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“The Other in You”, a VR installation between dance and technology by Richi Owaki at YCAM in Japan

Richi Owaki

"The Other in You" - Richi Owaki - YCAM

Until March 11, 2018, the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media presents “The Other in You”, a new installation created by artist Richi Owaki in collaboration with YCAM. “The Other in You” is a virtual reality (VR) installation, which explores ideas of dance and body in an environment marked by modern technologies.

The movement of the dancer is captured with a motion capture system. The data is converted into 3DCG to create virtual dancers covered with black skin. Using VR technology, the views of the audience move freely during the performance and the dancers get very close to the audience̶an unlikely situation with ordinary dance theater. In addition, screened by 3D sensor cameras, the audience members themselves virtually come to appear in the VR images.

The work is based on Owakiʼs meditations on the dance theater audience. Often, audiences are required to stay in fixed seats in the dark and quietly watch the stage. However, this is a recent phenomenon. It became the norm only after the modern theater system was established. The “Other in You” sheds light on the physicality of the audience which we, including the audience themselves, have forgotten along the way. At some point during the performance, the point of sight of the viewer leaves their own body and they see themselves from above. This out-ofbody sensation is a unique experience VR offers.

Playing with this phenomenon, Owaki challenges the idea of “selfness.” The body we are seeing moves the same way as we move behind the helmet, but there is a sense that that body isnʼt really our body. For Owaki, watching dance is an act of “seeking others in oneself” or “oneself in others.” The title suggests we are not divided from each other, but rather an extension of one another.

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