Rio Olympics showcases SFU virtual reality dance installation

Aug 10 2016, 1:06 am

An art installation created by two SFU students, featuring dance, music and virtual reality, is being showcased at the Rio Olympics.

P.O.E.M.A. was thought up by PhD students Mirjana Prpa and Kıvanç Tatar, with Regina Miranda, a choreographic theatre director based in New York.

The one-of-a-kind installation includes an offstage performer, who wears an Oculus Rift headset to interact with a virtual ocean environment through their breathing.

Depending on the performer’s breathing, they can be underwater or above water looking at the waves.

Their breathing also generates accompanying music in real-time; the environment and music can be meditative, or harsh and threatening.

“The idea is, as you breathe slower, the audio and environment should become less eventful and things should settle down a bit,” said Tatar in a release.

“And as you breathe faster, everything becomes more eventful.”

The virtual reality created by the wearer is brought to the audience on a big screen behind a stage, where dancers perform choreography adapted to the environment.

Dancers performing as part of P.O.E.M.A. in Rio (Adriano Fagundes/SFU)

Dancers performing as part of P.O.E.M.A. in Rio (Adriano Fagundes/SFU)

P.O.E.M.A. is intended to explore the link between space and audience, and synchronize space and audience through breathing.

“It is a very stimulating and personal experience, and it’s up to you to decide where it’s going take you,” said Prpa.

“That’s the most beautiful thing about this piece.”

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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