September 23, 2021

[RECAP] Summer 2021 XR Residency for First Nations Artists—


This past summer, the Concordia Research Chair in Interactive Documentary Filmmaking and the Milieux Institute joined Wapikoni Mobile to enable the first XR Residency for First Nations artists. The residency showcased the work of the four selected artists: Kijâtai-Alexandra Veillette-Cheezo (multidisciplinary artist and Anicinape director), Kathia Rock (Innu singer, composer, actress and storyteller), Raymond Caplin (illustrator, director and 3D animator from the Mi’gmaq Nation), and the young Mohawk actor and artist Taio Gélinas. The four artists were mentored throughout the residency by Marco Luna, XR professional and technologist from the cross-cluster Immersive Reality lab at Milieux.

In order to develop knowledge transmission and accessibility to digital creation technologies, this residency surrounded itself with partners from the XR creation community: Centre PhiCentre Phi, SAT, Concordia University, XN Québec (who wrote a terrific recap of the project in French here), Nest Immersion, and the Festival du nouveau cinéma. This collaboration aimed to support Indigenous talents by providing training, accompaniment and professional development in order to promote Indigenous representation in this emerging ecosystem. All of the Research Chair’s activities and equipment were moved to the Verdun Cultural Centre which then became the headquarters of the residency to facilitate production and to support Milieux members who participated in knowledge sharing activities. Undergrad Fellow Dion Wang gave a workshop in frame by frame animation and 3D paint using Quill, PHD candidate Olivia McGilchrist shared her passion for 360˚ video production, Cinema Faculty and the Research Chair’s Principal Investigator Daniel Cross provided professional development insight for future projects and undergrad. Maxime Gordon helped implementing surround sound at the Wapikoni dome while doing her own research on interactive sound using VR trackers in UNITY.

Wapikoni recently acquired a nomadic projection dome which will travel to different First Nations communities to showcase interactive projects and to ignite exploration in immersive technology among the young creators.

To watch a video recapping the experience, click here! To view the VR works developed during the XR Residency, please contact innovation@wapikoni.ca. To learn more about the creative process and learning tools involved, contact Marco Luna directly at vr.milieux@concordia.ca.