Immersive media, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and spatial audio, present significant access frictions and barriers for disabled users and creators. The inaugural CripTech Metaverse Lab, a collaboration between Leonardo and Gray Area, gathered 10 disabled creatives to collectively experience immersive artworks and generate participatory aesthetic access. Convening in February 2023 in the San Francisco Bay Area, the lab imagined new creative pathways for experiencing metaverse artworks amongst participants and future audiences. The findings from this research lab will be shared via the publication of a white paper in Leonardo journal and an online research archive.
Selected from the CripTech Metaverse Lab, artists Indira Allegra, Nat Decker, and Melissa Malzkuhn are developing three VR artworks that explore accessibility and center disability experience. With further technical support from industry production partners VIVE Arts, VIVERSE and New Art City, the artwork prototypes will be unveiled at Gray Area Festival: Plural Prototypes, October 19-22nd, 2023. Two of the works will be developed on HTC's VIVERSE, an immersive platform that empowers people to design their own virtual space. Malzkuhn's project reimagines the concept of the Deaf Club, a vital part of Deaf culture and storytelling globally, within the digital realm; a living weaving that sings, Allegra's Texere will be an immersive platform for collective grief and memorialization. Decker’s TOUCH, produced in collaboration with virtual art space New Art City, will be an interactive poem exploring narratives of the boundaries of physical intimacy and infraction from the perspective of a queer disabled person.
CripTech Metaverse Lab is a collaboration with:
Other Partners and Sponsors
This program is made possible with the generous support from the following: