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Illya Szilak uses open source media and collaborations forged via the Internet to create transmedia novels. Shaped by her experiences as a practicing physician, her artistic practice explores mortality, embodiment, identity and belief in a media inundated and increasingly virtual world. Her first novel Reconstructing Mayakovsky was selected for the second Electronic Literature Collection and was a jury pick for the Japan Media Arts Festival in Tokyo in 2010, and at Filmwinter in Stuttgart in 2011. The animation for the novel has been shown in eight film festivals around the world. Her second novel Queerskins was recognized by the Webby Awards in the category of NetArt in 2013 and was exhibited at the 5th Digital Storytelling Conference in Ankara, Turkey and at the Bibliotheque National in Paris. It is included in the third Electronic Literature Collection. She was recently the recipient of a BANFF digital narratives residency and was one of a hundred people chosen for a one day lab for VR makers at Oculus Rift.
She has presented her work at Princeton University, Brown University, the University of Colorado, Boulder, the Kitchen in New York, Bard College and the Université Paris-Sorbonne.
She blogs for the Huffington Post on electronic literature and the arts.
Her newest project is Atomic Vacation —a narrative game for Oculus Rift Touch, a journey through database landscapes—the visual representation of stored memories. These memories belong to Shizuku, a robot girl from the near apocalyptic future who is trying to recover the deleted history of her former life on Earth. By retrieving these memories for her, you enable Shizuku to reconstruct and recount her story to you.
Each landscape is a thought game of sorts. Each organizes and reveals information differently. It is expected that you will feel uncomfortable with some of these puzzles for which there is not one correct solution.