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The Avatar and Virtual Humanoids

Virtual Humanoids is a live and online art event plus multi-user internet site using the media of virtual reality, video, stills, text, song, soundscape, live and virtual art performance of small themes: pre-existence to post-humanity. Leibniz postulated the metaphysical dilemma of ‘mind/body’‚ as ‘problem’. The dilemma of the escape from body, the escape from reality, will be explored through the performance ‘journey’ of Setarcos‚ the central hacker character in Virtual Humanoids. Our exploration is informed by Oscar Schlemmer’s use of geometry in performance and human form, and Heinreich Von Kleist’s essay on puppet theatre of 1810, which values the movements of the marionette above those of the greatest human dancer. In their current rudimentary form, our avatars are like Descartes’ ‘animated machines’, they have no spontaneous response. We are exploring Natural Language processing and Perl-based soft robots to implement affective human and avatar communication and basic self-determined behaviour.