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Abstract for paper : 'The Evolving Collaboration - AMazed!: The AMaze Artists investigate Immersive Technology to create Imagination and Artifice', for EVA conference 2021, British Computer Society
AMaze team: Artists - Fion Gunn, Maureen Kendal, Chen Mei-Tsen, Nazia Parvez, Terri M. Broughton, Cleon Grant.
KEY WORDS: artificial imagination, VR, tool-kit, navigation, cartography, curatorial, public engagement, art, artists, virtual worlds, migration, lockdown, maze, storytelling, metaphor.
Virtual Cultural Heritage; Museums and Collections; Music, Performing arts, and Technologies; 2D and 3D Imaging, Display and Printing;
This paper examines step-by-step construction of an artificial edifice, a navigational architecture which connects AMaze Artists’ world, related projects and development of tool-kits for artists to enhance their working practice.
The cross-generational culturally diverse AMaze artists use a transdisciplinary approach, mutual interviewing techniques, insights from online meetings, continuous evaluation, iterative design-decisions, critical challenges and questioning. AMaze artists, benefitting from inter-connectivity, investigate their working practices, share visual imagery and symbolic language, identify differences, shared interests or consensus.
Within these conversations, the artists have been reconsidering, shifting their ground and transforming their practice and vision in response to their co-collaborators.
AMaze have reached out to bring in artists from other regions e.g. Mei-Tsen in Paris, France & Taipei, Taiwan; Nazia in Texas, USA & Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Previous research by AMaze artists explore virtual technologies by artist-practitioners, identifying issues around ideas of ‘natural’, ‘random’ and ‘uncanny’; access to technologies; ethical frameworks and digital regulation. Today AMaze includes artists with diverse skill-sets: architectural and service user design; 3D character animator; 3D developer; cartography; curatorial, public engagement animation and cyber/virtual eco-landscapes.
AMaze artists’ build on their histories of migration and lockdown, perceiving their role as ‘Artists-Makers and Breakers’, using virtual tools and/or visualisation to realise these interconnected immersive worlds to present: ‘Boundless: Worlds in Flux’. Within these worlds, visitors-audience-participants experience multiple perspectives and shifting perceptions as they visit interconnected immersive multiverses of visual imagery, sound and text.
Fion Gunn contemplates the impact on her own work from curating other artists in large-scale exhibitions, creative journeys experienced through migration, displacement and transformation. Through the AMaze and Freetown Heritage projects, Nazia Parvez focuses on a process of dialogue and collaboration to create shared histories, evolving narratives, and a collective virtual cultural heritage. Chen Mei-Tsen experiences time, space and memory as an urban nomad, in resonance with the diverse architectural strata of her hometown, Taipei, which witnesses over time and under influences of different countries. Maureen Kendal offers a vision of migration, trauma and joy. Cleon Grant develops 3D structural, coherent and elegant virtual worlds. Terrri M Broughton explores the significance of community through the lens of aquatic food chains and species survival.
From our age of the Anthropocene, AMaze imagines Virtual Worlds. Transposing ideas from landscape to virtual-scape. Exploring narrative navigation through use of maze, game, cycle, metaphor and avatars. Evolving participants’ space to enable community engagement and out-reach. Embracing co-creation in a meaningful way through imaginative and inventive curation.