VIRTUAL DJ - DETAILED DESCRIPTION
At it's core Virtual DJ is decidedly "pop," both in it's use of this inexpensive and user-friendly system, and in it's focus on dance-based electronica. Eschewing the elitism and over-complexity of CAVE- and helmet-based virtual reality, Virtual DJ instead opts for a garage-VR that can be both comprehended and afforded by a much larger audience. The result is similar to a room-sized theremin combined with a light-organ and an interactive game.
Virtual DJ uses two motion-trackers, one controlling drum and bass, and the second controlling melodies and samples. Borrowing a metaphor from gaming, the piece employs multiple levels of difficulty, with each successive level becoming more complex as the piece progresses. Hot spots in each level allow one user to move the piece to the next level. In addition, certain motions have been standarized to create specific sound effects: raising the hand in the melody tracker usually results in a rising melody, raising the drum and bass tracker results in a change of drum patterns. Similarly lights are used to give the users a physical sense of the sound zones in the room: when users move within sound zones lights dynamically change in synch with their movements.
Currently a network performance between Steve Gibson at University of Victoria and Dene Grigar at Texas Woman's University has been tested. In this performance Dene controls the sound and light of the melody tracker in Victoria. Using Apple's iChat software and a camera she sees a projected image of the room in Victoria and hears how she is affecting the audio there. Similarly Steve sees Dene's projected image in his Victoria studio and can infer her movements by a light which moves in a ghostly manner in response to her movements.
Please go to the Virtual DJ video gallery for examples of the network- and other performances.