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Virtual Reality Project at Underbelly Arts

RANSW Supports Broadband and Digital Arts Initiative for Regional Artists on Cockatoo Island


Join 8 artists over 48 hours as they broadcast their day live to the big screen on Cockatoo Island for the Underbelly Arts Festival and around the world via Twitter, Facebook and this website. A project funded by Regional Arts NSW as part of Regional Arts Australia’s National Strategic Projects to meet key objectives around Broadband and Digital Arts Initiatives and supported by Eastern Riverina Arts a digital link delivers regional artists via technology to the Underbelly Arts Festival on Cockatoo Island in Sydney in August 2013.

Imagine if Big Brother zeroed in on eight artists for 48 hours and then handed over the controls to you. It would be Virtual Reality  a faithful documentation of artistic practice that doubles as hands-on human puppetry. By accessing a special social media kiosk on-site, you are able to select an action for an artist to perform, and then witness it in real time. The power is in your hands.

For your viewing pleasure there’s a twist: as the audience observes artists during moments of creativity they are invited to interact with the artists remotely. During the Underbelly Arts Lab – a weeklong residency on Cockatoo Island commencing this weekend – Greg Pritchard and The Ronalds develop a series of actions for the 8 artists to perform when prompted by the audience. The audience will have access to the 4 tablets that are fixed on site in front of each projection screen at a social media kiosk on the island.  The tablets will display a selection of buttons that represent a given prompt that, when pressed, will notify the artist to perform the action. The live element of the work will mean audience members on the island will  see the artists in real-time (or within a few seconds) as they respond to requests.

That task may be as simple as waving to the camera, but the direct interaction between the viewer and the artist reward the viewer for their participation and fully utilises the live element of the work.

This project is an opportunity to test cutting edge use of current technologies and investigate new ways to include the audience in shaping the outcome of the work. This experimentation will reveal ways that regional artists can broaden their reach to new audiences in urban communities and beyond.

Particpating Artists:


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