#1051: Co-Evolution of the Volumetric Performance Toolbox and “Suga” Dance Performance about the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Caribbean

Suga’: A Live Virtual Dance Performance was a live performance in Mozilla Hubs that premiered at SIGGRAPH 2021 and also screened at the Sundance New Frontier 2022. This project tells the story of rebellion, resistance, and resilience of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Caribbean by blending different genres of live dance performance, guided tour, and environmental storytelling. They used OpenHeritage3D LIDAR scans of the Annaberg Sugar Mill in St John, U.S. Virgin Islands that are down converted into point-cloud representations that can be seen within a WebXR Social VR context in Mozilla Hubs.

It is also a project that co-evolved from the development of a self-contained, low-cost, volumetric capture solution called the Volumetric Performance Toolbox, which was a part of Eyebeam’s Rapid Response residency program in collaboration with Suga’ project lead Valencia James and Glowbox’s Thomas Wester. The design of the Volumetric Performance Toolbox was to create an affordable solution for performers that didn’t require any specific hardware (like a Windows computer like an Azure Kinect). It includes a Raspberry Pi 4, Intel RealSense camera, and a microphone all mounter on a small tripod that can directly connect to WiFi to stream volumetric performance data over the Internet, which is eventually displayed within a Mozilla Hubs scene.

I had a chance to unpack the journey of creating both the Volumetric Performance Toolbox and Suga’ with James, Wester, and collaborator Simon Boas on January 21, 2022.


Here’s a trailer for Suga’: A Live Virtual Dance Performance

Here’s James’ Sundance Artist Statement

Here’s more information about the Volumetric Performance Toolbox from the Eyebeam Rapid Response residency.

This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality