IMMERSION 5.0: VR Creation Lab

DEADLINE Wednesday, February 1st, 2023, at 11:59pm.

Dates TBD Summer 2023; residency will run 3 weeks @ Jengo’s Playhouse Campus in Wilmington, NC

Tuition: $1200*includes food, lodging and technical support for VR production | tuition and travel subsidies available by application

The IMMERSION Lab is a combination of a virtual reality creation residency and an invitation for artists to engage the racial history of America within the context of a southern city: Wilmington, North Carolina. Bringing multiple meanings of immersion together, this residency is an opportunity to put critical thinking into practice through immersive media projects. Through this residency, artists will learn about Wilmington’s racial history and learn to see how it shapes the present, whilst becoming acquainted with the growing field of virtual reality (VR) and developing and executing an immersive media project. 

Building on the belief that meaningful work is born out of a deep sensitivity for the context from which it emerges, we will immerse ourselves on every level. We will build group rapport through collective experiences, embodied workshops, intimate collaboration and co-mentorship of creative processes. We will engage the history of Wilmington through curated film screenings, local tours, conversations and readings, allowing our research to inform our projects and process. The tools of virtual reality have created a new space of exploration for the vanguard of immersive media and performance. The IMMERSION program asks: How do we root our virtual realities within the political and social realities from which they emerge? How do we resist the escapist trends of immersive media and deepen our relationship to place and to each other through immersion? What layers of historical, cultural, colonial, oppressive, personal and social fabrics map onto our movements in a space? How might we engage these realities actually, and virtually? As technologies evolve, how do artists adapt? 

The first week of the session will be focused on group and site introductions, local tours, as well as developing technical familiarity with the 360 cameras,  technology and gear. In the second week, we will create immersive media projects with our co-residents as collaborators and crew. The third week will be devoted to learning and beginning post production, culminating in a work-in-progress sharing of projects at the end of the residency. 

We are seeking participants who have capacity to engage in an intensive production schedule, interest in developing skills and familiarity with immersive media and 360 video, and a desire to do anti-racist work within media production. Prior experience with 360° cameras and technology will not be required. Session participants will have access to 360° video capture cameras, training in how to use these cameras, as well as technical support during the filming and editing process. Please note that IMMERSION 5.0 has access to limited computer workstations, and participants should be prepared to work from their own laptop and hard drives if they have access to them. 

Pieces created at the residency will exhibit at the VR Salon at the Cucalorus Festival in November 2023. Residents will be encouraged to return to Wilmington for the festival to participate as exhibiting artists.