9 Feb 2022

Press Release: DaDa Holograms

Through augmented reality, a tiny image of a person appears to be stood on a business card

Image: DaDa's Digital Producer, Joe Strickland, appearing via augmented reality on a Chronic Insanity business card

Liverpool based disability and Deaf arts organisation, DaDa, releases details about their R&D project looking at the use cases for augmented reality BSL interpreters!

Read on for insights into the project and find a video demonstration of early test versions of DaDa Holograms below:

This project is part of their new pledge to use creative technology to address the lack of accessibility within the world of live and digital art. Co-funded by The Space, DaDa will be working with a series of disabled artists and performers to create augmented reality hologram versions of BSL interpretation to exist alongside or within future theatrical productions.

Using a mixture of techniques including volumetric video, live projection mapping, and Gestalt psychology, DaDa will work alongside Deaf interpreters and artists to create three dimensional recordings of their interpretations of performances that can be projected into a live space, or added into the scene of a digital production, to allow for an always available and high quality BSL interpretation for any audience.

The R&D is also being developed with a focus on affordability, and any techniques developed to create the hologram BSL interpretations will be done so on a scale and budget affordable to almost any arts organisation, thereby reducing the barrier for entry for artists and organisations to begin experimenting with near future entertainment and accessibility technology.

DaDa has already collaborated with Nottingham-based theatre company, Chronic Insanity, in January on a section of their interactive and immersive digital theatre production All The King’s Men, available now as part of Living Record Festival.

This production uses a web application that turns the audience’s android phone into a lens through which they can view the world and also receive on screen BSL interpretation of the narration of that section of the experience, allowing Deaf audiences to experience the production without having to sacrifice the playfulness and immersion that non-Deaf audiences will experience.

In February they will collaborate with actor, theatre maker, and artist, Rhiannon May, on an augmented reality production of her work in progress show “Crash Landing”, in which a fully augmented reality performance will be captured in three dimensions to be viewed remotely in an audience's home, as if watching a hologram table-top theatre show.

Finally, in March, a collaboration with writer and performer Adam Fenton and Salford-based arts center The Lowry will incorporate an augmented reality interpreter into their latest theatre production, “//Tuning In//”. The interpreter will be filmed as a volumetric video and turned into a life-sized hologram, projected live on stage for an in-person audience to enjoy as a fully integrated part of the live production. This will all be followed by a public sharing of the results of the R&D process in late March, where the findings and instructions for making these hologram interpretation systems will be shared with an audience of industry professional, artists, and curious audience members alike.

Joe Strickland, Digital Producer for DaDa, said:

“We’re incredibly excited to be working with The Space to be able to begin developing these innovative and versatile use cases for augmented reality BSL interpretation. The results of the next few months should hopefully set the standard for the whole of the arts industry on incorporating this near future technology into their plans for the next few years of digital and hybrid live events.

There are already many benefits to using a virtual or hologram interpreter for an event, and our research hopes to make these access features easy and affordable to create, while also keeping them user friendly for audiences. With virtual and augmented reality looking increasingly like they’ll be a part of future life, it’s important to explore use cases and set best practice guidelines now so that we can be ready to make the most of this wonderful accessible technology”

Watch a video here of some of our experiments so far for DaDa Holograms, demonstrated by Joe:

If anybody would like further information about the results of this R&D process, or would like to help try out the augmented reality experiences when they are ready for audiences, please get in touch with DaDa’s digital producer by emailing digital@dadafest.co.uk

Notes to editors

An innovative arts organisation based in Liverpool, delivering Festivals and other arts events to promote high quality disability, Deaf and neurodiverse arts from unique cultural perspectives. It also produces opportunities for disabled, Deaf and neurodiverse people to access the arts, including training and a young people’s programme.

The Space
A digital agency established by Arts Council England and the BBC to help promote digital engagement across the arts and cultural sector. They also work regularly with Creative Scotland, the Arts Council of Wales and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. They support organisations by commissioning projects, building digital skills and capacity, and helping organisations reach wider audiences using digital content, media and online platforms.

Chronic Insanity
A Nottingham based theatre company that creates and facilitates live events in a variety of traditional, found, and digital spaces. They make work accessibly, affordably, sustainably, and inclusively, seeking to change the definition of what theatre can be by playing with form, genre, medium, and technology. Each they they aim to, and have previously succeeded, staging 12 shows in 12 months.

Living Record Festival
A festival of Grass-roots digital art designed specifically for streaming created by independent artists and theatre companies from across the world.

Rhiannon May
An actor, theatre-maker, and artist based in Liverpool. She aims to create work with access running through its core and is most excited by art that weaves creativity and access together seamlessly! As a textile artist, Rhiannon generally creates work such as quilting and embroidery and is currently really interested in experimenting with ways to combine her artwork with performance. Rhiannon is also an actor, recently appearing in BBC Silent Witness (series 24) and Swanage Rep’s musical production of ‘Princess and the Pauper’.

Adam Fenton
A neurodiverse writer and performer from Lancashire. Adam creates work that explores identity, disability, and challenging of perception. He is a playwright working with Graeae, Oldham Coliseum, Theatre by the Lake, and Box of Tricks. A member of the BBC Writers Access Group and winner of the Evening Standard's Future Theatre Fund Acting award, Adam is excited to be developing his one-person play '//Tuning In//', a story about disability prejudice and the dangers of misunderstanding.

The Lowry
A theatre and gallery complex at Salford Quays, committed to using visual and performing arts to enrich people’s lives. They present audiences with a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual art as well as events and activities to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike.

Augmented Reality
The interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced with additional digital content, usually video or audio. The digital content can be projected into the real world, or viewed by audiences through a phone or tablet screen, or an augmented reality headset.

Volumetric Video
A technique that captures a three-dimensional location or performance that can be viewed on flat screens as well as using 3D displays, live projection, and VR and AR headsets. The required motion capture techniques lean on computer graphics, photogrammetry, and other computation-based methods. The resulting three dimensional video object can then be experienced and interacted with in a variety of different ways by an audience.

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