Becoming Dragon questions the one year requirement of Real Life Experience that transgender people must fulfill in order to receive Gender Confirmation Surgery (Sexual Reassignment Surgery), and asks if this could be replaced by one year of Second Life Experience to lead to Species Reassignment Surgery. For the performance, Micha Cardenas, aka Azdel Slade, lived for 365 hours immersed in Second Life with a head mounted display (HMD), only seeing the physical world through a video feed, and a motion capture system to map her movements into Second Life. During the entire duration of the performance Micha stayed in the performance space at the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) and in Second Life which were both open to the public.
The project seeks to explore notions of cultural identity and gender and examines the subject in transition - both biologically and technologically. As the Virtual Media Specialist for Becoming Dragon, I collaborated with Micha Cardenas and Chris Head to integrate motion capture technologies into the mixed reality performance. Micha wore a customized optical target integrated into the HMD which captured every live physical movement to control the movements of her avatar in Second Life. This was accomplished using VICON cameras and software I setup and configured with a bridge written by Chris Head and a SL script to receive those movements written by Micha. I also facilitated the installation and configuration of the stereoscopic 3D Second Life projection into the performance space as well as the video feed from the physical world back into Second Life.