Bennett, A et al 2016, ‘Virtual Drag’ (vr film), in 360 Vision [online app featuring Australian virtual reality content], Screen NSW.
‘Virtual Drag’ was included in the launch program of Screen NSW’s virtual reality channel ‘360 Vision’ showcasing Australian VR content
Screen NSW, in partnership with ABC, Screen Australia, AFTRS, & Event Cinemas, today launched Australia’s first virtual reality channel for Australian VR content. Called ‘360 Vision’, the channel is free online via a smartphone app available via GooglePlay and iTunes.
One of the virtual reality films selected for the inaugural showcase by Screen NSW is ‘Virtual Drag’, featuring larger than life encounters with some fabulous drag performers in fantasy environments. Virtual Drag was made by artists Alison Bennett, Megan Beckwith, & Mark Payne. The project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, Deakin Motion.Lab & Media Lab Melbourne. Bennett & Beckwith are both creative arts researchers associated with the Deakin Motion.Lab.
For Virtual Drag, Bennett, Beckwith & Payne initiated an exploration of computational photography for creating immersive media content. “It then struck us,” explains Alison Bennett, “tha
t the drag notion of ‘realness’ and the practice of drag gender performance offers fresh perspectives on the cultural production of virtual reality.” Their video lecture on this topic for the UNIT Festival in Berlin was featured in MotherBoard’s report on the festival.
‘Virtual Drag’ premiered in February at Midsumma Festival Testing Grounds in Melbourne. Since then, it has generated something of a small buzz internationally in new media art circles. It was featured on the uber cool UK based blog Prosthetic Knowledge, and picked up by Tumblr Radar. It was shown at ACMI for the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and invited to join the Kaleidoscope World Tour of cinematic VR. The computer game culture magazine KillScreen noted that the convergence of virtual reality and drag ‘realness’ opens a rabbit hole of accelerating conceptual possibilities. The Killscreen article was retweeted by @NEWINC, the art technology incubator of the New Museum. The New York based Creators Project declared “virtual reality art gets what it’s sorely been missing – drag queens” and the story has since been translated into French, Greek and Chinese. (link to media clippings here)
The launch of the 360 Vision app is just the first step in Screen NSW’s strategy to support the development of Australian virtual reality content. They have invited leading vr producers and creatives to meet in Sydney for a workshop to support this emerging sector.
Virtual Drag was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, Deakin Motion.Lab & Media Lab Melbourne.
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Virtual Drag contact: Alison Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org 0407 853 596
360 Vision media inquiries: Tracey Mair, TM Publicity, for Screen NSW 02 8333 9066
LINK TO IMAGES FOR MEDIA USE: DROP BOX OF IMAGES
IMAGE CAPTION: Philmah Bocks for Virtual Drag