AVATARS’ Identity Crisis
Curated by Ruby Thelot and Adrienne Cassel
Location: Het Huis Main Stage
Avatars are everywhere – from the digital worlds of gaming, virtual reality and the metaverse to the art world. These virtual characters are assembled from all kinds of visual sources, ranging from pop culture and movies to 3D scans of faces and bodies. The use of a wide array of datasets to create avatars raises crucial questions about ownership and hierarchy: who owns an avatar? What values are expressed by the default avatars provided by digital platforms? How much freedom do users have to customise their avatars to express their identity? What happens when a platform decides to apply changes that affect the users’ avatars? This panel will address these questions by exploring case studies that centre on the legal and social implications of digital avatars on various platforms and look at how online environments can function simultaneously as infrastructures of control and as spaces that facilitate the creation of alternative worlds.
The Avatar Identity Crisis panel examines the avatar as a medium of creation and self-representation, through a blend of artistic practice, academic knowledge and institutional perspectives. The panel will host experts Carla Gannis, a NYU professor and artist working with avatars and 3D artist and designer Tabitha Swanson. Their conversation will explore a variety of approaches to avatar creation, as well as embodiment and the contentious nature of digital beings.
The panel will be assisted in real time by Avatar Lilith, a performance piece and research tool developed through digital creation using motion capture tools, and presented live on screen. Avatar Lilith is just as real as you!
What else is on Thursday?
Check the timetable to visit more programmes with your Festival Pass (5-days) or Day Pass (1-day). With the passes you can also visit the festival exhibition Our Terms, Our Conditions at the IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] and Fotodok/Casco.
Ruby Justice Thelot― Curator
Ruby Justice Thelot is a designer, artist and curator based in New York. He is the founder of the creative research and design studio 13101401 inc. His work focuses on the interactions between humans and artificial intelligence, the metaverse and the implications of being-on-line. He has given talks and shown works in Tallinn, Berlin and Abuja, amongst other places.
Adrienne Cassel― Curator
Adrienne Cassel is a 3D artist & designer. They work in both 2D and 3D media, sound design, and mixed reality, focusing on 3D modelling, creative concepting, interactivity, and everything in between.
Carla Gannis― Speaker
Carla Gannis is a New York based artist known for her pioneering work that fuses technology and traditional media, producing multilayered narratives that challenge aesthetic and societal norms. Her art is characterized by a commitment to experimentation. Throughout her career, she has worked with an array of mediums and tools, including drawing, painting, video, extended reality, and machine learning models. Her multilayered narratives engage with the loci of identity within the context of hyperreal 21th century conditions. Gannis holds an MFA in painting from Boston University. Today she teaches “healing-edge” technology as an Industry Professor at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering in the Department of Technology, Culture, and Society. Her most recent projects include wwwunderkammer at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC; Virtues and Vices at Telematic Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Welcome to the wwwunderkammer at the Pérez Art Museum Miami; and The Elevated Line at Ryan Lee Gallery, New York, NY. Publications that have featured Gannis’s work include The Creators Project, Wired, FastCo, Hyperallergic, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, El PaÍs and The LA Times, among others.
Tabitha Swanson― Speaker
Tabitha Swanson is a Berlin-based multi-disciplinary designer, creative technologist, and artist. Her practice includes 3D, animation, augmented reality, digital fashion, graphic design, and UX/UI. Commercially, Tabitha has worked with brands including Vogue Germany, Nike, Highsnobiety, Reebok, Origins, and others to create beautiful work in the creative tech and design sphere. Artistically, her work is used as a form of therapy, often composing questions rather than answers, and trying to faintly touch the unseen edges of human existence. Much of her practice revolves around exploring thresholds, diametrically opposed elements, spirituality/religion, playful mirth, and the realms of discovery. She has exhibited at Miami Art Basel, Fotografiska, Transmediale, Mmmad, Cadaf Arts, and more.