Alize in Wonderland

Wonderland 1Wonderland 2Wonderland 3Wonderland 4

Wonderland by Johannes von Matuschka and Daniel Michelis is an experimental theater piece, based on Alice in Wonderland. It premiered at Café Schaubühne on Frideay (June 8, 2007).

Wonderland and it’s residents are represented by 4 live projections of Second Life while Alice is performed by a real actress (Ina Tempel) and an avatar (Alize). In the first scene Alice is horrified because her size of her body changes multiple times, but never back to normal. The scene is illustrated with the “Edit Appearance” dialog of Second Life. It’s such an obvious choice, that it is bit embarrassing to watch (Obvious choices in art insult the audience’s intelligence!). It also reminds of a Second Life demo. With her screaming and over-acting Ina Tempel does everything to increase the embarrassment. I don’t want to go too much into real theater critique here. One could criticize many of the formal choices of Wonderland, especially when it comes to how the text chat is used (the actress often repeats the text in the chat). The multiple Second Life projections could be used for breaking up the narrative and for parallel storytelling. And of course the Second Life stage design should have had more of a surrealistic quality (it lookes like the designers concentrated mostly on the avatars). All that said, one must admit that the combination of a theater and live projections of performances inside computer games worked. Computer games and online worlds in theater can be more than just a cheap effect. As machinima film productions have shown, computer games allow for designing scenes with comparatively small budgets and much artistic freedom. Theater can be more a more experimental art form than film and it would be quite strange, if we wouldn’t see interesting productions in the near future. Computer games and especially online games seem a more natural choice in theater than video projections (which are quite usual in contemporary theater). Computer games allow real improvisation and in online worlds it is even possible to integrate interaction with residents who have no idea that they are in a theater play with 150 people watching them.

Re-enactment of traditional May 1 re-enactments in New Berlin

Police blocking Alex

[...] Wie aus sicheren Quellen verlautet formieren sich derzeit zwei feindlich gegenüberstehende Gruppierungen -€“ Polizisten und Autonome -, deren Zusammentreffen auf dem Alexanderplatz in newBERLIN unvermeidbar scheint. Der Höhepunkt der Ausschreitungen wird gegen 17.00 Uhr erwartet.

Apparently there are plans to re-enact the traditional May 1 riots that have haunted Berlin in the last 20 years in Second Life (newBerlin). Having turned into a ritual the May 1 riots in old Berlin are pretty much re-enactments themselves.

Real riots in virtual worlds would of course look quite different. We have seen hacker attacks on Servers, but they are usually not politically motivated. Arguably protests that slowed down the FN headquarters and maybe even the famous penis attack on Anshe Chung are exceptions. Compared to the May 1 riots in old Berlin one can imagine a reverse development in SL: They begin as re-enactments and will become authentic in the next years. The equivalent of hooligans hiding amongst peaceful protesters would in SL be hooligans with coding skills hiding amongst hooligans without.