worlding protocol
October 20-26, 2021
worlding protocol
October 20-26, 2021

Valencia James

Suga': A Live Virtual Dance Performance

Thursday, October 21
6:10PM PST 

For WORLDING PROTOCOL, Gray Area is pleased to present a virtual volumetric video performance in Mozilla Hubs by Valencia James. Suga’ is an immersive experience that features live dance performance as volumetric video in social virtual reality space. The journey transports us through the historical reality of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade and the establishment of the sugar industry, which has had a lasting legacy on our world today. Suga’ weaves together movement, family stories, and cultural heritage to imagine virtual environments as a site for healing and reclamation of spaces that were historically filled with pain and injustice. The performance takes place in Mozilla Hubs and utilizes low-cost hardware and open-source software that allows artists to perform from their own living spaces.

The experience can be viewed via web browser and does not require VR headsets. 

Trigger Warning: Some scenes contain sensitive content that may be triggering to some individuals.

Performance Credits:

Artistic Director, Performer: Valencia James

Technical Director: Thomas Wester

Head of Production: Simon Boas

Technical artist: Holly Newlands

3D Artist: Marin Vesely

Experience Guide, Visual Artist: Sandrine Malary

Rehearsal Director, Sound/Visuals: Terri Ayanna Wright

Past Presentations

Suga’ premiered at the Art Gallery of SIGGRAPH in August 2021.

Valencia James

Valencia James is a Barbadian freelance performer, maker and researcher interested in the intersection between dance, theatre, technology and activism. Valencia’s work explores remote interdisciplinary collaboration with creative technologists and how emerging technologies like machine learning and computer vision might enhance creativity in her contemporary dance practice and vice-versa. This research has resulted in collaboratively built, novel open-source software tools that push the boundaries of live performance.


In 2013 Valencia co-founded the AI_am project, which explores the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence in dance. She was a 2020 Rapid Response Fellow at Eyebeam, where she co-founded the Volumetric Performance Toolbox, a project that responds to the global pandemic by envisioning live online 3D dance performance as a new way for artists to connect to audiences from their living spaces using minimal equipment.  Valencia was invited by Golan Levin to join the Spring 2021 Remote Residency for Open-Source Software Art Tools at Carnegie Mellon University’s Studio for Creative Inquiry. She has presented her work at TEDxDanubia, TEDxGöteborg, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires , ISEA 2015 and SIGGRAPH 2021.