A visitor uses Oculus VR Headset to view "Notes on Blindness" in Kota Tua, Jakarta on Sunday (20/11). (JGPhoto/Sheany)

Digital Design Weekend Explores Creativity in Tech

BY :SHEANY

NOVEMBER 21, 2016

Jakarta. Inspired by London's Victoria & Albert Museum's annual Digital Design Weekend, creatives from the UK and across Indonesia flocked to Kota Tua in North and West Jakarta this weekend (19-20/11) to explore technologies in art.

Warung Reparasi, or Cafe Repair, encouraged visitors to bring along long-abandoned electronics — even those broken and damaged — and resurrect them. The project pushes audiences to think outside the box and explore the possibilities of purpose.

Similarly, Pojok Kardus, or Cardboard Corner, led by paper artists Kiswinar teaches young children how to reduce waste by reusing cardboard and paper in art projects.

At the Kedai Pos restaurant, artist Jane Gauntlett showcased her virtual reality project "In My Shoes: Dancing With Myself." The work, a fusion of theater, technology and empathy, retells Gauntlett's experience of epilepsy.

“Jane got into an accident, which resulted in her epilepsy. Her experience of disability, and that many of others, is one that the public may find difficult to understand because it is very personal. This VR project is a way to bridge that gap,” Panji Pratama, press manager at the British Council Indonesia, said.

"In My Shoes" is a unique blend of traditional theater and virtual reality technology, with participants seated along a table and served by wait staff while wearing VR headsets.

“We wanted to see how we can help tell stories by incorporating technology. We found two of the most exciting VR projects in the UK; both tell the story of disabilities. These are human stories, and telling them is an important first step to educate the public about the struggles and required assistance experienced by people with disabilities,” said Adam Pushkin, British Council Indonesia's director of arts.

DDW also featured "Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness," a VR project dramatizing the life-changing experience of becoming blind. Highly immersive and interactive, the projects offers a glimpse into the life of artist John Hull by allowing visitors to explore the sensory and psychological sensations with the groundbreaking Oculus technology, biaural audio and real time 3D animation.

UK-based arts organization Birmingham Open Media (BOM) presented artist Di Wiltshire's work "Sentiment." The sensory experience replicates emotional responses of others through sounds and vibrations incorporated into a wearable vest. The interactive work focuses on original subjects who were asked a series of universal questions while their emotional responses were recorded.

“We’re interested in how arts can make the world a better place and how arts can make education easier with science and technology," BOM director Karen Newman said.

DDW opens up a world of possibilities for audiences in Indonesia, giving us a glimpse of the limitless possibilities that can be achieved when collaborations across fields take place.

DDW is part of UK/ID Festival, which began in Oct. 18 and runs through Dec. 10 across Indonesia. The festival features creative programs from the British Council Indonesia as part of UK/Indonesia 2016-18, a three year ongoing program aspiring to build new links between young creatives in both countries.

The DDW event, in addition to serving as a meeting point between art, creative technology and science, it was also a useful introduction to the personal experiences of others and successfully transformed an educational experience into a creative one.

Jakarta Remix of DDW is a collaboration between British Council, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Makedonia.

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