in Nottingham in November 1999, Desert Rain has since
been seen in Karlsruhe, London, Bristol and Stockholm
and further presentations are planned around the world.
Responses from those who have explored its challenges
have been strikingly positive. As a critic wrote in
the Sunday Times, It's a powerful piece and it excites
curious emotions in the viewers.
members at a time enter the environment and are instructed
to find a target. Separated from each other in fabric
cubicles, the players have to negotiate a virtual desert
projected onto a rain curtain. Led later through the
spray and over a sand dune, the audience encounters
on a television screen the person who has been their
supposed target. Each such target has an association
with the Gulf Wars.
offers a disconcerting engagement with understandings
of warfare in todays mediatised world. Its shifting
plays with ideas of the virtual and the real, of technology
and nature, and of mass media and individual experience,
are all paralleled in the 'mixed reality' interface
technologies, most especially the physically permeable
rain curtain, developed especially for the production.
Desert Rain also sets up new kinds of relationships
and new forms of story telling between interacting audience
members. It confuses in productive ways conventional
understandings of who is a performer and who is the
viewer. And in its complex collision of computer games
with a critique of modern warfare, it both utilises
and challenges conventional ideas of narrative.
As an allusive,
participatory experience that satisfyingly integrates
virtual reality technology and pushes it beyond its
supposed limits, Desert Rain exemplifies many important
aspects of the art of tomorrow.
Staged Mixed Reality Performance
Mixed Reality Boundaries
Concept: Blast Theory (Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr, Nic
Tandavanitj, Jamie Iddon with Becky Edmunds)
Blast Theory with MRL at University of Nottingham, Communications Research Group (Steve
Benford, Chris Greenhalgh, Boriana Koleva, Ian Taylor),
(Technical staff of the Institute for Visual Media)
Events: NOW ninety9 festival, October 1999 in Nottingham;
November 1999 in Karlsruhe; 2000 in Bristol, London,