World Premiere: Click Here For Files

Welcome to the initial results of a collaboration between the writer and artist Alan Sondheim and two research centers at WVU, the Center for Literary Computing (CLC) and the Virtual Environments Lab (VEL). Sondheim visited WVU during June and July 2004 to begin initial research on a project entitled "World Premiere: The Phenomenology of the Virtual." We are pleased to present some of the video, audio, and still images resulting from this work. Other aspects of the project include an art installation and public discussions. This is a ongoing exploration: more files will be added, included commentary and theoretical writings.

Sondheim produced many of these works through creative mis-use and adaption of the motion capture technologies at the VEL. Using the technology against the grain, Sondheim disrupted and re-distributed built-in assumptions about the imaging and integrity of the human body and the capture of the "real." The results are beautiful and moving, both alien and very human, enigmatic and intimate. If these are works about the liveness of technological codings and protocols, they equally work rooted in a particular place - West Virginia. Sondheim continually records his interactions and travels in and around Morgantown, and the images and sounds of West Virginia are integrated into this work. The project is as much about the very real and local as it is about the virtual, and this is its interest and intensity.

- Sandy Baldwin Assistant Professor of English/CLC Director


The selection of materials includes finished work, 'miniatures' of finished work, and raw materials. Most of the still images are 'raw,' and resonate with me; they find their way into other pieces. There are images of the July/August installation at the Paul Mesaros Gallery of West Virginia University; there are also images of the motion capture equipment at work, as well as landscape/town shots.

There are two sample .bvh files which feed into the videos through Poser 4 and Poser 5 applications.

The texts are my current writing, some of which is on motion capture and other relevant concerns.

I wish to thank Sandy Baldwin, the two interns working with me (from the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program), Terri Markle and Jorge Fuentes, as well as Frances van Scoy from the Virtual Environments Laboratory.

And thank you for looking at the materials here.

- Alan Sondheim