Vesna Petresin

From January 2018, transdisciplinary artist and thinker Vesna Petresin, has joined the Netherlands Film Academy and the Amsterdam University of the Arts as Artist in Residence. As part of the Research Group Film at the Film Academy, Petresin’s residency focuses on new image and media technologies and their creative possibilities, and is connected to the VR Academy initiative of the Film Academy.

The main focus of Petresin’s residency is the development of an artistic research project: ‘Media Opera: a collaborative creative experiment for Mixed Reality’. This project links personal artistic research, collaboration with students through seminars and workshops, and technical challenges in media arts. The project connects disciplines, media, techniques and methods in a collaborative creative and learning experience. Its research focus is on extending methods of concept development, script writing, producing, performing and disseminating narrative in a Mixed Reality context. The creative team for this project also includes students and alumni of the Amsterdam University of the Arts.

Aims of the project
The multidisciplinary format of a ‘media opera’ merges performance art, music, visuals, film and technology. Live arts are valuable to questioning technology-heavy artistic media, where audience engagement is often missing. Mixed Reality immerses audience inside the experience of the media, rather than the media inside the audience.

The project investigates alternatives to the format of projection on a 2D screen to a seated audience. It develops, through a series of experiments, a ‘media opera’ - a gamified experience with various formats of 3D  / 4D spatialisation of content, and degrees of interactivity and immersion.

The series of experimental pieces are inspired by flow and form. The original narrative on flow of body (gesture), sound (audio) and liquid (visuals) is native to media arts whereby the sensory experience (audio, kinetic, visual) is digitally manipulated and enhanced for the audience. The aim is to enhance immersion and promote a first-person interactive experience of an art piece.

Research perspective
As an experimental research project, developing this ‘media opera’ offers a proof of concept highlighting three aspects of the artistic research practice:

  • creative: establishing a methodology for developing, performing and mediating a live media art format; creating a pilot live art piece for a VR environment
  • critical: examining cross-disciplinary creation in live media art and its theoretical backbone;  examining the role of the audience in an immersive context
  • technological: evaluating the potential to extend the VR environment from the constraints of a headset to allow a more integrated, immersive experience; developing tools for immersive live experiences that will transform the audience from consumer to prosumer-maker

At regular moments during the residency, Petresin will present the development of the project. A first ‘open studio event’ took place in the beginning of March at the ID Lab of the Academy for Theatre and Dance of the Amsterdam University of the Arts. 

Aside from developing this project, Petresin’s activities as Artist in Residency also include teaching at various master and bachelor programmes of the Amsterdam University of the Arts (film, architecture, theatre, music, dance). She also regularly does performances and gives presentations of her research project at conferences and festivals.

Vesna Petresin is a transdisciplinary artist and thinker. She has a practice as a time-architect, composing and performing with sound, light, rhythm, space, movement, text and code. She has exhibited and performed at Tate Modern, ArtBasel Miami, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Academy of Arts, Venice Biennale, Cannes International Film Festival, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Sydney Opera House, Vienna Secession, World Architecture Festival and Beijing Architecture Biennale.

Currently also a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths, Petresin has lectured and published internationally (Springer, Thames & Hudson, Wiley Academy).

Petresin’s practice explores embodiment, transformation and time, alongside the barriers between the intimate and the public sphere. Using her voice, movement, sound, image and light, she explores the concept of time in relation to body, movement, space and emotions.