PICA announces 2022 XR Hackathon artists

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XR Demos 024 1024x683 1

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:WA Program

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

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