Six artists have been selected to participate in PICA’s XR Hackathon program, now in its second year, which runs from August to September 2022.
This competitive program sees artists, who do not have a background in working in XR (eXtended reality), gain skills in cutting-edge immersive mediums to develop new works as part of PICA’s partnership with industry leaders Frame Labs, Immerse Australia and XR:WA.
In 2022, PICA is thrilled that Alisa Blakeney, Nazerul Ben-Dzulkefli, Shanti Gelmi, Judith Huang, Sam Huxtable and Julie Ziegenhardt will join the program. An additional nine artists were also selected to participate in a one-day XR Bootcamp, which provided artists with a thorough understanding of XR mediums and how to present their work to a global audience.
Over a four-day Hackathon workshop, the six artists will work with expert developers and animators to capture their artistic visions using the potential of AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and 360 video for the first time.
The new works explore a range of ideas, from the native flora of the Southwest and experiments with shadows to the religious and spiritual power of talismans.
PICA Curatorial Fellow and Public Programs Manager Miranda Johnson said the program was born out of a desire to provide artists, performers and other creatives with the technology and resources to explore XR, in the spirit of hackathons and game jams.
“PICA’s 2021 Hackathon pilot program received a huge amount of interest from artists desperate to gain skills in immersive technologies,” said Johnson.
“The hunger to learn more about XR proved the need for skills development programs was immense, and contemporary artists were seeking opportunities to learn about XR but not finding avenues to do so.
“As a key contemporary arts organisation dedicated to the production of experimental work from different disciplines, PICA seeks to fill this gap and contribute to the expansion of XR as a creative medium for artists living and working in WA.”
Over 27 & 28 August and 3 & 4 September, artists will work in small creative teams, gaining practical experience in technical setup, software/hardware requirements, rapid prototyping and workflow to create a functional prototype.
The resulting projects will be presented at PICA as part of the XR:WA Festival from 15–18 September.
Frame Labs’ Co-Founder Justin McArdle said PICA’s XR initiative offers artists the opportunity to reinvent how art can be experienced in WA, and in the process, builds a richer digital art ecology.
“For us it’s exciting to see that PICA is 100% committed to enabling artists to experiment with and explore new art forms and experiences by harnessing the latest technologies across the entire art ecosystem,” McArdle said.
Immerse Australia Chair Natalie Marinho said: “The XR Hackathon is an amazing opportunity for artists and creative technologists to come together and create a work specifically for eXtended reality, whether it’s virtual reality, augmented reality or 360 video.
“It provides artists from non-digital practices hands-on experience with the XR development process and related software/hardware.
“They learn about the unique challenges and opportunities afforded by such cutting-edge technology, including immersive and interactive elements, and how these can be used to engage with audiences in new and exciting ways.”
XR Hackathon | 27 & 28 August and 3 & 4 September | PICA
XR:WA Festival & XR Hackathon Showcase | 15–18 September | PICA, State Library WA & WA Museum Boola Bardip
Artist Talks | Saturday 17 September | 2pm | WA Museum Boola Bardip
For all media enquiries please contact:
08 9228 6307
Meet the Hackathon Artists
Alisa Blakeney makes exhibitions, writes code, tells stories and starts book clubs to understand and participate in the changes computing makes to culture. She holds an MA in Digital Culture from Goldsmiths, University of London, and participated in De Appel Curatorial Programme 2018/19. She co-directed the Perth artist-run space Paper Mountain (2013-2015), worked as a curator at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery (2014-2018) and was a producer at Liquid Architecture Sound Inc (2020-2022).
Nazerul Ben-Dzulkefli is a ceramic artist concerned with the confluence of the built environment and the natural world along with their preexisting non-human inhabitants such as tutelary gods, demons and ancestral spirits. Being a recent migrant in West Australia, he is interested in the possibilities of trans-oceanic migration of these beings through conscious reenactment of cultural rituals and rites, from homeland, Singapore and by extension, the Malay Archipelago.
Shanti Gelmi is inspired by lines to express metaphorical and actual connection between individuals and environments, employing a multidisciplinary approach to explore the themes of connection, identity, and behaviour. Each work’s development is rooted in the concept and the medium and form is dictated by how it can be best understood. She aspires to weave a sustainable approach into developing these ideas and materiality has become the focus of her process driven approach to art making.
Judith Huang is a multi-media artist, science fiction author and translator and singer-songwriter with a Singaporean-Australian background. She has recently been working in fountain pen ink and bleach to create surreal landscapes with human figures in them. This is a medium that creates unique textures, sheen and shimmer as well as a neon reaction with bleach. She has also been working on soundscapes with modular synthesizers and vocals to accompany the images.
Sam Huxtable (they/he) is a queer/trans/neurodiverse artist living and working on unceded Whadjuk Noongar land, in Boorloo (Perth). Sam’s practice spans multiple disciples, though their primary focus is digital making. Sam’s work scopes the queer/trans body and psyche from both personal and community perspectives, looking for body alternative/alteration though new media to convey the liminalities and complexities that come with a q/t existence. Recently, Sam has been navigating the relationship/s between identity and digital space. Since completing multiple arts qualifications through North Metropolitan TAFE, Sam has exhibited and worked in residency at multiple locations across Boorloo, including Paper Mountain, Cool Change Contemporary, and PICA.
Julie Ziegenhardt’s practice is driven by a desire to play in the space where binaries intersect. I use digital media as installation, illustration, and animation in processes of uninhibited play to inform decisions made for the continuation of an object or subject through a physical-to-digital ecosystem. These decisions inform which aspects will be continued or left behind to be felt rather than seen, resulting in ambiguous and interconnected visual narratives.
The PICA Hackathon has been supported by a Sector Development Grant from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.