Virtual ventriloquism launched
a new career for the "queen of VR," Linda Jacobson, who doubled as
the voice of D'CuCKOO's 3-D digital puppet, RiGBy. Living inside a Silicon Graphics'
Iris Indigo workstation, RiGBy emerged for D'CuCKOO shows to banter with the
band between songs and interact with the audience. RiGBy's African mask-like
face was displayed on a large screen behind the band and her facial movements
were controlled by digital puppeteer, Ron Fischer who employed a mouse, keyboard
and 3-D input device. The movement of RiGBy's lips was controlled by the amplitude
of Linda's voice, which ran through a vocal effects processor. Everything that
happened with RiGBy was spontaneous and in the moment. Linda's Virtual Reality
Evangelism has since taken root in a start-up company called Glass House Studios.
For extra fun and amusement, audience sounds and D'CuCKOO's rhythms were picked up by microphone and MIDI input to a Silicon Graphics Iris Indigo workstation, operated by SGI visual magic engineers Ron Fischer, David Tristram, Maggie Hoppe and other members of the computer graphics team, Raster Masters. The varying sound levels, pitch and MIDI signals altered the appearance of brightly colored, 3-D imagery projected onto large screens behind the band. RasterMasters visual artistry was a new artform for which they coined the term: -viviography- from the Latin "vivus," for alive or living, and the Greek "graphos," for that which is written or drawn. Imagine attending a concert that touched your senses so deeply, you weren't sure if you were seeing with your ears or hearing with your eyes. The RasterMasters performance ensemble did all of these things by creating real-time animation effects. The ensemble performed with high-end Silicon Graphics computers, rendering full-motion images in real-time images like none you've ever seen before.
Another system we used to encourage audience participation in the visual aspect of D'CuCKOO shows was with Bliss Paint, invented by computer graphics whiz, Greg Jalbert, also known as Imaja. Bliss Paint is actually a screensaver program modified for live performance so that audience members may play a musical keyboard (off-stage) to trigger visual imagery and affect the visual environment at D'CuCKOO shows.
Thoroughly entranced by the possibilities of engaging their natural bio-rhythms into the performance, the women of D'CuCKOO started working with beta versions of Ben Knapp and Hugh Lusted's BioMuse controllers in the early '90's. Originally hoping to create a controller system that would allow parapalegic children opportunities to communicate musically and otherwise via EKG and EEG sensors, Bean and Patti frequently wired themselves up for performances to test out the sensitivity of the sensors and map music to motion. One of the premier performances occurred at Stanford University with Timothy Leary in 1992.