The ANAT mentorship provides an opportunity for practitioners under 30 to explore new artistic directions, expand technical skills and increase knowledge of networks, debates and business practice spanning a three-month period.

Managed by ANAT, the mentorship is a part of the Australian Government’s Young & Emerging Artists Initiative through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Julian Stadon – Mentoree

My practice explores the evolution and impact of newly evolved networked digital environments, currently in Second Life. This exploration is through both the anthropological documentation of interactions within these spaces, and the exposition of formalist elements inherent within them.

The evolution of networks enables access to more information in a faster period of time. This means that more phenomenological elements are experienced within these systems. These experiences question notions of identity and place, virtual and real. Slowing the velocity of this process, through the objectification of these phenomenological elements allows for pause and reflection on such occurrences.

The manipulation of spacial dimension is an integral part of all digital representation, in particular the transitions between 2D to 3D to 2D etc. and from physical presence to telepresence. The mediation of space builds a bridge between the utopia of the virtual and the dystopia of the real. I explore these notions by integrating elements from both physical and virtual space, mediating their form and composition, as an adaptive response to the new environments I situate them in. This process endeavours to create a critique of this platform for discussion between these spaces. This conversational aesthetic strengthens the network and expands the parameters of physical and virtual, dissolving their binary relationship.

At base level Second life utilises a very specific semiotic structure in it construction. This impairs the virtual experience by creating a very passive mode of interaction and spatial representation. My practice at current investigates the manipulation of Second Life’s structural composition, dimensional representation and interaction. Through this, notions of identity within different landscapes are explored in a social context. Interaction with others within networked systems is vital in providing objective perspectives on these new environments. Subjectivity can become clouded by wonderment or disorientation by the surroundings and interaction with others grounds such occurrences.

Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau – Mentors

Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau.are internationally renowned media artists working in the field of interactive computer installation. They are Professors at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria where they head the Department for Interface Culture at the Institute for Media. Sommerer and Mignonneau previously held positions as Professors at the IAMAS International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences in Gifu, Japan and as Researchers and Artistic Directors at the ATR Media Integration and Communications Research Lab in Kyoto Japan. They also were Visiting Researchers at the MIT CAVS in Cambridge US, the Beckmann Institute in Champaign Urbana, IL, USA and the NTT-InterCommunication Center in Tokyo.

Mignonneau and Sommerer have collaborated since 1992, and their interactive artworks have been called “epoch making” for pioneering the use of natural interfaces to create a new language of interactivity based on artificial life and evolutionary image processes. Their collaboration has been influenced by the combination of their different fields of interest, including art, biology, modern installation, performance, music, computer graphics and communication.

Outline of Mentorship

Throughout the mentorship I will work on developing interactive augmented reality constructs within Second life that would appear 3D, when viewed trough a head mounted display unit. Utilising the AR Toolkit, I aim to insert certain coded shapes that, when viewed through head mounted displays trigger 3D modelled objects to appear as if physically present. These objects will situate themselves in a whole new space, as augmented virtuality. Second Life will extend into the physical and the viewer will immerse themselves in these fused spaces through interaction with them. This mentorship will benefit the progression of this process by enhancing my skills base and awareness of interactive methodologies in the context of online systems. The input received through this will inform my aesthetic decisions and create more accessible outcomes. Sommerer and Mignonneau’s wealth of experience in interactive interfaces would largely benefit my own knowledge and be pivotal in shaping the direction of this project.