Samsara: A digital medium for theatrical storytelling using animation, robotics and immersive technology

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Session Title:

  • Technology (Papers)

Presentation Title:

  • Samsara: A digital medium for theatrical storytelling using animation, robotics and immersive technology

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Abstract:

  • This paper describes the use of contemporary technology to create a novel digital medium for theatrical storytelling. This involved integrating a team of creative technologists, animators, dancers, actors, storytellers, and production designers to create an immersive environment for electronic performance art. Samsara means reincarnation. Hindu and Buddhist philosophy embraces the concept of reincarnation as a way to learn, grow, and evolve. Samsara pulls inspiration from ancient morality fables found in the Panchatantra and the Jataka Tales. Five stories of reincarnation are portrayed: from an   elephant, to a monkey, to a bee, to a quail and finally to a lion. Each story was realized using a different set of robotic devices, animation, or wireless dance technology to create an immersive experience for the audience. For example, the mice in the stories are represented by ‘chattering’ of twenty dispersed mechanical ‘clappers’ in the audience seats, where as, the bee in the story is represented by 12 robotic spinning bees installed above the audience, moving from one location to the next. Where as 9 projection‑mapped screens portrayed animated characters that performed along a troop of 6 choreographed dancers. This new medium of custom technology, brought together a novel way to perform these stories in an unconventional manner. This paper discusses what was learned, and how to scale these technologies for digital performance venues in the future.

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