For Nanny Cam, London-based Amelia Shivani Hassard is showing an excerpt from a VR documentary she helped to produce. We spoke over email about virtual reality 8-)
can you tell me about the film you submitted to Nanny Cam?
The video is a screencapture of a VR documentary about computational creativity. The documentary features neural net poets, AI researchers, my mum, robot graffiti, and me trying to DM Amalia Ulman. The VR version is more fun, because you can edit the documentary live. This is a screencapture of someone navigating the spatial documentary, and which we liked because it looks automated.
you say ‘we’ who else was involved? Do you like working on projects with other people?
I made this with Jack Armitage, Jacob Harrison and Jingyao Li. Jacob and I conducted and filmed most of the interviews. Jacob made the score. Jingyao produced animation and graphics. Jack programmed the interactive version. I directed and edited the linear cut. Of course I love it, working with other people is the only way to make sure what you're making is interesting to other people.
okay that sounds super complicated omg How did you produce the VR documentary?
We took each clip, sorted by thematic content within the interview / performance, then spatially organised it. Jack built an amazing navigation system, so you can 'walk' up to each clip, like you're going to an art gallery.
What happened when you tried to DM Amalia Ulman? What did try to tell her?
I just wanted to know what she thought about the way that Instagram and other apps have moved from tools for facilitating the creation of 'low art', into being appropriated by 'high artists' who subvert the commercialisation/automation of the platform.
what is your educational background?
I studied Physics at undergrad, then went to film school for a bit before it got too expensive, and I'm currently researching a PhD in narrative Virtual Reality.
What’s your best VR experience been?
Most commercial VR is really disappointing because it is just uninteresting cinema but strapped onto your face. But there are a lot of people who are using VR to train the brain and reshape our actualities, like these super cool women at Hyphen-Labs http://www.sundance.org/projects/neurospeculative-afrofeminism
and what do you think about the politics of virtual reality? do you support it utterly and entirely or do you hold any fears about virtuality n where it could take our humanity?
Yeah, i think about the new ethical concerns around virtual reality all of the time. Virtual reality works because our perceptual system can't discriminate between what's real and what's false. Soon we will have VR that is personalised to our tastes and expectations. On the plus side, its making people question subjectivity. On the other hand it is part of a general slippery slope towards lack of concern for data collection and how it shapes consumer habits and political opinion. So we need to start caring about this stuff. It is our problem. Also please vote the tories out.
top three: Uncle Boonmee, Under the Skin, Rashomon
favourite music video?
I love this pam grier hommage music video that someone made for Jungle.
and what is comin up, what projects are you working on atm?
Just released a music video for Babeheaven :)) - vevo.ly/NMotDW
I'm in postproduction on a 360 video called Sundowning - a first person narrative VR piece about what it feels like to have Alzheimer's.
Also - just launched a project called Contra Journal, a magazine about visual culture and conflict. Our first issue is about Displacement, so if you're an artist making related work, please get in touch, we want to feature you.
& jack armitage here http://www.jackarmitage.com/