Virtual Striptease

Monika Fleischmann, Wolfgang Strauss
© ; Monika Fleischmann, Wolfgang Strauss

(collective) Monika Fleischmann | Wolfgang Strauss

Virtual Striptease ,
Co-workers & Funding
Video Only / Virtual Striptease Team: Studierend der HBK Saar. Benjamin Seide, Henry Schmidt. GMD Virtual Studio: Wolfgang Vonolfen, Klaus Günther Rautenberg, Joseph Speier. Dramaturgie und Szenographie: Wolfgang Strauss und Monika Fleischmann. Mitwirkung Deutsche Telekom für Breitbandnetz, Redaktion SWR Südwestdeutscher Rundfunk, Performances Staatstheater Saarbrücken. Erstmalige Realisierung einer Live Sendung mit Publikumsbeteiligung im TV Studio in Virtuellen Kulissen.
  • Virtual Striptease Mix
    861 × 764
  • Virtual Striptease Video
    720 × 576

For the International Video Art Award ceremony organized by ZKM Karlsruhe and Suedwestfunk Baden-Baden (SWF) in 1995, Fleischmann and Strauss conceive a broadcast with audience participation. With their teams they realize the performance and the corresponding digital set design for the virtual stage. For the live production of the show, the signals from the studio camera in Baden-Baden are connected via the high-speed network 300 km away with the virtual backdrops in the GMD computer pool in Sankt Augustin via a Telekom broadband transmission (ATM).

The entire huge TV studio in Baden Baden is set up as a Bluebox stage for 150 spectators. On the large screen opposite the stage, the audience watches the actors move through the virtual scenery. The moderator welcomes Heinrich Klotz, the founding director of the ZKM, and both sit on an invisible bench in a kind of wireframe backdrop. Klotz congratulates the individual ZKM award winners in different digital scenarios that refer to the respective award-winning work. Media artist Bill Seaman, who receives the main prize, finds his way around the stage and the virtual scenario after orienting himself on the large screen on the opposite wall, which shows the final image as for the TV viewer at home.

The audience sits on swivel chairs and has the choice of alternately watching the real action on the blue stage or the rendered TV image on the large projection opposite. One of the three performances is a Virtual Striptease. Two performers, wearing blue catsuits under their dresses, slowly disappear onto the blue stage and become one person as they shed their clothes. The entire performance is a great success. The audience is enthralled.

In the one-semester seminar "Ceremony Design" at the Media Lab of the HBK Saarbrücken, a dramaturgy in virtual backdrops was developed and designed. The design is based on the Black Theatre, in which scenery and scenes appear as if out of nowhere, slowly change to the next scene, and then disappear again into the void. Students from the GMD - German National IT Research Center, supported by the MARS Media Arts ReSearch Lab and the Virtual Studio, were responsible for the technical implementation. The production of Germany's first live broadcast from a distributed virtual TV studio was made possible by the support of Deutsche Telekom and Broadcaster SWR.

Remarkably, the groundbreaking event is not mentioned in the ZKM Video Art Prize 1995 online catalog. The remarkable statement by Heinrich Klotz, the founding director of the ZKM, immediately after the program "Today I saw the future" has also not been included on the corresponding website.
Technology & Material
For the firsttime ever, the Virtual Studio at GMD therefore undertakes a collaboration between dance andstage which takes place at two different locations. The virtual sets are transmitted live from Bonnvia a ATM broadband to the studio stage in Baden-Baden.
On 19 November 1995, some 150 invited guests in the Baden-Baden studio find themselves infront of and actually inside the virtual sets transmitted along data lines the some 350 km fromBonn to the SüdWestFunk (SWF) studio. Two cameras, numerous actors and the audience arein blue box of the SWF TV studio, though the virtual sets themselves are actually in GMD's digitalstudio. The broadband network of Deutsche Telekom is used to transmit the camera shots ofthe actors to Bonn where they are inserted into the virtual sets and, without any noticeabledelay, are retransmitted to Baden-Baden. For the first time ever, a blue box is used live as astage. Eight virtual stage sets with their metamorphic build are used to give structure to thechronological sequence of events. The audience in the studio sees the actors in the virtual setson the wall-high projection area - the "apparent" image that will be used later for the TVtransmission - while the presenter and dancers live in the studio perform against the empty bluestage. As in the theatre, the performers appear from backstage. But here the voices appear frombehind the audience's backs. The presenter appears in the image on the video wall. The sceneof the action changes and also takes in the space occupied by the audience. The dancers leavethe real stage through the audience area and apparently disappear in the video wall. The studioguests' attention is pulled to and fro. Part of the dramatic effect of the transmission is created bythe fact that the audience are seated in swivel chairs, and thus create a similar picture to themovements of spectators on a tennis court. The game with reality remains the most importanttheme when working with virtual sets.