Onassis USA and the New Museum's NEW INC Announce the Launch of ONX Studio

ONX Studio distinguishes itself as a hybrid space where work is both created and presented.

By: Dec. 09, 2020
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Onassis USA and the New Museum's NEW INC Announce the Launch of ONX Studio

Onassis USA and the New Museum's NEW INC have announced the launch of ONX Studio-the Onassis, NEW INC Extended Reality Studio-with two dozen artists and producers working in extended reality, for a year-long term to develop significant works for the public realm.

ONX Studio distinguishes itself as a hybrid space where work is both created and presented. It functions as an accelerator, a subsidized production studio and workspace, and an exhibition gallery located in the Onassis Gallery of Olympic Tower in Midtown Manhattan. Each year the studio space will transform into an extended reality gallery for a month-long showcase featuring ONX artists. The first showcase is planned for later in 2021. ONX is a two-year pilot program and steered by NEW INC's Cofounder Karen Wong and Director Stephanie Pereira, and the Onassis Foundation's Head of Digital and Innovation Prodromos Tsiavos.

The ONX Studio will be in close dialogue with NEW INC (New York City) and Onassis Lab (Athens), the Onassis Foundation's cross-disciplinary incubator that seeks to support innovation and disruption across disciplines. The three entities will support each other through curated conversations, skill sharing and collaborative projects with a goal of creating an ecosystem that connects extended reality artists in the US and Europe and beyond. ONX Studio's first international event will take place on December 18th, "Bodies in Space: Extended Realities in Live Performance," in which three extended reality artists-Sarah Rothberg, Theo Triantafyllidis, and Lu Yang-will be in conversation with Janet Wong, Associate Artistic Director at New York Live Arts.

Over the past six years, NEW INC, the New Museum's cultural incubator, has attracted top talents who have been exploring storytelling through digital tools including AR, VR, projection mapping, spatial audio, and motion capture. In partnership with Onassis USA, the ONX Studio will be home to a new community of artists and producers whose practices range from the embodied Black experience to audio explorations to performative multiplayer climate change games.

The artists in the inaugural cohort of ONX Studio are Annie Saunders and Nicole McDonald; Ari Melenciano; Daniel Leithinger; Glenn Cantave, Idris Brewster, and Micah Milner; Gershon Dublon and Xin Liu; John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhauser; Kathryn Hamilton and Deniz Tortum; Kordae Jatafa Henry and Jeremy Kamal; Milica Zec, Shelley Hu, and Winslow Porter; Reese Donohue; Sadah Espii Proctor; Sarah Rothberg; Stephanie Dinkins; and Steven Schardt.

To commemorate the international partnership with the Onassis Foundation, three Greek artists have been selected as the inaugural Onassis Fellows at ONX Studio. Loukia Alavanou, Manolis Manousakis, and Theo Triantafyllidis will be in dialogue with the studio community through virtual residencies and programs-resulting in future collaborations and inclusion in the annual showcase.

"At the heart of the Onassis Foundation, we are committed to artistic vision and how creators make us see things anew. More than ever, the way forward is through collaboration and ONX Studio is a manifestation of that belief," stated Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Culture, Onassis Foundation.

Stephanie Pereira, NEW INC's Director commented, "Onassis Foundation has been an incredible partner and together we are building an extended reality community that is international, talented, diverse and value-centric. As a space for wild, artistic experimentation supported by a global community of expert advisors and a purpose-built XR production studio, ONX isn't like anything else out there."

The ONX Studio, a 3,000-square feet space, provides a hybrid studio-lab for this growing community of extended reality artists where they will be able to develop, beta test, and demo their works in a presentation gallery for curators, producers, collectors, and agencies. The space was designed by the NYC-based architectural firm Leong Leong.

The ONX Studio is fortunate to have an international advisory council whose members hail from U.S. extended-reality hotspots LA, NYC, SF, as well as, Athens, London, Paris, Cape Town and Melbourne. ONX Advisory Council is as follows: Chair Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Culture, Onassis Foundation; Antoine Cayrol, Co-founder Atlas V; Daanish Masood Alavi, Innovation at the United Nations; Gaby Darbyshire, Founder & Principal, Framestore Ventures; Hunter Gray, Film Producer; Ingrid Kopp, Co-founder, Electric South; Irini Mirena Papadimitriou, Creative Director, FutureEverything; Jake Sally, Head of Development, RYOT; James George, CEO and Co-Founder, Scatter; Kamal Sinclair, Executive Director, Guild of Future Architects; Katrina Sedgwick, CEO Australian Centre for the Moving Image; Laurie Anderson, Writer, Director, Artist, Vocalist; Loren Hammonds, Senior Programmer of Film and Immersive, Tribeca Film Festival; Loretta Sarah Todd, Creative Director, IM4 Lab Indigenous VR/AR/XR Lab; Dr. Maria Roussou, Professor, Interactive Systems, Athens University; Timoni West, Director of XR Tools, Unity; and Vallejo Gantner, Artistic Executive Director, Onassis USA.


Annie Saunders & Nicole McDonald have teamed up to work on multiple projects.

Annie Saunders is a multidisciplinary director and artist. Her installation The Home, a headphone-based experience for one audience member at a time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, won international awards for creativity in 2019/20 including Best Experiential Project and Best Use of Technology for Good. She is developing The System, a multi-platform work for digital and physical spaces, imagining an LA-noir landscape for a post-patriarchal world. Saunders is the founder and artistic director of site-specific performance company Wilderness, and has created experimental theatre and live experiences around the world.

Nicole McDonald is an award-winning writer and director who dreams-up extraordinary ways to experience stories. Her focus is on 'cracking the code' - discovering unique, revolutionary ways to emotionally and viscerally connect audiences - to story. Leveraging new and emerging technologies as her primary creative tools, she marries interactivity and audience participation into each of her creative narratives. Nicole has produced award winning interactive experiences that have been honored at Cannes, One Show, the FWA, the Art Director's Club, AICP, SXSW, Sundance New Frontier Lab, Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Siggraph and the Future of Storytelling.

Ari Melenciano is an artist, designer, creative technologist, researcher, and educator who is passionate about exploring the relationships between various forms of design and sentient experiences. Melenciano is the founder of Afrotectopia, a social institution fostering interdisciplinary innovation at the intersections of art, design, technology, Black culture and activism. Her ONX focus is Orïaia, a 3D rendered online interactive environment that aims to design new forms of innovative engagement through experimental pedagogy guided by biomimicry philosophy, indigenous ancestral intelligence, speculative design, and whole systems practices.

Daniel Leithinger directs The THING Lab, a research group that develops human-computer interfaces that push digital information past the boundaries of flat displays, and into the real world. Motivated by the belief that computers must embrace the dexterity and expressiveness of the human body, their works enable users to touch, grasp and deform data physically. A satellite lab of the ATLAS Institute of the University of Colorado at Boulder, the current focus is to invent interfaces that bridge distances. Daniel is working on Remote Togetherness which explores tools for artists to create together while physically distant.

Glenn Cantave, Idris Brewster, and Micah Milner head up Movers & Shakers NYC, a nonprofit that uses augmented reality to highlight underrepresented narratives in schools, public spaces, and cultural institutions. Their ONX focus is The Monuments Project, a catalog of augmented reality monuments of women, people of color, and the LGBTQIA+ icons. Their goal is to merge these icons with culturally responsive pedagogy so that students of color can see themselves in their history. While cities are looking to create site-specific monuments with limited accessibility, we are aiming to empower anyone with a smartphone to be able to see digital monuments of Black and brown icons in their homes.

slow immediate is a collective of Gershon Dublon and Xin Liu. "Every day, technology leads us into a tacit bargain for one kind of immediacy for another-everything on demand at the expense of everything on hand." As artists, and as an electrical and mechanical engineering duo, they feel a responsibility to offer an alternative. Immediacy to self and environment is pivotally important to being human on our shared planet. Drawing from their creative practices, they devise surprising, intimate sensory encounters that invite audiences to perceive themselves as connected sums of connected parts. Their ONX focus is Wandering Mind, a sculptural sound installation for a sleeping audience. Drawing on vast global databases of field recordings and ocean currents, and responding to audiences' sleep states, they find planetary perception in guided dreams and associative nightmares.

John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhauser founded Sensorium, an experiential studio working at the forefront of immersive storytelling. Their creative process is grounded in new forms of media and the ability to engage audiences across both physical and digital spaces. Projects and installations from Sensorium include "Metamorphic" (Sundance, New Frontier '20), "Zikr: A Sufi Revival" (Sundance, New Frontier '18 & IDFA DocLab '18), and "objects in mirror AR closer than they appear" (Tribeca Storyscapes '18). Their ONX project is Metamorphic, a social VR experience where participants shape their appearances and surroundings through movement and play in a series of majestically drawn worlds. This transformative encounter explores the ephemeral nature of the self, as bodies become sites of discovery and vehicles for change.

Kathryn Hamilton and Deniz Tortum are partnering on ARK, a VR essay on the development of virtual reality against the ongoing collapse of the environment.

Kathryn Hamilton, aka Sister Sylvester, is an artist and sometime microbiologist. She is a 2019 Macdowell Fellow and Yale Poynter Fellow. Recent performances include The Eagle and The Tortoise, National Sawdust, NYC; The Fall, Yale University, and Under The Radar, NYC; Three Rooms, Shubbak Festival/Arcola, London; Bozar, Brussels; Frascati, Amsterdam; Video work includes ARK, 601Artspace NYC; Kaba Kopya, Amsterdam University and Humboldt University, Berlin. She spent the years 2011-13 in disguise as a French diplomat in New York.

Deniz Tortum works in film and new media. His work has screened internationally, including at the Venice Film Festival, SXSW, Sheffield Doc/Fest, True/False and Dokufest. His latest film Phases of Matter premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam this year. He was recently featured in Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

Kordae Jatafa Henry and Jeremy Kamal are partnering on Earthworks, a transmedia performance whose narrative takes place in the near future Black mythology.

Kordae Jatafa Henry is a Los Angeles-based director working between the real and the virtual to explore new worlds through the mythological and Black intonation. His release of his 2019 film Earth Mother, Sky Father short film has led him to take the stage at the 2019 Design Indaba Conference, being a nominee for the shots 2020 'New Director of the Year', and exhibiting art house spaces in Mexico, South Africa, Europe and in the USA.

As a creative director and visual artist, Jeremy Kamal uses storytelling to explore relationships between culture and ecology. A graduate of the Harvard GSD with a degree in Landscape Architecture, his work continues to explore themes of landscape and the concept of culture as a terraforming phenomena. Through fiction, Kamal is interested in expanding our understanding of how abstractions such as thoughts, values, rituals, addictions, and emotions are part of a continuum with the material world around us.

New Reality Co.'s founders Milica Zec and Winslow Porter and AR/VR Studio Manager Shelley Hu, are a creative studio dedicated to synthesizing storytelling, art and technology into groundbreaking, emotional experiences. New Reality utilizes virtual, augmented and actual reality to tap into positive social change and explore the human experience, with a goal to invigorate viewers whether in a large-scale experiential installation or an intimate at-home viewing. Since forming the studio, New Reality Company has received numerous awards, including two Telly Gold Awards, the Hot Docs DocX Audience Award, a Lumiere Award for Best VR Location Based Short and the Webby People's Voice Award for Best VR: Interactive, Game or Real-Time among many others. At ONX, they are working on Rainforest, an augmented reality experience where you witness the immeasurable wonder and the accelerating devastation that tropical rainforests face.

Tempo is an interactive design studio founded by Reese Donohue. Tempo builds experiences that harmonize music, art, and technology to create interactive experiences rooted in sound, with the belief that sound and form are inextricable. Tempo's work has exhibited in MoMA, the New Museum, and Serpentine Gallery, and has appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, and Pitchfork. Tempo will focus on Mutable/Eleby, an augmented reality music app that perceives its sonic environment and incorporates that sound into a real-time adaptive composition.

Sadah Espii Proctor is a VR director and sound/media designer for theatre and immersive experiences. Named by American Theatre Magazine as one of "6 Theatre Artists to Know" for multimedia storytelling, her work encompasses global stories of women, social issues, and the African Diaspora. Her VR documentary, Girl Icon, was part of Oculus' VR For Good initiative and premiered at international festivals as well as the National Civil and Human Rights Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Espii Studios has been featured internationally in festivals such as SXSW, Tribeca, Venice, Beijing, Sheffield Doc/Fest (Best Digital Narrative Nominee), Transilvania, and Guanajuato International Film Festival. Her ONX project with//without you is a transmedia XR experience surrounding the spirits of a mysterious bayou, and the bridges within the past/present/future.

Sarah Rothberg is an interactive media artist whose work engages with embodiment, the impact of new communication technologies, and the relationship between the personal and complex systems. SR's main interest is creating experiences which help enact and envision changed worlds. SR was a featured artist in Apple's [AR]T initiative, co-creating an augmented reality Art Lab that runs at Apple stores around the world. SR is an Assistant Arts Professor at NYU's Interactive Media Arts and Interactive Telecommunications Program. Her ONX focus is New Meetings an exploration of the affordances of adaptive virtual space/embodiment with regards to meaningful dialogue.

Stephanie Dinkins is a transmedia artist and professor at Stony Brook University where she holds the Kusama Endowed Chair in Art. She creates platforms for dialog about artificial intelligence (AI) as it intersects race, gender, aging, and our future histories. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to co-create more equitable, values grounded artificial intelligent ecosystems. She exhibits and publicly advocates for inclusive AI internationally at a broad spectrum of community, private, and institutional venues - by design. Dinkins is an Artist Fellow of the Berggruen Institute and Lucas Artists Fellow in Visual Arts at Montalvo Art Center, CA. Her ONX focus is Secret Garden, an immersive storytelling installation that combines audio vignettes told by black women with dynamic, responsive visual feedback.

Steven Schardt is a filmmaker and creative technologist. After many years making and producing feature films, he made his first film for VR, Auto, which premiered at Tribeca 2017. Since then he has been working at the intersection of emerging storytelling platforms, in gaming and XR. His ONX focus is Polæ an interactive science fiction for mobile that elaborates the future history of founder Adelaide Engelsen and her company Polæ set in the year 2042. What begins with a cryptic series of articles and social media leads to an immersive media event and direct communication with the artificial intelligence that runs the company.