A VR meetup series for women and gender-marginalized people in the field of immersive technology.
Through these meetups, we aim at connecting women and gender-marginalized people from Canada and Europe working in the creative industries and around immersive technologies to create new international connections and foster potential cooperation.
Each meetup takes on a different focus and highlights three inspiring persons from Europe and Canada, all working at the intersection of technology, art and media giving enough space for short presentations and the possibility to network in a safe and fun virtual environment.
Sara Lisa Vogl is a futurist, collaboratively exploring and constructing new virtual and augmented realities to inspire, unite and enrich humanity. With a background in communication arts & interactive media and a love for the idea of new worlds, Sara is on a mission to go beyond the boundaries of today's immersive virtual realities and to explore their diverse potentials for the future. Besides developing and directing XR experiences, Sara is studying humanoid robotics, deepening her knowledge about sensors, haptics and the intersection between algorithms and real worlds. In her free time you can find Sara DJing in VR at electronic music events.
About Women in Immersive Tech Europe
(WIIT) is a european network of women in the creative industries and around immersive technologies based in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Lisbon and Barcelona. The network wants to break barriers and to be an inspiration for women in Immersive Technologies all over the world. The WIIT community is a place to connect, meet like-minded women from across Europe and beyond, and find the resources to learn and grow.
Meetup #7: Immersive Storytelling - How Emerging Media Create Agency and Social Change
Featuring artists and filmmakers Rashin Fahandej and Rebecca Merlic in conversation with curator Dr. Leonie Bradbury. The speakers spoke about how they use virtual reality and immersive storytelling as tools for co-creation, healing and social change. This meetup is presented by Goethe-Institut Boston: www.goethe.de/boston
About the speakers:
Dr. Leonie Bradbury is the Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and Curator-in-Residence at Emerson College in Boston, USA. She directs Emerson’s platform for visual art Emerson Contemporary focused on presenting and commissioning new media art, performance art, and emergent technologies within a socio-political context. In 2020, she was a collaborator on the AREA Code Art Fair and curated and organized a drive-in movie theater experience featuring light projections and digital video art. Previously, she served as the Director of Art and Creative Initiatives at HUBweek, an innovation festival showcasing intersections of art, science, and technology. A respected authority on both the creative and scholarly aspects of contemporary art, Dr. Bradbury has more than 20 years of experience in public programming, developing new work, creating compelling and innovative exhibitions, and promoting artists as thought leaders. Her dissertation Artwork as Network: A Reconceptualization of the Work of Art and its Exhibition questions how contemporary works of art relate to network culture and, alternately, how do networks redefine our understanding of specific works of art. At Emerson College, she teaches a professional practice seminar Curating Contemporary Art as well as a course on The Moving Image in Contemporary Art. https://www.linkedin.com/in/leonie-bradbury-ph-d-1624a348/
Rashin Fahandej is an award winning artist, independent filmmaker and assistant professor of emerging and interactive media at Emerson College. Her projects center on marginalized voices and the role of media, technology, and public collaboration in generating social change. A proponent of “Art as Ecosystem,” she defines her projects as “Poetic Cyber Movement for Social Justice,” where art mobilizes a plethora of voices by creating connections between public places and virtual spaces. Fahandej is the founder of “A Father’s Lullaby, “ a multi-year community co-creative initiative that highlights the role of men in raising children and their absence due to racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Fahandej is the recipient of the 2021 Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in Digital Music & Sound Art and 2019 Foster Prize at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. She has served as a Boston Mayor’s Office Artist-In-Residence and lead artist at American Arts Incubator Austria at ZERO1 and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs where she launched the “Future of Inclusion Lab”initiative in partnership with Ars Electronica. http://www.rashinfahandej.com
Rebecca Merlic retreats between Tokyo, Munich and Vienna. She graduated with distinction at the Academy of Fine Arts, She specialized on analogue and digital art as well as architecture. Her work is strongly influenced by alternative ways of society and transgression in socioeconomic conventions as well as new forms of artistic and architectural production employing new technologies. During her masters she was able to study at Astushi KITAGAWARA Lab at Tokyo University of the Arts GEIDAI. She is a holder of the Marianne von Willemer Prize 2020 for digital media and the PIXEL,BYTEs & FILM residency supported by the BMKOES, ORF and Arte Creative. Currently her work is on display at bildraum07 on her first solo show TheCityAsAHouse 都市が家になるとき+ GLITCHBODIES WIP hosted by ARS ELECTRONICA. https://rebeccamerlic.myportfolio.com
Connect! is a VR meetup series highlighting and connecting women and gender-marginalized people in the field of immersive technology, organized by the Goethe-Institut Montréal in collaboration with Women in Immersive Tech Europe (WIIT), initiated by Sara Lisa Vogl. More about the project: www.goethe.de/canada/connect
Video Meetup #6: a new digital deal
This meetup will take ARS ELECTRONICA’s festival’s motto “A new digital deal” as a starting point to focus on subversive-creative strategies in the digital realm to empower marginalised communities with tools of creative computation and gaming.
Introduction by Hortense Boulais-Ifrène (FR/AU), Project Coordinator at Ars Electronica
Hortense Boulais-Ifrène is a researcher, independant curator and artist working for Ars Electronica festival since 2020. Focussing on metaverses, ruins, suburbia, malls and digital native childhood, she likes to show the liminality of certain abandoned virtual places and ghost towns.
Presentations by Liane Décary-Chen (CA)
Liane Décary-Chen is a designer, creative coder, and community organizer operating within the fields of digital and interactive media. A common thread which runs through all her projects is the desire to equip people with tools that will allow them to take control over their bodies, lives, and stories. She has worked in numerous fields including wearable computing, games, interactive filmmaking, and tech education. She has been working with TAG Lab since 2016 and has collaborated with Vice Quebec, Studio XX, Cambridge Radical Tech Series, festival Image+Nation, ELEKTRA, and Shanghai Design Week.
Marina Díez Pereiro (GB/ES)
Marina Díez (she/her) is a Spanish award-winning game designer based in London, UK. She's the CEO and Creative Director at Three of Cups Games, a games studio based in London. Besides, she is a Lead Game Designer at Un Je Ne Sais Quoi Studios, currently working on the game Dordogne. Marina also works as a consultant on game design and work ethics for other companies around the world.
Video Meeting # 5 : Dis/Embodiment
The focus of this meeting was on DIS/EMBODIMENT in VR.
Introduction and Curation by Peggy Schoenegge (DE), independent curator, writer and project manager at peer to space as well as chairwoman of the media art association (Medienkunstverein) Berlin. With presenations by Zeesy Powers (CA), media artist (This Could be You), and Carly Lave (US/DE), dancer choreographer (GOLEM).
Video Meetup # 4 Cinematic VR
This fourth meeting is all about cinematic VR
Introduction and Curation by Astrid Kahmke (DE), Head of European Creator’s Lab,
Keynote by Maria Courtial (DE), Managing Director of VFX and VR studio Faber Courtial,
Fireside-chat with Cathy Hackl (US), Futurist, VR/AR Producer and Thought Leader, moderated by Sara Lisa Vogl.
Video Meetup #3: Art & XR
This third meeting was all about art and immersive technologies.
Introductions by Sara Lisa Vogl, co-founder of Women in Immersive Tech Europe and New Nature participant, as well as Erandy Vergara, curator and researcher. Presentations by artists Tamiko Thiel (DE) and Tosca Terán (CA). Including a VR-live biodata-sonification of Mycelial Networks between Reality by Tosca Terán aka Nanotopia.
The focus was on on topics related to our project New Nature.
Video Meetup #2 : Gaming
This second episode of Connect! - Womxn in Immersive Tech focused on Games, inclusion and diversity in the world of immersive games.
There was an introduction by Ahn Mur, researcher and VR Games Designer about Dames Making Games (DMG) and her journey the VR Gaming industry. Gina Hara from Concordia University's Technoculture Institute, Arts and Games presented GAMERella, a game jam and workshop series that caters to women and marginalized people who haven’t had a chance to make a game before. And Ioulia Isserlis, founder of AnotherWorldVR, a German studio for the production of virtual reality experiments intrduced us to her work. Her Kobold VR experience blurs the lines between immersive cinema and virtual reality games.
Video Meetup # 1 : New Nature
The first meetup revolved around the themes of anthropocene, climate change, humanity and its impact on space and featured introductions by Leen Segers (WIIT) and multi-media artist Olvia McGilchrist (Studio XX) as well as presentations by Ylva Hansdotter (XR Impact) and Connie Kuang (Felix & Paul Studios).
Ylva Hansdotter, member of WIIT, is the founder and director of "XR Impact" and presented her project Be Earth Experience, an immersive educational work on climate change.
Connie Kuang is the Director of Marketing at Felix & Paul Studios. She presented Space Explorers, Felix & Paul Studios’ latest ambitious project in collaboration with NASA.