Participatory movement and virtual reality experience
Bringing together an experienced team of professional dancers whose individual practices contribute to the delivery of the work, Soma combines the skills of creative technologist Clarice Hilton, creative technology studio All Seeing Eye, and interactive sound and composition designs from Tom Mitchell and Joseph Hyde. The project is funded by Arts Council England and The Brigstow Institute at the University of Bristol.
Soma presents a new way of experiencing and integrating VR technologies into performance by going beyond the common use of VR as a form of escapism, and instead showing how technologies can be used as tools that enhance our connection with our bodies, each other and the world around us.
“I think there was something happening within me - it’s like I was waking up.”– Participant
An important focus within the piece is exploring the perception gap between seeing and feeling; typically, when a participant steps into a virtual environment using VR technologies, there is a discrepancy between the seen visual virtual world and the felt physical exchanges between bodies and the environment.
VR artists and technologists often try to hide this gap to align all sensory information under the visual, as a single reality – in contrast, Soma invites participants to explore the felt as a parallel mode for being in the world alongside the seen.
During unprecedented times of climate emergency, persistent individualism and increasingly divisive politics, Soma provides the space and time for us to listen to our own bodies. A vital opportunity for us to experience new ways of being together, heightening our awareness of the environments around us in a way that feels urgent and refreshing.
Soma will be launched in January 2020 and will be available for onwards touring beyond this. For information about the launch event…
“The entire time, given the complexity and sort of possibility of it, there was no doubt from me at any stage that we were held and looked after and the risks were understood and being borne by the team.”– Participant