Epic Collaboration for New Kind of VR Gallery

How do you best engage with art?

With physical art spaces, typically the challenge is constraints – we’re limited in our space, materials and techniques in the creation of any given gallery. On the flipside, in VR the challenge is lack of constraints – anything at all is possible, so what do you build?

Architects, Artists and their patrons have been working for millennia inventing and refining ways to create powerful experiences interacting with art. VR is still finding its feet, but brings incredible potential in terms of interaction – the exhibition space and even the art itself can respond to a viewer’s presence, their actions, even their emotions.

How do you best blend these traditional and new approaches?

Banging Rocks is beginning to explore that question through a collaboration that brings architecture, art, and audience together through a series of immersive VR experiences. We’re doing so as part of a truly amazing team.

The Architecture – Maia Kumari Gilman

Maia Kumari Gilman is an architect, artist and author from Vancouver who works as an architect in New York City, and who maintains a private art studio at her home in New Jersey. Trained at the University of British Columbia, Maia moved to New York after grad school on the strength of a recurring dream: that she was living in New York, and she was painting. She now shows her abstract mixed media works internationally, including as a member of the Domus Terrae group of artists from North and South America, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

No stranger to exhibition design, Maia has worked on several art gallery exhibition spaces: as designer of the permanent collection’s exhibition space for the Rockwell Museum (a Smithsonian Affiliate) and the climate-controlled archival spaces for the American Academy of Arts and Letters in Manhattan (with Allanbrook Benic Czajka Architects); as construction administrator of the new wing of Reynolda House Museum of American Art which included gallery, teaching spaces, library and archives (with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects); and as architect of the interior renovation of commercial boutique and gallery Scooch a Mi (in her own practice, Maia Gilman Architect). Most recently, she completed a 3D animation of the entire Domus Terrae group art show at the United Nations. In a collaboration with Banging Rocks, she is turning this 3D model into a virtual reality user experience.

Maia is a former volunteer and employee at three Granville Island businesses: a teen volunteer at the Arts Club Theater; a university undergraduate student employee at Beadworks in the Net Loft; and a graduate student employee of architectural and urban design firm Urban Forum. She is excited to return to these formative roots to envision and to develop a virtual art space in conjunction with the Federation of Canadian Artists, a longtime Granville Island establishment.

Maia can often be found on Granville Island perched with coffee over the Blue Parrot, sketching her next urban visions.

The Art – Federation of Canadian Artists

The Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) is a non-profit whose mission is to advance the knowledge and appreciation of art and culture to all Canadians. 2,800 visual artists strong, the FCA showcases emerging and established artists’ work through the Federation Gallery on Granville Island in Vancouver. With over 75 years of organizational experience, they successfully unite a wealth of art, education and experience to bring artists and art appreciators together.

The FCA brings a lot to the table for this project. They are contributing their knowledge of art exhibition, along with a deep understanding of the Canadian art scene, their database of over 14,000 works of art from some of Canada’s finest artists, and the knowledge of their staff and membership.

“The way people are creating and enjoying art is changing”, says Patrick Meyer, Executive Director of the Federation of Canadian Artists, “We’re excited to be partnering with Banging Rocks to embrace that change.”

The Audience

Through this collaboration, we’re hoping to help all Canadians discover the sheer wealth of art Canada has to offer, and add a new kind platform to showcase Canadian art on the global stage. We will be creating a range of VR experiences, some geared towards public exhibition, some geared towards home use, and others geared towards educational content. We will experiment with a range of different ways to engage with art, artists and the arts community, and hope that you’ll join us!

A Project page will be live soon with more details. For further information about this project, email daniel@bangingrocks.ca.

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