Skeleton Conductor XR Art is an inclusive, individual virtual reality (VR) art experience where free bodily expression takes the user into a space of kinesthetic composition and active awareness of oneself. The user-centric multisensorial virtual experience draws on physical interaction as a manifestation of media art using new technology.

The Skeleton Conductor XR Art artwork centres around an intuitive synthesis of image, sound and movement. The combination is facilitated by a code-based relation of movement and sound in the virtual user interface, and a dramaturgy of bodily experience created for this. 

A virtual operational environment that simulates the world yet differs from it opens up the opportunity to return to a time when we were new to the world and were only learning its laws and principles through bodily exploration and play. 

This experiential return into bodily learning harnesses the intelligence of the body as an interpreter of the world. The technologically mediated space of bodily interaction is a constantly re-lived flow of altering observations that pinpoints potentials of expression, hidden bodily registers and introspection.

The experiencer of the individual work is the subject and auteur of their own experience. Bodily impulses and actions serve to produce and shape the visual and musical dimensions of the experience – the experiencer both produces and interprets their own story. The ways of experiencing, seeing, hearing and associating what one experiences are open to different interpretations. The experience becomes articulated for the experiencer in the moment of living it. 

The bodily dramaturgy of the work travels from “being thrown into the world”, from conceiving its principles and playing in it, into controlling the operational spheres of the world, and into becoming visible and recognised in it. While the work is playful, beautiful and something that grants creative freedom, its core statement is about being in the world as a responsible actor, and the importance of being seen and heard. 

The working group’s members, choreographer Hanna Pajala-Assefa, the designer of the interaction code and visual effects Daniel Leggat, and interactive sound designer Janne Storm, have used principles based on bodily metaphors and the experience of music in shaping the experience. The interactive dimension of the work and the bodily dramaturgy are based on conceptual metaphor theory (Lakoff and Johnson 2980;1999, Johnson 2008) according to its idea of perceiving the world through bodily agency and bodily metaphors. 

Skeleton Conductor XR Art was awarded the People’s Choice Award at the Altered Festival 2020.

Tips for the viewer

The artwork has three parts. 

The VR work has a duration of about 12 minutes. After your own experience, you can follow the path of the next visitor into the world of the work, opening up the individual choices in the work. After this, one can also revisit one’s own experience through a reflection task. The total duration for one participant is about 45 minutes. 

The minimum age is 10 years. The space welcomes six people at a time. The work can also be visited in a seated position. 

The VR equipment used is disinfected after each use with a CleanBox device that cleanses all the surfaces of the visor using ultraviolet light.

The performance is made possible by Helsinki XR Center, who also offer the performance venue for the piece.

Helsinki XR Center is located in the Arabia district. Address: Hämeentie 135 A, 4th floor. Entrance through the same door as the Arabia shop and Arabia library.


Concpet and multimedia chreography: Hanna Pajala-Assefa
Visual effects and interaction coding: Daniel Leggat
Music and interactive sound design: Janne Storm
The work has been supported by: Arts Pormotion Centre Finlande (Media Art, Performing Arts), The Nordic Ministry, Business Finland, Helsinki XR Center Developers Hub