The Running Nude: Narrative Mistakes of a Generative VR Experience


Session Title:

  • Machine Flaws in Generative Art

Presentation Title:

  • The Running Nude: Narrative Mistakes of a Generative VR Experience




  • The Running Nude is a generative VR experience inspired by the early chronophotographs of human body in motion. It renders a running nude figure in a 3D game engine by making use of generative storytelling, machine learning and invasive effects that the VR experience can have on users’ perception. Numerous artworks and approaches that are referenced and appropriated in this work include dadaist poetry, Queneau’s literature influenced by mathematics, Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, and Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell. The core narrative aspect of the project consists of stories created by tinkering with the recurrent neural network (RNN) Neural Storyteller.

    This machine learning system is trained to write a romantic story based on an image that it analyzes [9]. Multiple stories generated by this creative machine were used as voice over whispered in the style of Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) recording. The generated narratives sound like fragmented memories of the running nude. This element of the project also functions as a layer of the digital VR world capable of piercing transversally the membranes of physical reality and that way making this artwork permeable. By using pseudo-random functions, the system determines and generates the music, sounds, points of view, as well as the flexibility and properties of the nude’s animation rig/skeleton.

    Orchestrating and controlling these elements with random logic, as well as enabling the system to make creative decisions, unveil the Frankensteinesque nature of the created character and the whole project. Its overall narrative architecture enables users to observe the running nude, to become one, and to experience traversing through nudes’ ghostly figures and imprints located inside the 3D digital world. These visceral encounters connect the VR experience with the early beginnings of film and experiments conducted by Étienne-Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge.