rez Magazine May 2015 - Page 55

... appeared to come to life before my eyes. The movements and the “steps” in the dance were perfectly timed with the music, giving it a sense of beauty and grace that had been lacking in the previous numbers. As I glanced around the room and monitored local chat, I noticed I wasn’t the only one captivated by what was happening on stage. In an era where live performance continues to lose audiences to technology (to those that prefer an evening at home on our iPads to an evening in the theatre), I began to marvel that people were actually sitting in front of their computer screens experiencing something akin to “live” performance. The show soon ended and the cast and audience convened on an adjacent dance floor where everyone continued to dance the night away. Chrissy’s performance continued to stay with me throughout the evening and on into the next day. I found myself sitting at my desk at work thinking back on the performance the night before – remembering the audience, the performers, and the obvious connection Chrissy had made with individual audience members in the theatre. I mused that this might be the future of art in our everyday lives, and I remembered the current trend of lagging ticket sales at box offices around the country and around the world. I began to wonder if the arts in Second Life had the same issues and struggles as the arts in real life. Are there “best practices” in the real world that might be transferred into a virtual world? Are there lessons to be learned in the Real World that may, as of now, only exist in a virtual world? After a lifetime of interpreting data from audiences in the Real World, I had a strong hunch that I might actually come to a better understanding of how audiences and performers interface by studying their relationship in a virtual world unencumbered by societal hierarchy. My curiosity led me to conversations with the few people that I knew to be involved in the Second Life dance world. I spoke often to a producer that