Sunday was a beautiful day to debut Queer Code Collective’s new Flocking Bow Valley exhibit on the big screen in Canmore, AB at ArtsPlace Canmore’s Festival of Art and Creativity and as part of the first Canmore Pride. 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️
This sim is now available online! Check it out at Flocking Bow Valley! It runs on the web from mobile📱 or PC💻.
Flocking Bow Valley is an extension of the original Flocking QT Stories installation, with all new stories collected from Bow Valley LGBTQ2S+ community members and a redesign of the simulation.
The new simulation has 42 short stories (approximately 90 minutes total) about gender and sexuality-based marginalization and resilience embedded in a a multiagent-based simulation that illustrates how structural (macro-level) phenomena such as gender and sexuality-based marginalization and resilience can manifest through individual-level interactions between computational agents.
Through art, code, and community stories, Flocking Bow Valley aims to share the diversity of sexuality and gender experiences and how marginalization and resilience show up in our everyday lives. This simulation was made possible through the support of artsPlace Canmore, Canmore Pride, and the many people residing in the Bow Valley area who shared their stories.
The Flocking Queer/Trans Simulations are part of Dylan Paré’s Ph.D. dissertation research in the Learning Sciences in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, Canada. Dylan is researching how storytelling combined with immersive and interactive computational simulations can help people learn critical sociopolitical perspectives of gender and sexuality and consider gender and sexuality as complex, emergent phenomena.
We’re thankful to Andrée-Marie for interviewing Dylan about our work and hopeful that more people will recognize the value and importance of queer narratives in VR for learning about gender and sexual diversity and equality.
Gazette des Femmes is a feminist publication created in 1979 by the Québec Council on the Status of Women. As feminists, Queer Code is honoured to be included as a voice in advancing gender equality and justice.
Happy Pride Month! For us here at the Queer Code Collective, Pride is a celebration of our histories and cultures and the ongoing social movement struggles for equity and justice. If you’re somewhere in the world where you’re celebrating Pride in June, the Queer Code Collective wishes you a Happy Pride!
This month, Dylan was invited as a featured plenary speaker at the Immersive Learning Research Network Conference where they spoke about their dissertation research as well as the Queer Code Collective’s design work. The talk, Designing Queer Technologies: A Phenomenological Reorientation of Immersive and Interactive Learning, is up on YouTube!
We’re very happy to share the Oculus Developers spotlight about the Queer Code Collective and the making of Mementorium! It includes a spiffy video of our studio and even a quick cameo of our furry friends, Yoda (cat), Pippin (large dog), and Dharma (small dog).
We hope you enjoy this sneak peak behind the scenes!
Queer Code Collective was interviewed for an article published in Le Temps, a Swiss news site, on Exploring Gender through Virtual Reality. Written by journalist Pauline Verduziez, the article looks at how various artists and researchers are using virtual reality to fight against discrimination, expand learning possibilities, and explore questions of gender and sexuality.
The collective enjoyed speaking with Pauline about our VR development work, including our recently developed application, Mementorium, and earlier app, Queer and Trans Narratives in VR. Dylan also shared their research on gender and sexuality, VR, and learning.
Here is an excerpt from the article referencing our conversations (in the original French with an English translation following):
Excerpt of Summary: “Histories of erasure, exclusion, and violence on queer and trans people, both by carceral technologies and algorithmic bias, and as part of the computing profession, are enacted on individual people and reflected in societal biases that inform and shape public experiences of computing and technologies. Overall, queering computing education and computing education research directs attention towards a multifaceted problem: the historical and ongoing hegemonic, cisheteropatriarchal control over programming; the limitations to representation by code that a computer can recognize; the possibilities to queer code and computer architectures; the technological regulation of identity and bodies; and the limits and affordances of technological representation of gender and sexual identity. A queer, trans, intersectional, justice-oriented approach to computing education attends to the structural, socio-historical context in teaching and learning computer science and coding, including the dominant cultures of the technology workforce and the everyday disciplining interactions with technology that shape who we can become.”
Mementorium, our interactive narrative virtual reality experience, was awarded an Oculus Launch Pad 2019 Scholarship! 🎉🎉 We’re thrilled to have Oculus’ support to develop our app over the next few months.
Oculus Launch Pad was an incredible experience. We met so many talented developers with unique project ideas. We learned a lot from the Launch Pad boot camp, the Oculus Educational Summit, and the Oculus Connect 6 conference. We especially appreciate the friends we made and our connection to the growing Oculus Launch Pad Alumni community.
Dylan is working hard on the narrative, and finding it challenging and fun. They’re drawing deeply from their background in the Learning Sciences, and Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies, and returning to their most beloved authors who gave them strength & voice. They’re also finding that game writing dovetails nicely with their current academic writing on queering computing, and finding it very rewarding to have both the research writing and storytelling writing spaces to explore. The work in each is enriched by the other.
Scout is re-imagining our level design and experimenting with the procedural foliage tools in UE4. She’s finding virtual gardening is pretty awesome! 😀 We’re aiming for an atmosphere of magical realism, so she’s also dialing in the lighting to bring the right level of enchantment to the scenes. She’s really enjoying bringing the world of Mementorium to life and can’t wait to share more in the coming months!
John is enjoying finding ways to support people to connect with the virtual environment. He looks forward to designing new interactions in virtual reality that help people connect gestures and object interactions to exploring memories. Collaborating with a team is like an exciting puzzle for John, of problem-solving the challenges we face to reach the goal of creating something together.
We’ve got a lot of difficult work ahead of us, but none of us shy away from a fun design challenge. Especially when we get to work with friends!