Gabriel Pereira

Collaborative VR, Impossible Spaces

There is an urgent need for affectively rich virtual environments for creative collaboration for international and culturally diverse communities of researchers using arts-based methods. The COVID-19 pandemic shone a bright light on an already existing gap in platforms for individual artists, researchers, and global arts research communities who wish to exchange and build new knowledge towards social justice through effective virtual spaces beyond video conferencing.

Our experiment: An iterative, experimental virtual reality space for knowledge exchange and collaboration for the global community of artists, designers, and transdisciplinary researchers of the Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR), co-designed with M Eifler and Evelyn Eastmond (Microsoft) and a focus group of CAD+SR Research Fellows. In July 2020, we led this process of creating a remote-spatial collaboration space in Mozilla Hubs for the group’s virtual research residency. Collaborators created multiple forms of virtual reality exhibitions and exchanges, and the space activated a significant sense of affective connection, despite considerable differences in technology literacy, hardware, and Internet or cellular data access.

This project is a collaboration with Dalida María Benfield, Christopher Bratton, Evelyn Eastmond and M Eifler. An essay on this project is forthcoming on “Art as Social Practice: Technologies for Change,” edited by xtine burrough and Judy Walgren.

This project is part of CAD+SR, and also part of a Microsoft Remote Education/Collaboration User Study (led by Evelyn Eastmond + M Eifler).

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