Black landscape poster with white capital text that reads "XR Pilot Program. June to Nov 2021." There is a small white New Works Logo above.

About the Program

New Works XR Pilot Program 2021 is a new program currently in development between New Works, dance artist Erika Mitsuhashi, and a team of consulting artists and technologists working at the intersection of performance and XR technologies. XR (extended reality) is an umbrella term encompassing augmented (AR), virtual (VR), and mixed reality technologies. 

The New Works XR Pilot Program will provide catered support for dance makers and companies working with or in early stages of exploring creation involving technologies that fall under the umbrella of XR. Operating as a case-study model, 2 to 3 participating artists or groups will work with the XR pilot team to develop a structured working plan and identify key resource needs to support their goals and objectives for their XR projects in the form of: workshops for skill development, mentorship with senior artists, connecting with technologists and coders, and XR resource sharing. If this is something of interest to you, we would like to hear from you. Examples of projects using XR technologies here.

The New Works XR Pilot Program is very much in its development phase. The direction of the program will depend upon the supports requested from applicants, with a focus on process, research, and capacity building. Participants or participating groups will have the opportunity to create a personalized program plan with support from New Works and the XR pilot team. By learning from each other’s experiences, participants will gain sustainable skills and knowledge over the course of 6 months (from June to November 2021). A final product or presentation is not intended as part of this year’s program. This program will be entirely online.

Program Team

Erika Mitsuhashi is an dance artist based based in Vancouver, on the unceded territories of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) and Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Nations. Spanning disciplines, her work and collaborative projects have been presented locally and internationally at platforms including PAUL Studios Berlin, Toronto Love-In, Surrey Art Gallery, Halifax’s Kinetic Studio, VIVO Media Arts, La Serre’s OFFTA festival of live art and Theatre Replacement’s PushOFF. As part of the inception of the XR Pilot program, she is excited to be the program coordinator and artist liaison.

Sierra Megas is currently based on the traditional territories of the Lkwungen (lək̓ʷəŋən) (Esquimalt and Songhees) peoples, Victoria, BC. She holds a BAH in English Literature from Queen’s University, a Certificate in Visual Arts from Yukon School of Visual Arts and 3 years of self-directed study in contemporary dance and Contact Improvisation. In 2020, she was a recipient of EDAM Dance’s Scholarship Training Program. Sierra is in the early stages of developing her creative practice as a dance artist. She has worked in arts and culture administration over the past 7 years, and is excited to join New Works as the XR Pilot program manger.

Program Mentors

Ian Garrett is designer, producer, educator, and researcher in the field of sustainability in arts and culture. He is the director of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts; Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University; and Producer for Toasterlab, a mixed reality performance collective. He maintains a design practice focused on ecology, technology and scenography.

Toasterlab creates place-based extended reality experiences that promote deeper engagement with history, community, and imagination. Toasterlab combines expertise in storytelling, theatrical and media production, and the development of new technology to produce both original work and partnerships. Our work ranges from site-specific live performance to bespoke mobile applications and VR films, and often combines a variety of approaches to collapse time and space for the delivery of impactful narratives. From the largest festivals to community youth workshops, we build accessible ways to understand places in whole new ways.

Justine Schroeder Garrett is a director, producer, writer, and actor. She’s a producer for Toasterlab, which creates place-based extended reality experiences and immersive, interactive shows. She co-wrote Transmission, an augmented reality (AR) performance series at FuturePlay (Edinburgh) and the Future of Storytelling Festival (NYC) in 2017. She recently directed the Captain Me interactive series for children, premiering in 2021. She is the recipient of an Emmy Award for her production work on the documentary No Greater Love.

Jacob Niedzwiecki is a queer artist who works in code, media, and movement. After retiring as a professional dancer, he has choreographed and directed dance films that have shown in festivals around the world; directed multicam dance livestreams for the National Ballet of Canada, Nuit Blanche, and others; and created several live performance works including Jacqueries, an immersive on-location parkour heist which was awarded the Vanguard Prize for Risk and Innovation at SummerWorks 2014. He frequently collaborates with dance and theatre artists as a sort of technological dramaturg, and has created web- and app-based experiences with TIFF, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Soundstreams, adelheid, and others. He’s also the instigator of the Cohort initiative, which makes it easier for artists to integrate mobile devices in their work. He splits his time between Calgary and Toronto.

Program Artists

Eric Cheung is a Vancouver based street dance / contemporary artist who was born in Calgary, Alberta—widely known for his specialization in the funk style of Popping.

Eric is a company member of Ouro Collective, partaken in the creation and premiere of HAKO in 2018. Currently in the creation process of their new works entitled Fire06, SOTTO51, and 7y98D.  

Individually, Eric has to lead a wide range of projects to expand street dance’s perception and boundaries within different mediums. Eric recently finished his first iteration of a 20-min solo work entitled iye (2019) in the MiBC Creative Residency and recontextualized iye as a web-based interactive experience entitled iyeism. Eric has developed movement short films such as Wave, I(n)finite and E_GO. Eric is currently pursuing the immersive technologies of VR to dance in collaboration with the Museum of Other Realities (MoR). 

Kevin “Shazam” Li is a choreographer and dancer best known for his hand choreography work on the American fantasy TV series The Magicians. Kevin has also worked on the Apple TV series SEE as a movement researcher/choreographer.

Kevin started dancing after moving from Hong Kong to Vancouver in 2009. He fell in love with street/club dance. He then joined SOULdiers, a part time training company that focuses on hip hop and other street dance styles. After that, Kevin went on to focus on tutting, flow arts and animation dance. 

In 2014, Kevin joined Modus Operandi, a Vancouver based contemporary dance training program. The directors Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond recognized his street dance ability and gave him a chance. The 4 year professional development focusing on technical, artistic, choreographic and collaborative skills prepared him for a wide breadth of work in dance and movement.

Kevin is interested in all kinds of dance and art, he is especially interested in how different forms/cultures intersect. He would like to continue exploring and bridging different forms, different cultures and their communities.

XR Resources

We encourage you to check out our list of resources and past examples of projects centred at the intersection of performance and extended reality – here.

Program Details

Available Program Supports:

  • $4,000 honorarium for subsistence during participation in program
  • mentorship and support in developing processes for integrating immersive technologies 
  • connecting artists to technologists
  • digital/virtual literacy & specific skill development
  • access to gear/virtual resources
  • access to virtual resources list
  • access to workshops catered towards areas of interest
  • working in a case-study model using artist’s actual projects as learning opportunities
  • bi-monthly check-ins with cohort to share progress, challenges, and discuss directions for support
  • studio/residency support (depending on availability and scheduling)

Proposed Timeline:

JUNE

  • open for applications – June 4
  • info session – June 14
  • application deadline – June 25

JULY

  • reviewing goals and objectives with artists and XR pilot team
  • designing and building personalized support framework
  • consulting with XR mentors

AUGUST will be a break.

SEPTEMBER

  • supported activities begin 
  • bi-monthly check-in meetings

OCTOBER

  • supported activities continue
  • bi-monthly check-in meetings

NOVEMBER

  • virtual open studio sharing with 2021 cohort
  • public sharing of research and conversation between artists and mentors
  • feedback & conversation in building of this pilot program for future iterations

Info Session

Thank-you to those who attended our info session on June 14th, 2021. If you missed it, you can still access the live Zoom recording, English transcript, and chat box links and resources below.

Live Zoom Recording – XR Pilot Info Session June 14

A screenshot of the Zoom XR Info session showing a grey slide that reads "New Works XR Pilot Program 2021"

English Transcript – XR Pilot Info Session June 14

Zoom Chat Resources – XR Pilot Info Session June 14