Art Art and Technology Interactive / Participatory Art Multi Media Perception Virtual Art

Episode 5 of #PRNTSCRN: Not Your Average Playtest, Part II

Hello there! I have been the worst at posting my work and projects. I am starting to come up with a schedule for myself to be a bit more consistent. Better late than never! I can’t believe I’m nearing the end of my first season as a podcast host. The brilliant team over at Art Practical have given me an awesome home to create PRNT SCRN and I’ve learned so much this past year. Special thanks to Leila Weefur (EIC for Audio/Visual), Marissa Deitz (Editor), Vivian Sming (EIC for online publication), Michele Carlson (Executive Director), Fiona Ball (Managing Editor), and Mia Nakano (Communications Manager) for being such a wonderful team of people to work with.

Virtual reality is not a new phenomenon. From dioramas to panoramas, the allure of being enveloped in a place or tableau outside of one’s reality has mass appeal considering the popularity of virtual reality technologies such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Through 360 filmmaking and photography, the creation of space within the virtual realm has become commonplace. From journalism to entertainment purposes, while virtual worlds enable a new way of seeing fantastical worlds, artists and designers must consider format and aesthetics. In the second part of a two-part series, “Not Your Average Playtest,” I look at how artist Veronica Graham translates her drawings and paintings into digital architectures within the virtual world. She also touches upon how she must reconcile physical and digital perception to create immersive experiences.

Give episode 5 a good listen and let me know what you think! I’m all ears. 😉

You can also access all of this season’s episodes here!

Veronica Graham is an Oakland based visual artist primarily working in print and digital mediums. Inspired by today’s rapidly changing environment, she sees her art practice as a form of world building. Each work is the creation of place or artifact, calling attention to how fiction is weaved into our reality. In 2012 she founded Most Ancient, a design studio focused on small press and digital production. Her books have been collected by SFMoMA, MoMA, The New York Public Library, The Library of Congress, Stanford University, Yale University, and other public and private collections. Graham has received grants from Kala Art Institute and Women’s Studio Workshop. She is now designing virtual worlds and her first VR project called  “The Muybridge Mausoleum” was completed in 2017 for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift platforms. In addition to her own practice, Graham is an active member on SFMoMA’s Games Advisory Board and an arts educator who has taught at San Francisco Art Institute, Southern Exposure, and Creativity Explored.

Art Art and Technology Art Writing and Criticism Digital Art Interactive / Participatory Art Internet Art Multi Media Social Networking Virtual Art

ZER01 presents Art/Technology: In Conversation with Ken Eklund and Sibley Verbeck

ZER01 Arts/Technology: In Conversation with Ken Eklund and Sibley Verbeck (Photo by: Irving Perez)

He thought, too, about his need for a real animal; within him an actual hatred once more manifested itself toward his electric sheep, which he had to tend, had to care about, as if it lived. The tyranny of an object, he thought. It doesn’t know I exist. Like the androids, it had no ability to appreciate the existence of another. He had never thought of this before, the similarity between an electric animal and an andy. The electric animal, he pondered, could be considered a subform of the other, a kind of vastly inferior robot. Or, conversely, the android could be regarded as a highly developed, evolved version of the ersatz animal. Both viewpoints repelled him.

~ Philip K. Dick, excerpt from his novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Fortunately, as long as humans exist, there will always be a desire to know the other. Advances in the way we communicate and connect with one another is in large part due to interactive gaming and social networking applications. Last Friday, under the dim lights of the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) subterranean level where the Future Canvas 2 exhibition of iPad art was on display and SpacEKraft supplied ambient participatory music; ZER01 presented Art/Technology: In Conversation – Future of Play II with game artist, Ken Eklund, and StreamJam Creator, Sibley Verbeck. The setting was apropos. Engaging the public and facilitating dialogue at the intersection of Arts and Technology is primary objective for both organizations.

Ken Eklund began the evening with a brief yet colorful PowerPoint presentation which informed the audience of his early interests leading to interactive game design. From 16 bit color video games to political science, Eklund’s well known game, World without Oil, demonstrated his desire to affect change in the world by having end users partner and collaborate on pressing issues. Although education within the the Arts and Technology realm is imperative, social networking within virtual spaces has become an increasingly popular mode for interaction. The human imagination has the freedom to create avatars and interface with friends from where ever they choose. With his work in computational research, founder of Electric Sheep Company, Sibley Verbeck displayed screenshots of virtual worlds created predominantly for commercial use to enhance the viewer’s experience with a particular product or immersion into a dramatic television series.

Varying rationales and intention for interactivity and participation helped make the discussion between Eklund and Verbeck dynamic. Two methodologies of using game design and virtual worlds as a place for social networking yet with differing purposes, brought philosophical ideas to the fore.  While Eklund’s purpose lie in social change and education, Verbeck’s ultimate goal was to create worlds where people could socially interact based on a common interest such as music hence the creation of StreamJam. Another topic involved notions of the self. The filtration of a Virtual self vs. a Physical self and whether or not a convergence between the two is possible or whether a virtual self is an abstraction and representation of the physical self. Related to the aforementioned subject, the differentiation between an alternate reality as opposed to a virtual world was discussed. The alternate reality relies on the physical self to find aspects of the game embedded into a particular landscape, which may not be within a virtual environment while virtual reality is situated purely in a simulated environment.

As the speakers wrapped up the presentation and final points were delivered, the question regarding whether there is a distinction between an artist and technologist remained. New media arts is constantly re-defining and defying itself amidst the contemporary creative minds taking new technologies and innovative approaches to serve as a mode of conveyance inevitably bridging and providing various ways of communication in this ever changing and fast moving landscape.

Originally posted to ZER01, please click here to view.

Art Art and Technology Art Theory and Movements Conceptual Digital Art Interactive / Participatory Art Internet Art Multi Media Sculpture Social Networking Virtual Art

No Matter by Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott

Since I’ve been re-examining philosophical texts, I wanted to share the art and artists that relate to personal research interests. Click on the image above to check out the No Matter project. Yes, this is the cool stuff that keeps me up at night. 🙂