Amanda Waddell

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Currently I am a senior at the University of Southern California, working on a project that will transform the Internet into a virtual theatrical space (i.e. Theatre in Cyperspace). By using an application called Second Life and the interactive capabilities of the Wii remote, I hope to produce performances online for a live, virtual and global audience.

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The way in which technology can bridge global distances is indeed a pragmatic phenomenon of the 21st century. After a semester of studying abroad in Japan, I’ve been using a program called Skype non-stop to communicate with friends an ocean away. However, this inter-connectivity can also be used to proliferate artistic collaboration across the globe. Rather than the blind assumption of another culture’s practice for hap hazardous artistic expression, the Internet provides a space in which new forms of art can be devised through collaboration. Moreover, artistic collaborations (due to social networking sites and the like) can be exhibited world wide instantaneously. To some extent, the Internet has been used to unleash artistic potential; for example, the website deviantart that allows individual artists to display a gallery of their work. These multitudinous galleries not only showcase, but also inspire millions of other artists (or part-time dabblers) in proliferating the arts.

The project I am currently working on utilizes the Internet’s communicative nature to create a virtual performance space in Second Life. This performance space, however, is not just a figurative representation of a theater, but rather an actual performance space made virtual. In other words, actors can control virtual avatars of themselves in a real theater, while acting out the play in a virtual space. In practice, these two spaces run parallel displaying the actions of the play simultaneously in two different spheres to two different audiences (a virtual and live audience). Likewise, this is not a solo display of one person’s artistic vision, but rather a cast, crew and audience composed of both virtual avatars and humans cooperating together. Hopefully, this project will enlarge our view of the Internet’s capabilities in the arts.

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