2020 Themed Commission: Remote Realities
Kaelan Doyle Myerscough
Maxwell Lander + Natalie Walschots
Tosca Teran + Sara Vogl
Elahe Rostami + Amir Rostami
Launch: Thursday, 05 November, 6:00PM
Co-presented by Trinity Square Video and Dames Making Games and supported by the EQ Bank
Remote Realities presents the 2020 Themed Commissions, which were produced over summer residencies. This year’s theme focuses on how one plays in isolation; how isolation shapes our preferences in play and what reactions to games are being cultivated in this current reality. This situation encourages and inspires us to invent or reinvent activities to provide entertainment while in isolation. We are interested in these newly founded feelings towards play and the cravings and rewards that come from these re/inventions.
In times of separation we find the ways we play games inverted, with digital games needing to recreate the physical spaces we crave to occupy, and analog games that thrive in physical spaces being moved into digital forms. The works created by this year’s Themed Commission residents explore alternative ways of connecting to ourselves, each other, and the world; from collaborative world-building experiments and a guided tour of expanded virtual realms, to forming distanced contact using telepresence, virtual reality and auditory immersion.
Rebecca Sweets is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist, troublemaker, and doll collector. Through investigative, dialectical, and immersive methods, her mediums combine tangible, performative, and interactive storytelling. Her practice involves themes of virtual intimacy, slow web/slow art and vulnerability as power. She also co-runs PRUDEmag, a zine for spinsters, rule-makers, asexuals, relationship anarchists, & all resisting a sex-necessary culture. You can find her at rebeccasweets.com.
Kaelan Doyle Myerscough is a nonbinary critical creator, game designer and academic interested in the theory and praxis of worldbuilding. They make games and organize game jams about speculation, complex collaboration and rethinking the relationship between play and locality. As of Fall 2020, they are currently co-authoring a textbook on critical worldbuilding, teaching Introductory Game Design at OCAD University, and remotely pursuing a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.
Maxwell Lander is a photographer, feminist pornographer, gamemaker and interactive media artist. He has been winning awards and exhibiting internationally since 2007, has a published book of photography and in May of 2019, completed his Master of Design in the Digital Futures program at OCAD University. He now teaches VR, game design and 360 film, and is presently working on a volumetric video project as well as something top-secret involving spies. He has also been identified by strangers as the guy that talked about eating blood on that podcast.
Natalie Walschots cultivates fandoms, builds new communities, develops character voices, leads interactive fiction workshops, designs alternate reality games, constructs branching narratives, and most mornings opens Tumblr before opening her eyes. As a writer and journalist, you can find her work in the National Post, The Walrus, Quill & Quire, The Globe & Mail, and beyond. She’s the author of two books: DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains, and Thumbscrews.
Tosca Teran is an interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of art and ecology. Tosca feels the most dangerous disease of humankind is the inability to imagine the world from another person, animal, and/or plant’s perspective. Her work in nonhuman bio-sonification, bio-materials, and immersive mixed reality environments strive to overcome these biases. In 2019 Tosca was one of the first Bio-Artists in residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto in partnership with the Ontario Science Centre, as well as a recipient of the 2019 BigCi Environmental Award at Wollemi National Park to further explore her work in bio-sonification of fungi and trees with local mycologists and botanists throughout Wollemi, the Sydney Botanical Gardens, and with Māori rangers concerned with Kauri dieback at the Arataki Visitor Centre, New Zealand.
Sara Lisa Vogl is an immersive media artist and futurist who collaboratively explores and constructs new virtual and augmented realities to inspire, unite and enrich humanity. A background in communication arts & interactive media and in love with the idea of new worlds it is Sara’s mission to go beyond the status quo of what immersive virtual realities are and explore their diverse potentials for the future. In her current engineering studies, learning about humanoid robotics, the Berlin based futurist is deepening her knowledge about sensors, haptics and the intersection between algorithms and real worlds.
Elahe Rostami is an interdisciplinary designer and media artist. Over the course of her career she has moved from creating research driven industrial design solutions, into interactive toy invention and playground design, development of interactive games, media art installations and digital media as pedagogy. Living as a lifelong immigrant and a transnational moving from Iran to Malaysia, Germany and now residing in Toronto Canada, she cultivates ways in which societies experience connection. She is drawn to incorporating natural play patterns as a universal language of communication. The topics of her artwork mostly excavate ruptures of personal and collective cultural experiences, mediating storytelling through a migration of physical forms onto digital platforms.
Amir Rostami is a Tech-Artist and researcher based in Toronto. His work is centered within but not limited to multidisciplinary installations. Amir has worked as a Research Assistant within many different Media labs at his home university (YorkU/Canada) and abroad(University of twente/Netherlands). In recent years his focus has been Artificial Life and Virtual Reality however his work portfolio spans over many different areas such as Computer CV during his residency at DispersionLab(YorkU), Audio systems design at Living Architectures Systems Group (YorkU/UWaterloo) and most recently within Alice Lab for computational worldmaking.
* Image credit: Rebecca Sweets, Habbo.com (2020). Screenshot.