Culture Lab: The Immersive

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Culture Labs are a week-long residency opportunity for a group of artists, from different disciplines, to share a space and explore an emergent area of practice.

From 2 – 6 March, Metal Liverpool hosted a lab which explored the area of ‘Immersive’ practice across the disciplines of sound, moving image, visual art and performance. The overarching theme was explored through keynote presentations, an exploration of the technology that is shaping the future of this practice, as well as focussed production and collaboration between all participants.

For the keynotes, Punchdrunk Theatre Company, as well as artist and filmmaker Lauren Moffatt gave presentations on their current projects.

Focussing on the newest technologies regarding sound, light, and vision, we held a series of introductions and practical sessions led by experts in their fields.

Local tech enthusiasts Draw & Code showed and explained the great advances virtual and augmented reality has made in the last years, all of which was experienced on site with examples of Oculus Rift and 3D scanning hardware as well as examples of Augmented Reality.

Kelvin Brown, a sound artist and musician, was introducing 5.1 surround sound as a way to use sound to create immersive experiences.

The Kazimier’s Venya Krutikov and Patrick Fenner from Deferred Procrastination, helped our group of artists to explore the possibilities of Arduino technologies

Managed by Metal’s Associate Curator Simon Poulter, eight artists from the area of Liverpool and across the UK joined in on this intense one-week creative hub.

Local participants were
Forrest Swords
Julieann O’Malley
Alastair Eilbeck

National participants were
Joey Holder
Anne Haaning
Doug Foster
Claire Cunningham

Coming from diverse backgrounds in their artistic practice, this and the nature of the Lab made for a fruitful, creative, and productive experience which was greatly appreciated by the artists: “the artist selection was very good, a wide mix of practice but also a strong empathy between artists and facilitators that made for very good and open communication and trust.”

Also, the aim of opening the respective artists to new technologies and trigger its future usage was certainly welcomed.
“I’m sure that I will integrate Arduino powered enhancements to my video installations in the near future and my little projection mapping experiment has given me confidence to create a new work that will use the technique to better effect. … I’m going to put more thought into the sound design of my future films and installations, having restricted myself to stereo soundtracks in the past for reasons of convenience.”

Whether or not the week will trigger the production of specific artworks remains open. However, the purpose of the Lab was to provide artists with new creative triggers and introduce them to new technologies to make use of these. And given some of the feedback we got, this was achieved.
“I’m sure that many future ideas, when they develop, will be influenced by the Culture Lab week.”
“Having been introduced to certain technologies in the lab, particularly Arduino, helped me to map out how to put some of my ideas into practice.”

Metal Peterborough have just announced an open call for artists to take part in their next Culture Lab on the theme of ‘Harvest’ see here for more details:

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