We're doing a real concert!
In their piece Tapetentür (Wallpaper Door) from the 2020 album No Future Days, Messer sing: "Entering a room / Means disappearing into it. That's what they do in the course of their avatar concert in the Digital Castle - and then again, they don't: the room changes them, turns people into avatars. Designed by Gloria Schulz, Messer play in the digital space and thus explore how concerts can look in streaming beyond the mere filming of a concert stage. The audience can watch with or without VR glasses and move with their own avatars.
We all miss real concerts - can something like that work digitally at all?
Messer is a post-punk band. Their concerts live from a rough atmosphere, in which the music and the lyrics of Hendrik Otremba can push forward. Really close to the people. How is something like that supposed to work in a digital space simulated on a computer screen? Gloria took on this challenge and, together with Messer and Jenny Bohn from the Digital Burg - Centre for Literature Burg Hülshoff, designed a digital implementation: The band has to be present as avatars in the room and play live. On the one hand, the singer as the main communicator with the audience should be present in the VR space himself in order to perceive the avatars of the audience as spatially as possible. And he should also be present in the audience as a moving avatar with hand movements, so that people feel that he is singing live to them.
In addition, the musicians should also be visible in the room as a video livestream to clearly show the VR-inexperienced among the visitors what is happening. The implementation in Mozilla Hubs was obvious, because it is the lowest-threshold among the VR platforms and also relatively easy to design yourself. Gloria built two rooms from images and scenes from Messer's texts, one cramped and dystopian, the other expansive and deserted. In both rooms black and white alienated video live streams from the studio space in Münster were streamed. The singer wore Oculus glasses with which he could look around the room and approach audience avatars. The partly more than 80 visitors:inside put the capacities to a hard test! In the room itself, only about 15 to 20 avatars could be active, but from the lobby, the visitors could be well along. Especially the sound, which had caused many worries in the meantime, was appreciated by many concert visitors, and they also danced a lot!
Translation to digital space & design: Gloria Schulz (Studio für unendliche Möglichkeiten)
Concept: Jenny Bohn (CfL), Hendrik Otremba, Gloria Schulz ( Studio für unendliche Möglichkeiten)