PhD Student Nettrice Gaskins To Report on Sundance Film Festival

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Due to her background and interest in new and evolving ideas and aesthetics in contemporary art such as immersion and augmented spaces, PhD student Nettrice Gaskins has been invited to cover the Sundance Film Festival by Art21, a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging audiences with contemporary visual art. In her work in the doctoral program at Georgia Tech, she focuses on the merging of culture, arts, and technology.

Specifically, Nettrice will be covering New Frontier, an experiment in the Sundance Festival presentation, which is a social and creative space that showcases media installations, multimedia performances, transmedia experiences.

“New Frontier exhibits art pieces that look at the exploration of space, culture, and storytelling by using new technology,” Nettrice explains. “It overlaps with the work I do at Georgia Tech because of its experimental nature.”

One piece in particular that Nettrice is looking forward to experiencing is called Coral: Rekindling Venus, which is an immersive film that lets players experience the coral reefs of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. This film is using new technology for immersion augmentation with documentary footage. It will be shown in 14 dome planetariums across the country and will be using augmented immersion technology to connect viewers to the environment and display the convergence of art, storytelling, and new media technology.

“The idea of the film is to create an experience and dialogue about that experience,” Nettrice says. “But you won’t exactly know how the immersion technology will be used or how the piece will play out until you actually experience it. It’s an artform, and what I’m going to do with my writing for Art21 is to bridge the gap of understanding for people who are new to augmented reality experiences.”

Understanding immersion and augmented spaces in contemporary art like the pieces exhibited at the Sundance Festival is important to the work done at the Digital Media Program at Georgia Tech because these pieces “create new spaces within a space, a world within a world, a simulation ” as Nettrice explains. “The augmented reality technology used in pieces like Coral: Rekindling Venus re-conceptualizes the concept of augmentation and immersion as an idea and cultural and aesthetic practice rather than just experiencing the technology. It highlights the dynamics between creative expression, spatial form, and information.”

Nettrice will be at the Sundance Festival January 24th-27th and will be writing 3-4 posts for the Art21 blog. She also writes about contemporary art in her blog. You can follow her on Twitter (@nettieb) to keep up with her thoughts and commentary.

Edit: Nettrice left some of our program postcards at Sundance to spread the word.