Mentoring at Never There Residency

I’ve been mentoring a talented group of artists at the Never There Festival this week. It’s been interesting – we’ve been meeting partially in a warren of Mozilla Hubs rooms that Barra and his group very skillfully and thoughtfully put together. One of them is a little hut with a comfy looking sofa (so sad it’s virtual!), overlooking a lovely seascape.

The discussions have ranged from honest frustration about the major tools and platforms widely available to some really innovative and thoughtful ideas about different ways of interacting remotely. One theme that came up today is auditory spaces, like old-school radio plays of yore. Audio, rather than video, is quite well supported online. Personally, I think a combination of text, moving flat images and audio has a lot of potential for interactive shared spaces. Tools like Riseup Pad, Etherpad, Cryptpad, and Hubs are all parts of an experimental whole.

What should come first is the experience, but it’s still chicken and egg because artists need options!

What was interesting was the way that the 3D spaces could really become artists studios, with work (media, images, text) posted up. We could do virtual studio crits in the artists’ studio spaces with the “art” around us, even if it was in virtual form. There’s something different about the spatialisation of ideas that’s much more visceral than flat, video-screen based works.

This also allowed us to do group viewing sessions, and the way webcame screens could be juxtaposed worked well for demos like the Pif-Paf group’s virtual presence concept where networked devices were animating each other over the Internet.