Tempest in the Teahouse

Custom designed computers 12x12x1 inches, viewing stands and LCD screens 36x60x6 inches, fluid dynamic algorithms, motion sensing input devices & cameras.

Artist Statement

If a common denominator shared by technology and art is said to be unlimited content, then within these infinite subjectivities, neither medium is bound to single meaning or interpretation. "The Tempest in the Teahouse" performance addresses this concept in the context of a traditional place of social interaction - the teahouse.

Often framed as ephemeral and authentic, performance art may be random or orchestrated, with or without audience participation, live or mediated, with or without performers. Building on the artist's ongoing desire to blur the boundaries of body art and technology, this Augmented Reality Installation brings together movement, chanted Persian poetry, 3D graphic overlay, full body detection and fluid algorithms with public participation.

Here, the teahouse is purposefully romanticized as a space within which new realities are generated via human connectivity. The "Tempest in the Teahouse" ceremony choreographs the experience by positioning the participant between two visual perceptions. While the open space around the artist allows for "unmediated" observation, the two large live viewing stations located to the right and to the left of the artist act as windows onto an augmented- and adulterated - world of digital overlay. When ended, the performance space is given over to the participants who now have the opportunity to stand in for the artist who has stepped away. This shifting of positionality in a sense fractures the dynamics of power by encouraging participants to experience self - nterpretation through Augmented Reality as alternative masters of ceremony. The artist thus intentionally ribs his stance within the body of his work while establishing the relevance of Augmented Reality as an installation and performance medium.

Project Description

Two freestanding AR viewing stations will source 3D AR coding that will interact with the artist's movements as the tea ceremony unfolds. The performance can be appreciated through direct "unmediated" observation or experienced through the mediation of two AR "windows," thus embracing two experiences of the same live performance. Using motion sensing input devices and cameras, the artist's body is registered and tracked in real-time relative to the physical environment within the artist's immediate surroundings. In this performance, 3D graphic overlay, full body detection and fluid algorithms come together as the artist uses his body to interact with both the technology and with the participants.