What does a virtual art community look like? On December 2nd and 3rd, a team of five Masters of Engineering students- Jiahe Zhou, Alexandre Vincent, Yuyang Pan, Kyra Chang, and Luna Izpisua Rodriguez - created an interactive virtual arts experience for UC Berkeley students visiting Isaac Julien’s video installation Playtime at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. By fostering student-student and student-art interaction, this live demo tested the concepts behind the Digital Arts Engagement Platform, a project created in collaboration between UC Berkeley’s Arts + Design Initiative and the Coleman Fung Institute of Engineering.
The Digital Arts Engagement Platform is a technology being built to weave together art communities across all sectors of campus, including those that may be unconventionally affiliated with the arts. The platform will exist as a mobile app and as an Internet of Things (IoT) device that aim to enhance student engagement and connectedness within the arts at UC Berkeley and in the Bay Area. It will also act as a co-operative digital model for social philanthropy that subsidizes arts experiences for students and low-income populations through a Dynamic Audience Development Fund, thus creating innovation within the field of ‘social’ giving through new technology.
The first live demo of the Digital Arts Engagement Platform was held last Saturday and Sunday at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, where students were invited by the Kramlich Collection to experience Isaac Julien’s video installation PLAYTIME and to be the first user-testers of the Fung team’s novel art technology. The demo consisted of a texting game, in which students were asked to capture and send moments of the experience that spoke to them. Students’ texting responses ranged from Julien’s art, to the Golden Gate, to photographs of their peers. Students were also asked to interact with fellow students through a series of exchanges, in which yellow tulips, light-up LED globes, and photographs were gifted between students, thus using virtual communication to create a face-to-face arts experience for the day, and to grow a digital arts community for life.
Special thanks to Shannon Jackson, Bill Allison, Sarah Dragovich, and the Kramlich Collection for making this amazing experience possible!