D.R.O.I.D : reality isn't everything - the concept

Prados Azules logo
Screenshot from Second Life showing giant TV in Prados Azules
Screenshot from Second Life showing 3D projection cube in Prados Azules
Screenshot from Second Life showing 3D projection cube in Prados Azules
Screenshot from Second Life showing 3D projection cube in Prados Azules
screenshots from Prados Azules in Second Life

D.R.O.I.D is an event to challenge our reality, what we perceive to be the here and now and what we think of as the future-distant.

The real world is the world around us; the fabric of which we can touch and feel, taste and smell on a daily basis. Increasingly human interaction takes place in the digispace of bits and bytes; where our hopes and dreams, our fears and our loathing, are scrambled into tiny fragments of ones and zeros that are sent spinning around the globe at near to the speed of light.

We are now fast entering the post-televisual age; where we are no longer the passive recipients of televised news and commercials, a world where we think we have choice, but only within the strict confines of what the programme schedulers wish us to see, but rather the protagonists, programming our own lives and living our own dreams as and when we see fit.

The Internet has brought us democracy of communication; allowing us to break free from the chains of large corporate news and entertainment conglomerates and government-controlled information bureaus to express ourselves as and when we see fit through web pages, blogs, video sharing sites, social networks and on-line forums.

Interactive communication has developed over time from the bulletin boards of the eighties and early nineties, through IRC chat rooms, newsgroups and forums, and now into three-dimensional live interactive virtual spaces, such as Second Life. This form of live on-line communication allows us to develop social networks in a way that was inconceivable to us just twenty years ago. We now communicate on-line, and virtually face-to-face, irrespective of age, sex, locality, class and race, and even species; as the old adage goes, “in cyberspace no-one knows you're a dog”. In cyberspace your avatar may even be a dog!

D.R.O.I.D will take place in Bristol, England on the 23rd February 2008 in the Trinity Arts Centre, a converted church in inner-city Bristol, and simultaneously on the island of Prados Azules (Blue Meadows) in the virtual world of Second Life, and as a consequence of this, across the known world. The line-up at the Trinity will feature live acts, DJs and VJs, and using a number of video cameras, this will be live mixed and streamed into Second Life where avatars will be able to enjoy the sites and sounds of the event in Bristol.

At the Trinity two huge suspended back-projected screens will show the audience the virtual world of Second Life. There will also be “interface terminals” in the hall to allow participants to interact with their digital counterparts.

The aim is for the two audiences, the physical and the digital, to come together, meet each other, interact, know each other. How many technophobes out there have never spoken to their virtual brothers and sisters? How many of the new wired generation have never left the confines of their virtual reality interfaces to interact with the rest of us? Greater understanding is what we seek, together we shall stand, shoulder to digitised shoulder.

Decoration for the Trinity and the Second Life setting will reflect the development of our virtual world, with films such as Tron, THX-1138 and Blade Runner being shown on old-fashion cathode ray tube technology to illustrate the path by which we have arrive thus far and our hopes for the future. Participants are encourage to come as their favourite avatar, or even as themselves.