Image: GIOTTO, Ahead.IO Labs
Vancouver, B.C. (January 23, 2023) – Today, the BC Arts Council and Creative BC are pleased to announce the recipients of their Interactive Fund partnership. This year, the annual program will support 14 B.C. recipients with $615,000 to develop original, creative, interactive digital media and software projects.
The Interactive Fund provides artists, non-profit organizations, creators and creative companies with an opportunity to innovate with high-quality digital projects and immersive technologies. Project themes this year span from equity-focused storytelling apps and immersive gallery experiences to virtual reality games and applications. The Interactive Fund helps support B.C.’s leadership role in this creative industry by encouraging the creation of high-quality digital experiences.
Culture and commerce unite in this innovative collaboration between the BC Arts Council and Creative BC to attract new investment and stimulate creation of B.C.-owned creative intellectual property. This program supports projects that present clear connections between art and technology, and provides opportunities for access, dissemination, and engagement. It also embodies Creative BC’s actions for equity and inclusion in program delivery, and aligns with the BC Arts Council’s Extending Foundations: Action Plan 2022-2024.
The following projects are this year’s successful recipients:
1. 1000xRESIST! ($50,000 grant)
Sunset Visitor Studios
1000xRESIST is a hyper-cinematic narrative adventure game created by a diverse team with backgrounds in experimental theatre, dance, and new media. You play as a CLONE living at the world’s end, worshipping the last surviving human: the ALLMOTHER. When a dangerous rumour shatters your faith, you phase through time and memory—to expose a 1000-year-old lie.
2. asses.masses ($50,000 grant)
Labour, technophobia, donkeys, and sharing the load of revolution: asses.masses is a long form participatory performance that follows the epic journey of unemployed asses as they navigate the perils of a post-industrial society in which they’ve been made redundant. At its core, asses.masses is a custom-made video game with no instructions, designed to be played on stage by audience members who take turns each night stepping forward from the herd to seize the means of production and become the player.
3. EMBARK: Reassembling Chinese Stories from Archives ($50,000 grant)
EMBARK: Reassembling Chinese Stories from British Columbia’s Archives is a mobile-friendly, interactive, and 360-degree navigable website that imaginatively creates “story worlds” related to sites of early Chinese migration in British Columbia. Using materials found in archives scattered across the province, the project will offer users the chance to interact with and follow characters who are moving about the 19th and early 20th-century docks in Victoria or Vancouver. Interacting with these passing characters will reveal their story and take the user on a unique journey to largely forgotten and disappeared sites of Chinese migration.
4. Fresh Tracks ($50,000 grant)
Buffalo Buffalo Labs
Fresh Tracks is a fast-paced music-based action game on skis, with a large emphasis on adaptive audio. Armed with the mysterious twilight magic of Alpenglow, players will chase power-ups, dodge natural hazards and defend themselves against legendary creatures while exploring an ever-changing maze of wooded wintry wonderland. By mastering a core loop of skiing, collecting, dodging and attacking, players will enter a highly immersive flow state.
5. Fruit Golf ($50,000 grant)
Coal Car Studio
Fruit Golf is an asymmetrical virtual reality game that only requires one VR headset and a mobile companion app for the whole party to play. In the world of Fruit Golf, players traverse larger-than-life mini golf themed courses, putting golf balls that have been replaced by fruit and dodging obstacles placed by their friends in real time. Fruit Golf is a social game designed for players of all ages and levels of VR experience.
6. GIOTTO ($25,000)
GIOTTO is a system that allows editing the behaviours and interfaces of so called “smarter objects” i.e. a camera, a screen, a DMX controller, an audio mixer, a smart lamp, through XR. GIOTTO is redefining the possibilities on both the physical and virtual realms.
7. Immersive Creative Technology Gallery ($50,000 grant)
S.T.C. Science World Society
In 2023, Science World will open its new Creative Technology Gallery, inspiring visitors to see creative technology as a powerful tool for positive change, by immersing them in a rich, interactive environment that reveals the virtuous relationship between science, technology, art and community impact. Content for this exciting new immersive space is being developed in partnership with DigiBC, the Creative Technology Association of BC. The vibrancy of BC’s creative technology sector will be showcased within the Gallery by incorporating IP from well-known movies, animation and video games produced by local studios.
8. INHERITANCE: a pick-the-path experience ($50,000 grant)
Mosaic Entertainment Inc.
Inheritance is a pick-the-path experience, an engaging interactive feature length film about three people – Indigenous, immigrant, and settler – who clash over control of a vast piece of unceded land, and users choose how the story progresses. The project is based on the award-winning published stage play which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Drama.
9. Pain Pals ($25,000 grant)
Carmen Mario Papalia
Pain Pals is a social platform for users with a wide range of pain conditions that will take the form of a hybrid tabletop roleplaying game. It was inspired by a trauma response that lead artist Carmen Papalia had after completing an intake form at the pain clinic where he seeks treatment for sickle cell anemia. The last question in the survey, an onerous 1.5 hour questionnaire that explored the various dimensions of his pain, asked “do you ever feel like you would be better off dead?”. Pain Pals is a response to the limited opportunities in the wider culture for those with pain to give voice to their pain and identify with it as a dimension of embodied experience that sensitizes them to ways of being that are generative.
10. Remember the Buffalo ($50,000 grant)
From the Shadows TV Productions
Remember the Buffalo is an open world exploration and narrative virtual reality game in which players can follow non-linear paths through a sandbox environment. It balances explicit task-finding mechanics to motivate them towards discovery with implicit observation mechanics using a proprietary artificial intelligence Story Finding System (SFS), wrapping them inside a story that feels as if it is unfolding distinctly for them. A rare story that is only ever told once. As players seek answers to explicit puzzles, their gaze interactions are tracked and valued by the SFS constructing unique narrative paths for the player depending on their discoveries, leading to an emergent and holistic form of immersive story-driven gameplay unique in virtual reality.
11. Scramble ($25,000 grant)
Scramble is an augmented-reality interactive installation that updates in real time, showcasing Black and Indigenous art while facilitating community-led creative collaborations in the form of digital multimedia collage. This is done through the use of a web-based AR application, accessed through a QR code, which displays commissioned art overlayed in a public space. Community members may then interact with the displayed art piece by placing text, video and image-based reactions over the art piece, creating a digital collage of community-shared interactive media.
12. Storytellers: Re: Bundling our Gifts Experience ($50,000 grant)
Storytellers: Re: Bundling our Gifts Experience is a multi-sensory experience of the layers of history woven by the stories of communities. Once completed, the project will have an immersive and interactive experience, as well as web-based implementation, and a new physical gathering space in which to share stories, culture, art and futurisms of Salish peoples with the general public digitally.
13. Telling Our Story ($40,000 grant)
Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation
When the 215 unmarked graves were uncovered at Tk’emlúps (Kamloops), Sq’ewá:lxw began to discuss how they could honour the children and bring greater awareness and recognition to the impacts and legacy of residential school. Telling Our Story involves the creation of an interactive light and sound installation at the Syéxw Chó:leqw Adventure Park at Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation, a Coast Salish community that is part of the Stó:lo Nation. The installation will explore a narrative around the stories connected to impacts of colonization.
14. Virtual Guide of Stanley Park through Indigenous Eyes ($50,000 grant)
This project is an Indigenous guided virtual tour of Áxachu7 (Beaver Lake), Xwáyxway (Lumberman’s Arch) and Pápiyek (Brockton Point). Accessible both from home, or on site while on a self-guided GPS triggered walk in Stanley Park, users will learn about the land, totems, art, culture and stories of Stanley Park through an Indigenous lens.
Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
“We are pleased to support this program through Creative BC and the BC Arts Council. It is exciting to see the work of these creators come to life, and how they contribute to British Columbia’s success in the digital media sector. Congratulations to the recipients.”
Prem Gill, CEO, Creative BC
“Creative BC is proud to partner again with the BC Arts Council in support of 14 diverse and innovative projects that foster storytelling through experimentation. The Interactive Fund invests in projects that explore new ways of telling stories and demonstrates the exceptional talent in B.C.’s interactive and digital media industry.”
Dr. Sae Hoon Stan Chung, Chair, BC Arts Council
“The BC Arts Council is excited to support these digital projects in partnership with Creative BC once again this year. The diversity of exploration and use of immersive technologies across these projects is outstanding. We offer our congratulations as together we continue to put the diverse stories of B.C. on the larger digital media map.”
For more information on the BC Arts Council and Creative BC Interactive Fund, visit: www.creativebc.com/interactive-fund
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About Creative BC
Creative BC is an independent society created and supported by the Province to sustain and help grow British Columbia’s creative industries: motion picture, interactive and digital media, music and sound recording, and magazine and book publishing. The society delivers a wide range of programs and services with a mandate to expand B.C.’s creative economy. These activities include: administration of the provincial government’s motion picture tax credit programs; delivery of program funding and export marketing support for the sector; and provincial film commission services. Combined, these activities serve to attract inward investment and market B.C. as a partner and destination of choice for domestic and international content creation. The society acts as an industry catalyst and ambassador to help B.C.’s creative sector reach its economic, social, environmental and creative potential both at home, and globally. Website: www.creativebc.com
About BC Arts Council
The BC Arts Council (BCAC) was created in 1995 as an agency of the Province of British Columbia under the Arts Council Act. The BCAC nurtures and supports arts and cultural activity in communities across British Columbia. From community arts in rural and urban centres, to individual artists, professional performing arts companies, Indigenous artists and cultural organizations, art galleries, local museums and music festivals – BCAC supports a range of activities while engaging with artists and communities to inform policies and programs. Website: www.BCArtsCouncil.ca