Press Release

The Australia Council for the Arts has selected the recipients of its $30,000 collaborative massive multi-user virtual environment (MMUVE) arts project, MMUVE IT! – The organisation’s second virtual worlds arts initiative.

Sydney-based visual artist and writer Andrew Burrell, and Brisbane-based arts/science practitioner and researcher Trish Adams will collaborate to develop an inter-disciplinary artwork exploring cognitive processes and body movement and its relationship to virtual environments in both Second Life, and the recently released Australian virtual platform, Vastpark.

Burrell and Adams will develop a human/computer interface system that explores the artistic possibilities of neuroscience studies. The artists will explore cognitive and navigational systems and reinterpret them in real-time interactive installations and virtual worlds. They anticipate developing systems that will allow viewers to interact with artificial life created in virtual worlds through sensor readings of bodily functions such as physical gestures, breath, heartbeat and other nervous system activity.

Burrell and Adams will collaborate with Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, head of visual and sensory neuroscience at the Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland – where Adams is currently artist in residence. Professor Srinivasan was the recipient of the 2007 Premier of Queensland Smart State Fellowship Award for his leading research into cognition and navigation systems in small brains such as the honey bee.

Australia Council inter-arts office director Andrew Donovan said that the number of high calibre applications made the decision process difficult. ‘Our previous Second Life project, Babelswarm really broke new ground for the Australia Council and Australian interdisciplinary arts in general – it set the bar very high for the next phase of our engagement with virtual worlds, MMUVE IT!’

‘Andrew and Trish’s project is sophisticated and thought provoking. It challenges the relationship of real and virtual worlds by engaging the body directly to virtual networks. We’re confident that the project will again ensure Australia’s place at the forefront of creative digital and social networking practices and we are excited to see the end results,’ Mr Donovan added.

[image David Blaikie]