Several weeks ago, I wrote a column in which I speculated about the potential future uses of stereoscopic (3D) projection or imagery in live events. A number of readers immediately reminded me that stereoscopic displays, while not exactly old hat, have been used a number of times for live performance. Most of the examples given I had been aware of (except the Kiss concert--awesome!), but I had been thinking of the technology in a different context: that of mainstream entertainment. The question was ill-posed. It shouldn’t have been “Will we or have we seen stereoscopy in live events?” but “Will it become popular and economically feasible at a large scale?”
That being said, my respondents, particularly Mark Reaney of the University of Kansas and the Institute for the Exploration of Virtual Realities (i.e.V.R.), make a valid and important point. In a number of articles over the last couple of years, I have talked about the rich possibilities of research partnerships between entertainment technology companies and universities, but I was approaching the issue from the standpoint of technology development, not application.
Mark explained it brilliantly in an email to me, “What would happen if doctors ‘in practice’ neglected research done at universities. Medicine would grind to a halt, since that is where most cutting edge research is done. And, as you know, mostly free from demands of the box office, the most experimental theatre is often carried out in university settings.”
So for my next couple of columns, I will be focusing on bringing some new attention to organizations like i.e.V.R., companies that have been developing new theatrical applications for cutting-edge technologies. It’s quite a list. I plan on narrowing the field a bit by selecting subjects that have never shown up in the pages of Live Design. I don’t want to leave out potential candidates, so if you know of an organization or artist that fits this description, please comment below, or email me.