OCTOBER 5—30, 2012


Visions of our communal dreams
Michael Takeo Magruder, Drew Baker, Erik Fleming, David Steele
RACIF production 2012
virtual/physical blended worlds
Visions of our communal dreams v 1.0, 2011–12, is a virtual/physical art installation exploring issues of hybridity, embodiment and collective creativity in the Avatar Age.
visions of our communal dreams
Michael Takeo Magruder with Drew Baker, Erik Fleming and David Steele, Visions of Our Communal Dreams,  2012, Robots and Avatars Commission. Co-produced and presented by body>data>space and FACT in Robots and Avatars Exhibition, 2012 Installation view at FACT, Photographer: Brian Slater

Visions of Our Communal Dreams is a new media artwork blending virtual, physical and networked environments that explores issues of hybridity, embodiment and collective creativity made possible through the use of avatars and virtual worlds. The artwork is comprised of two public spaces – one virtual and one physical – that are inherently connected in order to create a series of mixed-reality contexts, situations and experiences.

The artwork’s virtual component consists of an imaginary forest landscape constructed using the open source 3D application server OpenSimulator. This synthetic, ‘living’ metaverse is defined by the creative aspirations of its avatar inhabitants and is intrinsically linked to a changing selection of gallery and public spaces in the real world. Live interactions and exchanges flow between the virtual and physical realms through various site-specific ‘portals’ ranging from immersive architectural projections and windows to arrangements of small painterly artefacts and kiosks. These gateways are realised through telematic interfaces that allow residents from both discrete locations to gaze upon each other and their surroundings, thus creating uncanny connections and dialogues between the worlds.

Visions of Our Communal Dreams v2.0 @ KIBLA
documentation webpage:

Michael Takeo Magruder (concept and lead artist)
Drew Baker (OpenSimulator modeling and programming)
Erik Fleming (OpenSimulator development and administration)
David Steele (network design and server-side programming)
Ghislaine Boddington (dramaturgy)
Support: Emma Puente


Michael Takeo Magruder (b.1974, US/UK) is an internationally recognised visual artist and researcher based in the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London who works with digital and new media including real-time data, immersive environments, mobile devices and virtual worlds. His practice explores concepts ranging from media criticism and aesthetic journalism to digital formalism and computational aesthetics, deploying Information Age technologies and systems to examine our networked, media-rich world.
In the last ten years, Michael's projects have been showcased in over 200 exhibitions in 30 countries. His research focuses on the intersections between contemporary art, emerging technology and interdisciplinary practice, and his writings have been widely published. In 2010, Michael was selected to represent the UK at Manifesta 8: the European Biennial of Contemporary Art and several of his most well-known digital artworks were added to the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at Cornell University.

Drew Baker (OpenSimulator modeling and programming)
Drew Baker (b. 1968, UK) is a Research Fellow within the Department of Digital Humanities, Kings College London. One of the founding members of the King's Visualisation Lab he has worked in the field of 3D visualisation and interpretation of archaeology and history since 1997. He specialises in the use of 3D systems, employing technologies ranging from interactive web-based platforms like VRML and Unity3D to shared virtual environments such as Second Life and OpenSimulator. His primary areas of interest concern developing real-time 3D environments that transform consumers of humanities scholarship into active participants and researching issues surrounding the long-term preservation of digital cultural heritage.

Erik Fleming (OpenSimulator development and administration)
Erik Fleming (b. 1989, US) is a computer science graduate of James Madison University, Virginia. His main areas of interest include programming for database and multimedia applications, working with cloud computing and Linux-based server environments, and developing network management systems. His present projects and activities involve undertaking backend software development and administration using server-side technologies ranging from Java to OpenSimulator.

David Steele (network design and server-side programming)
David Steele (b. 1972, US) is a senior technical consultant based in Arlington, Virginia, USA innovating in progressive web programming and database architecture. He has been working with a wide range of web technologies since the mid-nineties and was a pioneer in pairing cutting-edge clients to existing corporate infrastructures. His work has enabled a variety of advanced applications from global text messaging frameworks to re-entry systems for the space shuttle. He is currently involved in developing massively parallel database systems with unprecedented data rates and redundancy.

Visions of Our Communal Dreams builds upon the concepts, aesthetics and technologies of the project team's past mixed-reality installations using Second Life including:
Changing Room v2.0, 2010
(all)Time, 2010
Vanishing Point(s), 2010
Changing Room v1.0, 2009
Data Double, 2009
The Vitruvian World, 2008


Visions of Our Communal Dreams v2.0 is a 2011–12 development commission for the Robots & Avatars project. Commissioned by body>data>space and the National Theatre in association with KIBLA, Maribor and the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London. The project is funded by the EU Culture programme with additional support from King’s College London’s Creative Futures fund and Arts Council of England.