23 March 2014

Freedom Project Thank You Ceremony and Exhibition Launch

Today, Sunday, March 23 at 5 pm slt, marks the thank you ceremony and public launch of the Freedom Project, developed collaboratively between the University of Western Australia, members of the Virtual Ability Group, and the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses Group. Individuals who self-identified as having a disability or a chronic illness were invited to create artwork or film/machinima on the theme of ‘freedom,’ showing how virtual worlds have in some way helped them or those around them, with submissions open between 1 September 2013 and 28 February 2014. Entrants were encouraged to write a brief essay explaining how virtual worlds assisted them, or fostered a sense of community or helped transcend the difficulties and challenges posted in real life. These works are now on display at the UWA sim, and, although it's not a contest, some awards will be presented.

Possibly the most well-known persona represented is that of Fran Seranade, who in real life is afflicted with Parkinson's disease and believes that her relationship with her avatar in Second Life has diminished the impact of the disease. (Her experience was featured by Draxtor Despres in one of his Drax Files episodes—head here to see their submission. The top image in this post is part of a beautiful build by DB Bailey that documents Fran's experiences, part of the ParkArt Collaborative submission.) But many other artworks are striking and touching as well, and you can click on their titles to learn more about them. For example, below are two images created by Roman Godde. He was a police officer, and two years ago was traumatically injured with a broken back, now held together with pins and rods. Subsequently, both his parents died within months of one another. Roman found himself lost, angry and depressed—"I sank into a deep, dark world," he writes. But over time he began to discover photography in Second Life, and his work has helped heal his wounds. He writes, "I began to look for the Beauty in Darkness, to visually create what my inner soul was feeling. My art is not planned ahead of time. I am basically new to photography, but it's with my soul and emotions that drive me. This art that I create on Second Life is the only thing that while I'm creating, I don't think of anything else. It is in a way my Zen. This Beauty in Darkness is my healing, my therapy, my calm before and during the storm. This is my journey through something traumatic, that has turned into something beautiful."

Direct slurls to the works on display:
Alysabelle Resident - My story
Ama Avro - Passage
Bamboo Barnes - Cold lights
Bamboo Barnes - Show me the place
Barbie Alchemi/Fran Seranade/Draxtor Despres - We Can Learn & Grow & Heal Together
Barry Richez - Freedom of Creativity (image below)
iSkye Silverweb - Speechless Freedom
Jesse Keyes - The Time Machine
Johnny Lane - Eat Soon
Johnny Lane - Japanese Macaque
Johnny Lane - The Calm Dreamer
Johnny Lane - Vincent's Mountains
Krystali Rabeni - A Helping Hand
Mathilde Vhargon - Dancing With Impediments
Megadeus - Mental Prison
Miranda [p3n3lop3] - Dance in Stasis
Miso Susanowa - Big Winter
Misprint Thursday - Goodnight Lights
Pale Illusion - GID (Gender Identity Disorder)
ParkArt Collaborative (DB Bailey, SolasNaGealai, Brenda Brody, Tray Rivera, Barbie Alchemi/Fran Seranade) - ParkArt Gallery

Roc Furse - Escape
Roiben Sweetwater - Alice
Roiben Sweetwater - The Many Sides Of Me
Roman Godde - Beauty In Darkness
Roman Godde - Silent Night
Ronin1 Shippe - Elephant With Flower
Ronin1 Shippe - Coyote
Ronin1 Shippe - Orange Planes
Ronin1 Shippe - Three Musicians
Roxie Marten - Gaze Upon The World
Secret Rage - I Choose Freedom
Sheba Blitz - Circle of Freedom
Slatan Dryke - Yonder
Starheart Erdhein - Mandala Dance
Talia Sunsong - Freedom Flight
Tarquin Evermore - Lotus of Enlightenment
Traskin Snakeankle - Lifeline
Wally - Sky Populus
Willo - Cyberwings
Xia Firethorn - My Body is a Cage

If you would like to learn more about the Freedom project, here are posts on the UWA blog in reverse chronological order:
Freedom Project Thank You Ceremony & Exhibition Launch - 23rd March
Freedom Project Machinima Submission: Maia Kyi'Ra (Starheart Erdhein)
In Focus: The Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses and The Freedom Project
In Focus: The Freedom Project and Virtual Ability
The Freedom Project (An initiative by UWA, Virtual Ability & the Centre for ME/CFS)
The Freedom Project - Event Launch: 7PM SLT Sunday 1st Sept

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