About Illya Szilak

Illya Szilak is a transmedia writer/artist, independent scholar, and curator. She and her long time collaborator Cyril Tsiboulski (Cloudred Studio) were recently awarded a grant from Tribeca Film Institute/MacArthur Foundation to create a VR experience inspired by their online narrative installation Queerskins. Reconstructing Mayakovsky www.reconstructingmayakovsky.com was included in the second Electronic Literature Collection and was a jury pick for The Japan Media Arts Festival 2010. The animation done in collaboration with Pelin Kirca has been shown in eight film festivals around the world. Her second multimedia novel Queerskins www.queerskins.com was recognized by the Webby's in the category of NetArt in 2013 and was exhibited at the 5th International Digital Storytelling Conference in Ankara and at the Bibliotheque National in Paris. It was recently featured as part of a group show Queertech.io at three LGBTQ festivals in Australia. She and VR artist Oscar Raby (VRTOV Studio) received a grant from the Sundance Institute/Arcus Foundation to make a VR experience inspired by Queerskins. She is an Oculus Launchpad Fellow. Her longtime collaborator is interactive designer Cyril Tsiboulski at Cloudred Studio (NYC). Their current project is Atomic Vacation a narrative game for VR. www.atomicvacation.com and devblog at www. https://www.facebook.com/atomicvacation/ She blogs on Electronic Literature and the Arts for the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/illya-szilak/

Soft Launch of “if I could have anyone”

We did a soft launch at my apartment this weekend. It was a magical moving experience. When you crowdsource a project, it finds its own energy. I thought this would be about hope and love and faith in the future, but most of the objects donated have to do with   loss of love, youth, dreams. The evening was both a kind of collective mourning, not heavy, the weight of a sigh. But, I realize that renewal requires that recognition of loss to make a space for something else. So it was melancholy, but not sad, and also joyous and slightly electric. It was unexpectedly profound and I thank everyone for donating. If you’s like to participate, send your small meaningful object with a short description of its significance, history or imagined future history to PO Box 1279, NY NY 10113. Include your name and address (we will not reveal it) and you will get a photo of your object in communion with a “lover.”  Note: objects will not be returned. Follow on Instagram @gameoflovex3 Photos by Tagger Yancey.

 

if I could have anyone in the world, it would still be you (gameoflovex3)

 

spahr poem pinterist

We are in talks with a Canadian film festival to put on this new project, curated by Tansy Xiao  with Queerskins: a love story for VR. Hopefully, we will be presenting it at Tribeca VR Arcade as well. Although it is very simple, the impact can be quite profound. What you realize is that as we move more and more into the virtual, objects–the weight, color, smell, patina of materials become even more powerful.

This crowd-sourced project explores and encourages expanded forms of intimacy enabled by the Internet and social media platforms. Appropriating these procedures not only as part of their art-making but also as a means of distribution, the artists celebrate the willingness of strangers to give of themselves to others. Importantly, they, re-introduce the awkward, fragile condition of embodiment (both in terms of material objects and the bodies of those who receive the gifts) as a catalyst and reservoir for generating discomfort, surprise, and delight.
The project itself is a hybrid machine that moves between virtual, imagined realities and material/historical ones. It is a kind of game played by three people that begins with a donor imagining the perfect lover, the lover who will accept and love her exactly as she is The donor offers some object meaningful to her that she hopes will be received with perfect understanding and requisite respect and honor. The stranger has the same idea, and chooses the object that best resonates with her as a gift given by her dream lover. She then displays it/communes with it upon or in her body with all the reverence and love that she feels or wishes she felt. In this way, the object becomes a transitory prosthesis (touch deferred)  or else the stranger becomes a queer skin (in video game terms) for that object. This act, then in the form of a photograph (facilitated by the artists) posted on Instagram, becomes her gift in return. The donor and the stranger will likely never meet, but they have shared something incredibly intimate which is both materially real and entirely imagined.
Loosely inspired by the multimedia narrative Queerskins (www.queerskins.com), which tells the story of a young gay physician from a rural Catholic Missouri family who dies of AIDS in 1990, the project asks participants and viewers to consider what happens to the concept of love when the dangers and pleasures of material exchange are eschewed in favor of virtual transmission.
We have two events in February featuring photographer Tagger Yancey
February 14th 6-10 pm at Sensei Gallery, NYC
February 17th 6-10 pm at Arete Gallery Brooklyn
Please join us as a donor or lover or both.

 

Transgender, Vulnerable, Diversity

 

diary

The Centers for Disease Control can’t write these words anymore. The White House webpage on National AIDS policy is literally blank. Donald Trump just fired the rest of the AIDS Advisory Council by Fedex.  Queerskins is a project especially needed NOW.

Thanks to our incredible supporters–we successfully funded our Kickstarter campaign. Special thanks to Chris Vroom (Collector IQ), Ed and Ilene Vroom, Piri L. Welsch and Karen Olson, Dr. Yael Halaas and especially artist T-mo Bauer for their generosity. Check out the short video to get a sense of what Queerskins: a love story for VR is all about.

This is not a partisan political work, but through story and technology, it puts visitors in the position of experiencing the intimate interior worlds of others. You aren’t in the driver’s seat, because, you know, as in life, as in politics, it’s still the dad who drives. Death is final. You can’t change that. The material reality that LGBTQI people experience every day is not something you can wish away. But, you can change your own mind, your own way of accepting and supporting others within or outside your community. You can expand your conception of who is worthy of love and forgiveness and respect. This work allows YOU to create the main character. Who was he, what was his life? Was he worthy? Maybe you will hate that he is religious or maybe you will hate that he has sex with men, wherever you come from, you will construct him a different way. As a woman, trained as a physician specializing an HIV who works in one of the most notorious jails in the U.S. (Szilak) and a gay man (Tsiboulski), we have our own answers, just as you will have yours. There is no judgement right or wrong. Our hope is that, in constructing the story, you’ll learn something important about yourself and your limits. It’s a gift to understand this. Because, only in seeing it, can real change happen.

#Queerskins: a #love story for #VR is live on Kickstarter! #futureofstory

Please support this groundbreaking interactive LGBTQ centered drama that combines cutting-edge tech with intimate, lyrical storytelling.

 

We are brave. We take risks. We break rules. We do not take “no” for an answer. We will go to the ends of the Earth for our projects. We have Skyped with a Japanese designer of androids at 2AM, we have toured North Korea, we have spent days driving around rural Missouri eating fried food and shooting 360º video, we have learned foreign languages.

When it comes to trying to make people give us money, we are not the hustlers we wish we were. Getting grants from Sundance Institute and Tribeca Film Institute has been like finding the Wonka golden ticket. It shouldn’t be that way. But, that’s how the world works. That monetary support and the fact that it opens doors has made all the difference.

We are hopeful that through this Kickstarter campaign we will find people of all stripes and types who want to be part of this groundbreaking VR experience that celebrates love in its many forms. We need your money, but we also need your good will to spread the word and publicize Queerskins through your social networks. VR is not yet a widely adopted consumer platform. We know that our major outlets right now will be in film festivals and art exhibitions. Your promoting us helps not only with raising money but with the equally big challenge of getting it out there and seen.

Please.  For the price a a couple skim latte’s you can have this…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/janthesvg/queerskins-a-love-storya-cinematic-vr-experience/posts/2051802

We Did It!

#VR #Film #interactivecinema #tech #story

We finished shooting Queerskins: a love story episode 1 with Depthkit. The camera rushes are phenomenal. Hadley Boyd and Drew Moore gave their all for these performances. For updates–sign up for our newsletter at www.queerskins. com

Thanks again to Dawn Saito for excellent help with gesture and movement. Because visitors will mostly see the actors from behind at intimate distance, from the backseat of a photorealistic 1986 Cadillac Sedan Deville, actors had to learn to “act from the back” using posture, gesture, muscle tension. I watched the rehearsal tapes, chose gestures that actors actually “felt” and used that to begin choreographing them with Dawn.