play system.

Says Josina Burgess:

"Every scene has a real concrete RL Inspiration, not a formal one but more the content of it. The title RINGS comes from the Power Structure Research. We used as a content base the description of H.J Krysmanski. In the themes we added a 5th ring. In this ring are the victims of the system. The form we used always has to do with the themes from then. But it was never the goal or the intention to use styles from what ever direction. Better to use fitting formats that helped to understand the content of the message. We call that Hyperfunctionalism...

... All together this 4 ring system shows and describes the worldwide experimentation to re-organize the ruling class; that without a strong state and under the conditions of regulation of economic, collective forms have to survive. The absolutely designated personnel of this "Ring castle". In fact a few thousand in the outside ring, operates more and more in a environment of absolute corruption: "The relation of corruption in the Antiques and in Modern times towards world-relations were named as falsifications. Corruptions (as a statement) cant play any role in the governance forms of today, because they themselves are the substance and the totality of the Empire. Corruption is the true performing of commands, without any relation or adequate subscription to the Demimonde (Hardt u. Negri 2002, 398)."

The Rings is an impeccable production, which would do any Real Life theatrical venture proud; taking the fundamental concepts of Real Life scenography and stage production into a virtual dimension particularly through the usage of the controlled camera system. Indeed for me there were immediate Real Life associations, one being the Laterna Magika from Prague. Thus I could not help but wonder how it's creators Alfréd Radok and Josef Svoboda would have used the technology in relation to the multilingual social milieu of the metaverse.

The underlying premise of Laterna Magika was the seeking of a universal non-verbal theatrical language, which Radok and Svoboda considered to be of essence in view of the emergence of a global culture - and this as early as in the 1950's. Thus the entire lavishness of the stage constructions as well as the extensive usage of media elements were used to this end, i.e., they carried an inherent mission which went far beyond the pursuit of a merely spectacular visual display. Radok and Svoboda were in pursuit of developing a visual language of narrative, capable of expressing far more than the obvious: One of a level of sophistication and complexity that would render the spoken word obsolete in its ability to convey layers of meaning and narrative. So, I cannot help but wonder whether the theater producers of the metaverse might not give this consideration also: Today, in the metaverse we are indeed faced with a multi-lingual culture. The delightful neko designers whose devoted customer I am and whom I often try to engage in conversation are usually Japanese and not in good command of English. Another good example to this conundrum would be the colony of French Chris Marker aficionados that seems to have grown in my neighbor sim Ouvroir, which houses the Chris Marker exhibit of the Gestaltungsmuseum, Zurich. Again, I find that, more often than not, communication in English with these new neighbors proves to be a problematic proposition.

The visuals of the Ring are indeed beyond any reproach. The stage sets, the special effects, the usage of shape, texture and color satisfied even a stickler for perfection like myself. The animations that bring together the choreography are impressive and then most importantly the quality of the music is of such a level that I felt compelled to ask Josina Burgess additional questions with regard to its creation.

Having voiced my admiration for the production of the Rings - and again, I am truly impressed with the high level of professionalism and perfection here, I nonetheless have questions: The all important one is the reliance upon the spoken word to the extent that the performance does. And yet another one is the usage of an enclosed auditorium: Since we are in an environment where as far as creativity is concerned the sky seems to be the limit, why not take this into the very skies of Second Life? Or under the water? Or indeed both? Wouldn't this also not go towards some truly unexpected, if not downright magical usages of the controlled camera system which contributes so hugely to the viewing experience of the Rings?

This is a truly talented team of people that have put together a performance that is definitely a must see in Second Life. And in the end, I would love to see them move further into the development of a purely visually narrative language as well as into the realization of content material that is more in the nature of a free fall rather than one which materializes as the conveyance of a somewhat direct message. In short one that leaves more room for the associative, the ephemeral, the complex, the alluded. I have no doubt whatsoever that their combined creativity is more than amply equipped to accomplish even far more substantial feats than the mere realization of my hopes in this regard.

Here is a video by Gary Hazlitt and his Just Virtual Film of C.A.R.P.'s first musical production: The Wall, V-2

The all original score is the work of Junivers Stockholm (S) and Josina Burgess (NL), while the lyrics on which this is based too originate from Josina Burgess, together with Medora Chevalier (UK) and again Junivers Stockholm. Indeed looking at the credits list much of the creative momentum behind this work can be ascribed to Josina Burgess who has also been instrumental in the design of the sets and costumes and Junivers Stockholm who has also been effective in scripting and special effects, the script writing and direction to KoTW and camera directing. Velasquez Bonetto is the creative director/producer as well as the builder and scripter of the Rings. The songs are sung by Josina and Junivers working together from a distance by sending files over to each other from Holland to Sweden and vice versa. Other names involved in the creative effort are Debbie Trilling and Elfod Nemeth (both from the UK) for special effects, Caravaggio Bonetto (A) for scenario, building and graphics, Medora Chevalier (UK) for the concept of the King of the World song which she co-authored with Junivers Stcokholm, beyond which Medora was also the narrator, script and supervising editor to KoTW. Panorama photography has been undertaken by Jan van der Woning (NL), the animations by Sca Shilova (NL). The actors and dancers of the Ring are: Blanche Argus (S), Josina Burgess (NL), Medora Chevalier (UK), Klute Coppola (F), Efrantirise Morane (I), MillaMilla Noel (I), Junivers Stockholm (S), Sca Shilova (NL) and the sax was played by Jazzoru Otoole (S).


Arahan Claveau said...

I missed their production of The Wall, which I'm still gutted about, will have to make sure I don't miss this.

Alpha Auer said...

Hi arahan, I was told that there would be a performance of The Wall on the 25th of October. I am not precisely sure of the details, but I am sure it will be in the same space at NMC. Maybe someone else can help out here with the info related to that as well? Someone with a better memory than mine? Mind like sieve here, alas...

Arahan Claveau said...

Oh thanks a lot Alpha, if it is on that date I will endeavour to be there!

DebbieTrilling said...


The Cybernetic Art Research Project (CARP)are proud to announce that that 'The Wall V-2' will be performed in SL and broadcast to a live RL audience at Museum of Natural History at the University of Florence on 25th Oct 2008 2pm SLT

This performance is part of the Rinascimento Virtuale festival.

Prior to this live broadcast, we will have an Open Rehearsal.

Open Rehearsal:
Wednesday 22nd Oct at 2pm SLT PROMPT
(please arrive early)

Live Broadcast Performance:
Saturday 25th Oct at 2pm SLT PROMPT
(please arrive early)

Both the Open Rehearsal and the Live Broadcast will be performed at NMC Campus West at the following SLURL:

'The Wall V-2' has already been performed 30 times in SL to over 2200 avatars. We will be re-retiring the show after the performance on the 25th.

Thanks for this review, Alpha, and looking forward to meeting you again on the 25th :)

Debbie Trilling