Speed Levitch Presents: The MidTown Rush Hour Tour in VR
Speed Levitch Presents: The MidTown Rush Hour Tour in VR
A 70 minute walking tour that becomes a moving soirée and a pronouncement of intimacy as it slowly waltzes across a vast alienation.
A 70 minute walking tour that becomes a moving soirée and a pronouncement of intimacy as it slowly waltzes across a vast alienation. Read more
About this project
A Description of the Midtown Rush Hour Tour
The Midtown Rush Hour Tour begins in the throes of the great rush, each weekday at 5pm, next to the Information Booth in the middle of Grand Central Terminal's Main Concourse. We meet on the side of the booth that faces Vanderbilt Avenue.
Our tour group is much like a private Greek Chorus, walking around in our unfolding Greek drama, which is happening all around us. As this drama's Greek Chorus, we participate in the rush hour and observe it but we never commit to the rush.
To commute - (vb.) (1.) Ibsen wrote, "To live is to war with trolls." Commuting is to live is to war with trolls-consciousness. (2.) To commute is to travel with the assumption that every single human being currently on this planet is in my way. (3.)To commute - When our urge to arrive at our destination becomes more alive than ourselves.
The Midtown Rush Hour Tour is an elixir designed to heal hatred of rush hour. Of course, hatred of rush hour is an all-too-common ailment, easily relieved with an active verb called cruising, a.k.a. the appreciation of the beauty of one's immediate surroundings. Our ability to microscopically-appreciate the beauty of our surroundings is a natural anti-depressant that saves lives, and, while in the act of it, depression is put in its proper place and can be clearly seen for what it truly is -- what depression really is, you see, is...for those of us who never get an opportunity to go to outer space, depression is the only black hole we'll ever get a chance to explore.
The Midtown Rush Hour Tour is a tour of the great living landmark, rush hour. Along the way, we appreciate the architecture of Grand Central Terminal and re-tell the history of the birth of midtown Manhattan, a truly epic tale in which today's rush hour is the current living climax.
On The Midtown Rush Hour Tour, history is a vehicle we ride to go further into the now.
The Politics of the Thing...
To the entities currently endeavoring to de-urbanize New York City's public spaces: "This might be your rush hour, but this is my commute!"
Often, while participating in rush hour, I will feel stirred to compliment certain people on their style of commute. "I like your style of commute," I'll tell them, in passing.
Well, it turns out that complimenting people on their commute and viewing our own commuting as a practice that we can improve in is something we need to start doing for the sake of city dwelling as a form of life-art and the city dweller's right to decorate the reality.
While it's true that New York City is constantly changing, some of the recent changes seem to be a direct threat to the average city-dweller's ability to self-express. As Sassia Sassen writes, "The huge post-credit crunch buying up of urban buildings by corporations...is a systematic transformation in the pattern of land ownership in cities...the public spaces of the city, where the powerless have always gone to make their own history and culture, are now privately controlled spaces where low-wage-workers can work but not make."
Sassen maintains that there are moments in our city-dwelling routines when we, "...become urban subjects," and that, "rush hour is one such mix of time and space."
And so, the Midtown Rush Hour Tour, aside from being a comedic-interactive soliloquy, is also a proclamation being sent out to the entities who are currently endeavoring to de-urbanize New York City's public spaces: "This might be your rush hour, but this is my commute!
Why Virtual Reality
This new technology is so great at inflicting empathy and as the Midtown Rush Hour Tour's theme of human interconnectedness is being expounded the VR will be living it.
By using virtual reality technology people from all over the globe will be able to drop right into the controlled chaos of rush hour in midtown Manhattan. They will feel the overwhelming energy of standing in the middle of Grand Central Terminal as 50,000 people zip past them. This is the best, and in our opinion, the only way to document this monumental spoken word performance which has been 15 years in the making.
This new VR technology is also a young art form that is currently being born and with our attempt at making this "love-action documentary," we hope to create a fresh example of how this visually-astonishing technology can also be used to entertain through thought-provocation and language.
Risks and challenges
There are many challenges when it comes to shooting an epic virtual reality experience like this. Once the money is in place, we will need to secure top of the line virtual reality video equipment, which is expensive and temperamental. On top of that we would need to have professional VR camera operators and technicians in order to ensure we capture this video to its fullest effect. Wandering through the streets of midtown Manhattan during rush hour is hard enough, let alone with several VR rigs and audio equipment!
After the video is shot, the footage goes through a complicated 'stitching' process where each of the frames from the separate VR cameras are meticulously placed together to give it a 360 degrees look when viewed in the Occulus Rift, or Google Cardboard. Once stitched a team of editors will edit the video into a masterpiece and it will then be color corrected and mixed in a professional studio.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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