I work between FACT, where I am research director of FACTLab, and Liverpool School of Art and Design at LJMU (Liverpool John Moores University), where I am a senior lecturer. My job is one of several ‘Inspire’ posts, which LJMU has pioneered as a new way for the University to interact more closely with arts institutions like FACT.
I had heard about the Wysing Arts Centre through a talk they gave at the Liverpool School of Art and Design. They are one of the most interesting centres in the UK, so when I heard that they were running a commissioning process with FACT I was excited to get involved. My role was a minor one, which was to participate in a workshop at the Wysing Arts Centre, which is just outside Cambridge. The workshop brought together artists, curators and practitioners in digital culture and Virtual Reality as a medium.
There were talks by developers who had worked with artists on Virtual Reality arts commissions. Each artist made a presentation in which they presented an idea for an art-work and posed questions about it. The rest of the group then discussed the work and gave feedback from an aesthetic, philosophical and technological standpoint. The aim was to deepen everyone’s understanding of the works, the digital media they would use and their feasibility. I have a background in the application of digital and virtual technologies in trans-disciplinary cultural settings so I felt I was able to understand and interpret between these practices.
The talks and discussions were fascinating. It was great to see how differently each artist had responded to the provocation from completely different perspectives and starting points. It was also amazing to see how the participants’ knowledge and insight grew as the workshops went along. What I was particularly struck by was how generous all the artists were in sharing their practice and in supporting each other with opinions and suggestions.
It was an amazing experience and I am sure it enriched the practice of all involved and was a good way to support artists with the adoption of emerging new digital media.
The winner of the Wysing Arts Centre, The Mechatronic Library, FACT and QUAD co-commission for Worlds Among Us is announced today. Read about it here.
Image: Anna Bunting-Branch, META: Umwelt #3 (Transition), 2018