Reality Bytes

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The work of Australian artist Georgie Roxby Smith challenges the relationship between analog and digital systems, questions materiality and explores new possibilities of virtual reality software. In her Watermill Center residency, Smith is collaborating with new media and theater artists from New York and New Zealand to develop Reality Bytes, an interdisciplinary creation that incorporates visual arts practice, installation, new media art, video art, theater and performance, bringing them together in one “event.” She and her cohorts will present their work-in-progress on April 29.

Smith’s recent creations have explored new possibilities of virtual reality media in contemporary art practice. In Reality Bytes, she extracts and re-injects her Second Life avatar into physical space so that her work exists on a kaleidoscope of planes: “in world,” within a body of physical sculptures, as ephemeral projections in space; and as recreated performances by both humans and avatars. The effect is that of a hall of mirrors, in which viewers occupy multiple realities at once. In fact, through Second Life, audiences will be able access the virtual installation component of the final work not only in person at Watermill, but from their own homes.

At Watermill, Smith is collaborating in the same physical space with several artists she has worked with only virtually, including Oberon Onmura, a New York-based artist specializing in Second Life; performer Fernando Ariel Gallardo; and Paula Van Beek, a New Zealand-born, Australia-based dramaturge, animator and lighting designer. During her residency, on April 24, Smith will also conduct a public workshop introducing participants to the world of contemporary art within Second Life.

The work of Georgie Roxby Smith, which spans a range of disciplines, has been presented in galleries, theaters and festivals including the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Her practice explores new possibilities of the use of virtual reality software, specifically Second Life, in contemporary art through the extraction of “in world” performances into physical installations that create mixed reality events and happenings.

Georgie Roxby Smith’s residency is supported by the Ian Potter Cultural Trust and the American Australian Artists Alliance Dame Joan Sutherland Fund.

Click here to view images from the April 29th Open Rehearsal.