THE FLOOR IS TOO HIGH proposes to engage with a speculative perspective as the framework to support creative projects and knowledge transfer. Through this document we will present a set of fundamental aspects that, from a pragmatic stand, are necessary to render such a project, namely objective, modes of participation, thematic axes, curatorial research, platform, social media communication strategy, institutional partnership, and preliminary budget. These aspects are understood as deeply related with one another and not as individual identities with no correlation, and for that reason is relevant to the project to acknowledge them from this initial stage.
In its proposal stage, this project was called “Creative Direction for restructuration of VR DAO”, but after a month of reflection we have come to the conclusion that this project should not be understood as a restructuration that will change what VR DAO is. It is clear that this project will modulate VR DAO operation for the time being, but it is important to also acknowledge that VR DAO and this Creative Direction project are not reducible to one another, since VR DAO can go beyond artistic research and speculative thinking, and the proposed direction can go beyond VR projects.
|MODES OF PARTICIPATION|
|Funding program for VR artists|
|The Techno-diversity of VR|
|XR professional directory|
|SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNICATION STRATEGY|
What we have here may not be the common idea of creative direction as the supervision of creation itself. We will not make any decisions over what is created, in the sense that we will not decide what will constitute a final artwork. Instead, we might think of this direction as the manifestation of a specific structure for creative operations. It is a direction in the sense of channeling by setting limits. Limits become necessary because financial support is finite, so a finite set of artists and creations can be supported under some sort of guideline (VR is already a limit in this sense), but beyond that, conceptual limits can be useful when we look for consistency and depth in the artistic endeavor. In a way, we aim for this consistency and depth in the aesthetical experience, and a relation between this experience and all other dimensions of life, but from that emerges a first problematic of value. How do we get to this value?
There is a strong relation between the immersiveness of the creative process and this value, and one fundamental condition for immersiveness in any kind of process is time. It seems we need to slow down a bit if we want to contribute to art production in a meaningful way, so we want to help artists to slow down and concentrate in making meaningful art, in a context where the creation of digital artworks seems to be at the service of utilitarian forces of production. From this idea we get to the outline of our first mode of participation that we called “Funding program for VR artists” (For now).
But giving that chance to an artist does not necessarily mean that they will be able to do something with it. There are artists that spent years working on the surface of their own creations without resolving those tensions or getting in touch with something more profound. So we should not only give them a chance to immerse in their own works, somehow we should articulate this journey. This is another big issue since this is not something that can be taught as a specific method. There could be as many methods as individuals in the universe, since methods are local. This, from our perspective, is something positive. If artists find ways to manifest their own localities and their relation with the world they live in, they might be contributing to the multiplicity of perspectives that escape from mainstream cosmological order, perspectives necessary in the planetary state of affairs.
So we have stated the necessity of such artistic gestures, but still haven’t answered how we can help artists to realize such gestures when they have never done it before. We believe that medium to long-term shared or communal practical experiences are better suited for the transfer of this kind of knowledge. So we thought about setting shared experiences between artists that, in one way or another, know how to delve into their own process and people that don’t have that experience in order to articulate the work of the person without experience in a deeper way. And there is a higher chance of realizing this knowledge transfer if these two individuals share a sensibility, an aesthetic sense, a technical interest, a social background, etc, like some sort of resonant relation that amplifies the communication between two entities. This is how we got to the sketch of our second mode of participation that we will call mentorship (for now).
These modes of participation led us to the idea of a creative program executed on a monthly basis that could be repeated for a short period and finished with an exhibition. But all the effort previously mentioned would make sense only if it is communicated to the broad public, and this makes necessary a platform. Such a platform needs to render an aesthetic experience in tune with the concepts and ideas presented. So the way things interact, looks and sound in such a platform are as relevant as the content that will be nested.
The following document is an effort to establish pragmatically the basic elements to execute such a project. But this is a live document, open to new information and to take new shapes for the sake of a strong creative project. The project emerged from a speculative thinking exercise between two artists deeply engaged in artistic research. We, from our own personal and individual perspectives, recognized how the engagement in our personal artistic practices have shaped our awareness and world-views, expanding to all dimensions of our existence. We hope this project helps others to engage with themselves and the world in a healthy and meaningful way.
In a broader sense, we aim to create a platform for artistic creation and critical reflection about art and technology relations and their possibilities to bring forth new realities and futures. A platform to experience and think about the multiplicity of cultures, natures and technologies that art can evoke.
The immediate objective is to provoke and stimulate VR artistic practices characterized by the depth of their process. In this context, the process is expected to be a reflection about VR, questioning its role, limits, tensions and relations with the current state of the world through artistic research and speculative thinking methods.
As we understand that concepts such as artistic research and speculative thinking are not familiar to all, our objective is to implement two modes of participation, one for artists with previous experience in immersive creative processes, and one for creative people interested in diving into such artistic processes or artists that want to develop their practice further. With these two modes of participation we aim to establish a program, hopefully of three months length, and finish with a physical exhibition in Lisbon.
We envisioned two modes of operation, on one side a curatorial-research based funding program for VR artists, and for another a mentorship program where an experienced artist follows-up the development of an artistic research project of a less experienced artist.
This program aims to support artistic creation by funding ongoing research of artists that in one way or another deal with VR and the thematic axes. This funding program will be on the basis of curatorial research, which means that we will research artists and their works in order to invite them to participate in the program.
Before formalization of the funding, artists will need to commit to a) sharing a detailed documentation of the creative process, stating which formats will be used, and b) participate in the exhibition showing the state of the research. This commitment needs to be formalized in written form and signed by the artist.
This program will bring new creative people to the community, contributing to the diversity of individuals and artistic production.
This program aims to support knowledge transfer by funding the follow-up of the development of a new artistic research by another artist-mentor. Mentors will be selected by curatorial research, and invited to make a 1-month follow-up of a new artistic research project. The name of the mentor will be announced a month before the mentorship in an open-call for new artistic research projects, informing the background, portfolio and technical skills of the mentor. In general terms, the two main aspects of the open-call will be an artistic research project outline, which needs to be framed by at least one of the thematic axes, and the relation between the artist and mentor in terms of shared sensibilities and/or technical interests.
The mentorship will be realized online, with weekly zoom recorded encounters. The dynamic of the encounter will be set collectively by mentor and mentee, and will be mediated by one of the curators. It is expected that each week the meente shows the progress and current stage of the research, and that the mentor supports the research outside the weekly encounter through communication platforms defined by mentor and mentee, such as emails, cloud services for control version as Github, organization tools as Trello, message applications as Telegram, etc.
This open-call will be communicated in all VR DAO social media, but it is expected to be earned by an artist already inside the Near ecosystem.
All activities, funded artistic research and mentorship follow-up, would need to be framed by at least one of the thematic axes, VR Ecologies and The Techno-diversity of VR.
Which kind of ecology we live in today? Is the relation between nature and humans enough to think about ecology, or should we stretch the concept and acknowledge the agency of technology as something more than human externalization? This research line aims to reflect and produce artworks that reflect about the condition of what we could understand as ecology from a VR-based practice.
Are we doomed to a future shaped by the technological singularity? Or, Is the multiplicity of technologies possible, and could we shape different futures departing from this multiplicity? This research line aims to speculate in theory and practice about the future from a VR-based practice.
The curatorial research will have two main focuses, artists and exhibition concepts.
First, we will map VR artists who have developed a strong practice with consistent work, being active in their own ecosystems. We will research all backgrounds and territories, reflecting about the locality of artistic practices in aesthetical, ethical and technical terms. This research will be unfolded through the whole project, and its immediate outcomes will be used to invite artists to participate as artist-researchers and/or mentors.
Then we will research and critically question current formats of exhibition for VR solo and group exhibitions. It is interesting for us to think about what it means to set a VR exhibition in a specific physical space, and what kind of relations are set between visitors, space and artworks. The outcomes of this research will shape the final exhibition of the program.
Another final outcome that will emerge from both research focuses will be critical texts for the exhibited artists/pieces, the exhibition as a whole, and the platform.
In this context, we envisioned the platform as the website of the program.
This website should make available to the public registers of 1) all people involved in the project, with detailed information about themselves (portrait or representative image, minicv, statement, selected projects and highlights of career), 2) the research processes developed during the program (text, images, sound, drawings, conversations between curators and artists, mentors and mentees), 3) developed artworks or samples of them, 4) the exhibition, and 5) critical texts reflecting about the processes and outcomes.
As the main goal is to make available the content to the public, hoping to inspire artists and creative people in general to experiment with creative immersive processes, and to reflect and think about our reality and imagine other futures with planetary awareness, the platform needs to be designed to be an experience in itself and reflecting the concept of the project (UX design), and needs to have a strong audio-visual identity, that is to say, an audio-visual identity aesthetically pleasant that captures the concept of the project. The identity should extend to all social media and communication materials.
A side project for the platform is to set database of people within the community that works with VR,and the specificity of their knowledge and work (visual artist, Unity or Unreal developer with expertise on C++,C#, js, etc , parametric designer, shaders, 3D modeling, 3D scan techniques, immersive sound design, etc ), with links to their portfolio. The database could potentially work as a directory for XR professionals inside the NEAR ecosystem and beyond.
The first step of the social media communication strategy (communication strategy from now on) will be to create Instagram and Twitter “THE FLOOR IS TOO HIGH” accounts implementing the audio-visual identity announcing the existence of the platform in shared posts with VR DAO. After that, some posts with short explanations about the project characteristics will follow, together with the announcement of the mentors program. While the program is running, artist information and processes documentation will be the main content. At the time of the exhibition, it is expected to have a large body of material to be shared. The VR-DAO Telegram channel will be also used for communication of open-calls and major milestones, but the energy and resources will be focused on Instagram and Twitter.
Since the tension between physical reality and virtual reality in VR artworks exhibition is one of the main curatorial interest, and it is expected to make a public exhibition at the end of the program, It is extremely relevant for the project to find potential institutional partners with physical structure to host art exhibitions and other kind of preliminary encounters. For this we will start mapping possible partners and systematically getting in touch with them to explain the project and study the possibilities of collaboration.
|Artistic Research Funding||$1,000.00||$1,000.00||$1,000.00|
|From last month||-$600.00|
- After the first month curatorial activities will be reduced drastically after the first month and will be embedded in the production
- The first month of social media requires more work because things needs to be set, after that the task is only management
- Group exhibition is a raw estimation that considers VR headsets, headphones, beamers, speakers and lighting renting, and the costs of the exhibition venue. The value will be depurated and detailed as part of the production task in August.