The Virtual Audience: Cinematic authors and actors live far removed from their audience. Performances and visual decisions are made and fixed months or years before an audience sees them. In the live theater, audience has always been present: sometimes disruptive, and always a critical element of “closing the emotional loop” of a story. Where do virtual worlds live on this continuum? Who are and where is the immersed post-cinematic audience?
Tawny Schlieski is a research scientist and media expert in the Intel Experience Group, and the chairman of Oregon Story Board, an organization dedicated to advancing the digital storytelling industry in Oregon. Her work centers on new storytelling capabilities enabled by emergent technologies, including rethinking creativity and collaboration, new forms of creation and play, immersive engagement, and multi-media story platforms.
Tawny has a master’s degree in political science from Duke University, and has studied and worked in the theater throughout her career.
Kathi Inman Berens, U.S. Fulbright Scholar of Digital Culture at the University of Bergen, works on digital interfaces, performance and liveness. Kathi pioneered classes in simultaneously virtual and face-to-face environments at the University of Southern California, where she's a member of the Annenberg Innovation Lab's Research Council. Kathi has curated and installed literary exhibits and live performances at the U.S. Library of Congress and other venues. Fall 2015, she joins the English department at Portland State University, where she'll teach digital humanities, transmedia and publishing.
Academy Award winner Dr. Mark Sagar is the director of the Laboratory for Animate Technologies at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. Mark is interested in bringing digital characters to life using artificial nervous systems to empower the next generation of human computer interaction. Mark’s laboratory is pioneering neurobehavioral animation that combines biologically based models of faces and neural systems to create live, naturally intelligent, and highly expressive interactive systems. Mark previously worked as the Special Projects Supervisor at Weta Digital and Sony Pictures Imageworks and developed technology for the characters in blockbusters such as Avatar, King Kong, and Spiderman 2. He has co-directed research and development for Pacific Title/Mirage and Life F/X Technologies which led groundbreaking development of realistic digital humans for film and eCommerce applications driven by artificial intelligence. His pioneering work in computer-generated faces was recognized with two consecutive Scientific and Engineering Oscars in 2010 and 2011. Dr. Sagar holds a Ph.D. in Bioengineering
The Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) is a cross-faculty research centre. Our research deals with the application of mathematical and engineering sciences to biology and human physiology.
Dr. Thomas Oberender, who was born in Jena in 1966, was appointed managing director of the Berliner Festspiele in 2012. From 2006 to 2011, he was theatre director at the Salzburg Festival. In 2005-06, he was head dramaturg and co-director of the Schauspielhaus Zürich and, from 2000 to 2005, head dramaturge and member of the artistic direction at the Schauspielhaus Bochum under Matthias Hartmann.
From 1988 to 2000, Oberender lived in Berlin, where he earned a doctorate at Humboldt Universität in 1999. In 1997, he was a co-founder of the author’s Association Theater Neuen Typs (Theater of a New Kind), which is dedicated to the dissemination of theatre texts by German-speaking authors.
He has written and translated plays, essays, theatre and literature criticism, and has realized projects for Expo 2000, the Ruhrtriennale (2004 and 2005), and the European Cultural Capital project “Ruhr 2010.”
He has published numerous books, including Leben auf Probe. Wie die Bühne zur Welt wird (Life is a Rehearsal: How the Stage Becomes a World; 2009), and Das schöne Fräulein Unbekannt. Gespräche über Theater, Kunst und Lebenszeit (The Lovely Miss Unknown: Discussions of Theater, Art, and Life; 2011), „Nebeneingang oder Haupteingang. Gespräche über 50 Jahre Schreiben fürs Theater“ (2014).
Wolfgang Bergmann was born in 1962 in Wiesbaden, Germany. After his studies in social anthropology, communication science and German studies he entered journalism and joined the public broadcast television ZDF in 1986. He worked with German-Suisse-Austrian culture channel 3sat as editor for theatre projects and as press officer in the field of public-relations.
Later he was head of the theatre and music-department and founder of the digital theatre channel of ZDF. Besides his work for ZDF, 3sat and theatre channel, he curated a performing arts festival called “FRANKENSTEIN – a theatre-monster” about men, machines and monsters in 1999. In 2008 he was the founding director of the theatre academy in Ludwigsburg. Since 2011 he is CEO of ARTE Germany and ZDF coordinator for the French-German culture channel ARTE, as well as president of the “groupe Musica ARTE”.
Beside his work for theatre and music, Wolfgang Bergmann coproduced numerous award-winning movies in 3D such as “PINA” by Wim Wenders and “Wacken in 3D” and developed several pioneering projects in interactive television such as “Piazza Virtuale” at documenta IX. Lately he initiated with “POLAR SEA” the first TV project combining traditional television storytelling with an interactive component involving a VR app with an immersive experience for mobile devices, GEAR VR and Oculus Rift, which is nominated for this year’s “Grimme Online Award”.