PI: Anne Deane
Funding Agency: ISU - Vice Provost for Research & Advanced Studies
[Ashes to Ashes]
Summary: A memorial to the victims and survivors of September 11 being developed at Iowa State University will meld art and science. The memorial, called Ashes to Ashes, will be a virtual reality, or immersive sonic environment, featuring music, virtual dancers and the voices of New York City residents. Ashes to Ashes will be about hope. The plan is to give New Yorkers a permanent interactive exhibit where future visitors also will be able to record their recollections, to create an archive of thousands of New Yorkers' experiences of that time for all future generations. The exhibit uses a new medium blending the arts and virtual reality. Visitors to Ashes to Ashes will be encouraged to gesture or even dance. Their movements will trigger synthetic dancers, who will move to the sounds of music and voices. The voices belong to New York City residents. Ashes to Ashes is being developed with Valerie Williams, director of CoMotion Dance Theater in Ames. Williams will work with Iowa State student dancers to create dances for the project. The movements of the dancers will be videotaped, then turned into 2-D graphic silhouettes, which will be the only images in the virtual environment. Under Cruz-Neira's direction, ISU students are integrating dance video with computer graphics and programming the interactive portions of the performance. The ISU group is working with Steve Berman and Larry Tuch, two Los Angeles-based experts on virtual reality and new media.