Group members: Kingsley Tao, Yuxiang He, Mengge Qin, Zhicheng Yang
The theme of our project is to aim to create an art exhibition that can be experienced in order to transmit and help the representation of socially marginalized groups in today’s society – the Drag Queen community. Our inspiration and motivation come mainly from three aspects:
- Historical video materials and early documentaries on drag queens and related interviews, such as the 1990 American documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston, ‘Paris Is Burning’ depicts the hardships of those individuals within the community.
- Contemporary reality shows, films, artistic creations and advocates of social influence of drag queen culture, for example, the IS reality show – RuPaul’s drag race.
- Drag queens who have cooperative communication and daily contact with ourselves and their desire to be helped and to help, and for social recognition.
We will make the corresponding artistic installation through the understanding and in-depth experience of this community. The final presentation and exhibition will be decided to depending on our budget and sponsorship also the digital technology used.
Why this theme?
Drag queens are not only a marginalized social group, but they are exclusively part of a marginalized community also. the representation of drag queens within contemporary society has progressed towards positivity, yet there is a large sting associated with the art of drag – many people do not see drag for what it really is. marginalized groups are often penalized and criticized for their expression of individuality, drag queens and the art of drag not being excluded. the theme is centered around drag allows for our exhibition, and a group project to enlighten individuals about the importance of drag. the history of drag is of utmost importance, and should be respected by individuals – it is an art. not only an aesthetically appealing art, but an art of the expression of individuality, and the art of condemning social norms surrounding gender and sexuality. the ambiguity surrounding drag and its purpose is still vague, the theme focus is therefore intentional is explaining the whole community of drag. our analysis of past material and present-day material will allow us as a group to present the history of drag culture and its provenance within society. mainly qualitative research, this will enable our exhibition and final project to convey a personalized and objective view of the community itself – we will be able to vaguely conclude on the changing nature of social pressures, norms, and values that society has on the drag community.
Drag queens are often depicted as glamorous, perfect within their own self. though this may be true to some extent, the community has faced more issues, the majority which could impact and ruin the livelihood and wellbeing of the individual. Paris is burning is a great example of the tribulations experiences by, not only the LGBT community but the drag scene also. the influence and impact HIV and AID’s had on the community is still prevalent today – maybe more-so than previously. the hardships of the individuals within community break any other person within society, though people not in the community fear social rejection, those in the drag scene are social rejects, ranging from friends and aquatints to loved ones and family. this is where the strong familial bond of the houses within the community originates. within modern day society, we now question the boundaries of gender, and drag is a perfect way to condemn these social norms. they deviate, but they are not deviants – it is essentially a protest against the constraints of society. often drag queens are unable to provide for others and work multiple jobs in order to find financial, and social stability. drag queens are to be admired and praised for their art form, yet many people do not respect drag as an art, but as an entertainment – though it is entertainment, the art of drag is of utmost importance, the entertainment is a part of the art.
Statement of intent (Techniques):
For this project, we will use VR glass (Oculus go) to let people create their own Drag styles.
And also we are going to build an environment, in this part, we use projection mapping.
Practical ideas so far:
- In-depth understanding of the Drag Queen group, through interviews and following shot documentaries, exploring the stage performance and the daily life environment of the Drag Queen (both positive and stressful aspects they have).
- Refine the representative elements that can help them express themselves from our collected materials to design drag queen characters in 3D modelling, and show the audience the most authentic Drag Queen culture through the VR interactive games and scenes’ recalling.
- Through the form of facial makeup and costume styling, making VR interactive games, let the audience understand the fashion culture and artistic expression of the Drag Queen by the first-person narrative.
- Through the 360 camera filming, by comparing the stage performance of the Drag Queen with the scenes of their daily lives, let the audience understand the real Drag Queen culture.
- Set up a room, using projection mapping to create an immersive environment, from the audience first go into this room, they start to truly feel what is the Drag Queen.
Tools for the final Installation:
By both considering the first and second performances of our installation, we need some kind of modeling and animation tools, open-sourced codings, and virtual-reality-based designs. The followings are the software or physical designs for our project:
- Maya/C4D/Keyshot – These three softwares contains bunches of modeling tools. Of course we will use some presetted modeings, this will make us easier to do all riggings and rendering for animations, or 3D background designs.
- Unity – By using unity for our part 2 installation, we will create a space which could be best represent our main theme. We also will use the original file that we record inside the 3D camera to VR spaces.
- Unreal Engine 4 – We still consider the possibility of using UE4 based on its inner Blueprint presets. We are not going to use the C++ coding based method for our project.
- Github – This is a community that it collects plenty of open sourced datas, programming and codings based on different platforms. We will doing some of our researches on its official website.
- Oculus – Oculus is an amazing VR glasses which could be easily worn and systematically powered by Android 8.x versions. Oculus has bluetooth controller that make our interactive designs to be possible. Oculus also has presetted modeling support in its developing tools. Thus it is one choice for our performance at both part 1 and part 2.
- HTC Vive – Vive is also an professional VR glasses that powered by Steam on PC. Also it has clear views inside with good resolution. Thus we could make some complex structured animation such as stage effects and lightings if we use Vive.
- Noitom Hi5 – The Noitom Hi5 is a third-party motion capture based – VR gloves for HTC Vive, it will make the gesturally interactive designs to be possible. We may consider to use this characteristic as a motional-controlled-technologies in Unity software for our designs in the first and second stage.
At our current stage, we’ve fixed some plugins and programming for those softwares and hardwares.
Potential next steps:
- Waiting for the funding（6 weeks)
- Interviewing Drag Queens and filming
- Start to design characters and modeling
- Making prototype and rent a room to make projection mapping
- Testing installation
- Final installation
- Final event
- Private view
- RuPaul’s Drag Race
- Paris Is Burning (1990)
- Exhibition, Beatrice Gibson, Crone Music,18 January – 31 March (2019)
- O’Brien, Jennifer ,”The Psychology of Drag”. Psychology Today.
- Boy George: “I’M Not A Dragqueen!”
- Moore, F. Michael. Drag: Male and Female Impersonators on Stage, Screen, and Television: An Illustrated World History.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
- Tom boy (2011)
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Felix Rodriguez Gonzales, “The feminine stereotype in gay characterization: A look at English and Spanish”
- The Guardian, Levin, Sam, “Who can be a drag queen? RuPaul’s trans comments fuel calls for inclusion”.
- School Projection mapping workshop with Bruno Mathez
- Exhibition, WE LIVE IN AN OCEAN OF AIR
- Mei Lanfang: “The Drunken Beauty” Choreography Plates (1930)
- Old Mei Lanfang giving Beijing Opera lessons (1960)
- X Japan, We Are X (2016)
After the steps: