About the Program
The New Works XR Pilot Program 2021 has now concluded. Developed between New Works, dance artist Erika Mitsuhashi, and a team of consulting artists and technologists working at the intersection of performance and XR technologies; the XR Pilot ran from June to December 2021. The program provided catered support for dance makers and companies working with or in early stages of exploring creation involving technologies that fell under the umbrella of XR. XR (extended reality) is an umbrella term encompassing augmented (AR), virtual (VR), and mixed reality technologies. The direction of the program was shaped by the supports requested from applicants, with a focus on process, research, and capacity building.
In 2021, the New Works XR Pilot Program was very much in its development phase. Operating as a case-study model, two participating artists worked 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. Participating artists had the opportunity to create a personalized program plan with support from New Works and the XR Pilot team. The 2021 program was held online. A final product or presentation was not intended as part of the 2021 program.
During the 2021 XR Pilot, Eric and Kevin spent time in studio residencies and worked with Ian and Jacob to further their respective practices. Eric produced and shot point-cloud captures, and worked with post-production software, Depthkit and Unity, to alter and augment ideas of time. You can find Eric on Instagram here. Eric’s work will also be showcased with Museum of Other Realities. Kevin took a deep dive into 360 camera work and developed a workflow for 360 shooting and editing. During his studio time, he worked on jookin and ballet research alongside collaborator Chelsea Goddard. Throughout the Pilot, Kevin developed a YouTube reel of 360 footage, exploring different ways of capturing in different indoor and outdoor locations. He also researched 360 video as a teaching tool for dancers and actors. You can find Kevin on Instagram here.
Through this year’s pilot program, New Works was able to additionally support a small group of artists as an audience in residence. Together with Eric and Kevin, New Works was able to sponsor everyone’s attendance to the PXR Symposium held by Electric Theatre Company and A Single Thread. In addition to this, we were able to support the artists with feedback opportunities at critical moments in their development.
XR Conversation Series
New Works partnered with Dance West Network to offer the XR Conversation Series on December 11, 2021. Featuring virtual conversations with artists Eric Cheung and Kevin Li, and mentors Ian Garrett and Jacob Niedzweicki; and in-person sharings with Eric and Kevin of their works-in-progress, the XR Conversation Series was our first day-long XR showcase.
Our list of XR resources, as well as examples of projects using XR technologies, may be viewed here.
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 and unceded territories of the Musqueam (xʷməθkwəy̓əm), Squamish (Skwxwú7mesh), and Tsleil-Waututh (Səl̓ílwətaɬ) peoples also known as Vancouver, BC. She holds a BAH in English Literature from Queen’s University, and a Certificate in Visual Arts from Yukon School of Visual Arts. Sierra has engaged in self-directed study in contemporary dance and Contact Improvisation since 2018. She was a recipient of EDAM Dance’s Scholarship Training Program in Contact Improvisation, and has performed with Impulse Theatre in Victoria, BC. Sierra recently collaborated with Abi Hodson on a textiles and dance film installation as part of Nocturne 2021 in Halifax, NS. She is excited to support New Works as the XR Pilot program manager.
If you are interested in the intersection of dance and XR, and would like to receive updates about future programming, we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to Erika at: email@example.com.
2021 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.
2021 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.
New Works XR Pilot is gratefully supported by the British Columbia Arts Council / Project Assistance: Pivot Program and the Canada Council for the Arts.