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Marko Plahuta & Pina Gabrijan: ETERNAL DANCE FLOORS OR THE STUFFED AFTERLIFE PARTY

'Eternal dance floors or The stuffed afterlife party' is an extensive, multi-level artistic project that uses the creation of posthumous stuffed dancing avatars, primarily to evoke the problem of the increasingly radical disappearing of intergenerational solidarity.
The conceptual basis is the state of to-day, where the existing social mechanisms are less and less capable of adequately providing for the elderly, often referred to as the »non-functional« members of the society. As an answer to that we are establishing a situation, progressed to the point of absurd, with physical avatars, lacking any kind of an actual, justifiable purpose to their existence, that are present after a person's death. What is more, they also need to be taken out dancing regularly – i.e. they need to be maintained, because they function according to the logic of the “Tamagotchi principle” (in other words, they go utterly insane, if we do not take good care of them).     
We are talking about a process in which the dancing human body is first replaced by its digital moving image, and then, after death, this digital »embodiment« is once again replaced by an actual body (a stuffed body with a robotic mechanism). We thus invert the usual process of creating an avatar (whereby the actual body is abandoned, and our personality becomes the avatar's content) – as in the existing project this very “abandoned” dimension, i.e. the actual body, becomes an avatar.     
This is the realization of the first stage of the project, including an interactive installation used to record an individual’s dance moves by means of motion-capture technology, and followed by setting up a virtual web environment with dancing digital “embodiments”.   
The interaction begins with “a check-up at the institution for posthumous avatar conversion” where the visitor’s biometric characteristics are measured by means of the EEG and a heart pulse sensor, to establish whether the candidate meets the requirements (the answer naturally always being positive). The results of the testing are represented by electronic music, which the system regularly generates in a Pythagorean sound scale (lambdoma) according to the values from the biometric sensors, and which is being changed into a genetic algorithm, interactively controlled by the visitor’s own music taste. When the visitors are not present, the system will generate and mutate random melodies.     
As soon as the examination is over, the visitor is able to respond physically – i.e. dance to the recorded music, while the system captures his/her movements and simultaneously visualizes them in the form of a three-dimensional image on the computer screen. The final products are computer files containing biometric and spatial data, which will later be available to the visitors on the project web site, with a user name issued by the system right after the examination.  
The presentation platform is useful both for real time interaction, as well as for motion capture and an access without network connection, editing, rating and sharing with other users.  
The conclusion of the entire project means stuffing and mounting its authors. But this is just the beginning of the project…

Marko Plahuta:

First encounters with computer programming in the eighties – creating visuals with the help of a ZX Spectrum at club K4 in Ljubljana. Prior to that he worked as an active freelance translator for a number of publishers; his work includes translating and localizing Microsoft products. At the brink of the new millennium working as director-counsellor at the mobile operator Mobitel for the distribution of mobile and web platforms, and later as director of Agencija 41 – a new media development company. Since 2007 he works as a usability and search technology specialist. He dedicates his spare time to the programming of interactive systems and visualizations, working with Java, Processing, and Arduino.  

Pina Gabrijan:

Completed her study of cultural studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, with a paper entitled 'The epistemological anarchism of Paul Feyerabend'. A semi-active freelance journalist in the field of culture, particularly music. Works for the student radio station Radio Študent Ljubljana, the web portal Nova Muska (formerly Muska magazine), and further back for Spekter magazine and Fair, an art and aesthetics magazine from Berlin. She is co-founder and professional manager of Mimoza institute, dealing primarily with the organization of music events. Since 2010 she has worked as program manager of MED music festival at Maribor’s Kibla. Received Robert Bosch Foundation scholarship (2009) and the Goethe Institute scholarship (2012). Unemployed, living under her mother’s roof.

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