Aug 192012
August 22nd, 2011 | Author: Anna Brady Nuse

Today at 4am USA Eastern Standard Time, and 6pm in Brisbane Australia, the interactiveWaterwheel platform will launch with a crew of collaborators and audience members from around the world converging online in real time. Waterwheel is an ongoing interactive, collaborative platform for performance, presentation and exchange exploring water, as a topic of politics, science and metaphor. The brain child of Brussel’s born Suzon Fuks, a media artist, choreographer and director, the project developed out of her growing interest in global water politics and the richness of the topic for artistic expression.

Last week as the site was in its final stages of tweaking, Fuks gave me a tour of the platform and showed me all the things it can do. Along with her team of technicians and artists Fuks has created a very sophisticated site, one that works as well or better than most social media sites or online conferencing platforms. With years of experience designing intermedia and live networked performances, Fuks knew what she wanted, and what was needed to achieve the intentions of the site. Each section of the site is modeled to emulate some function of water, with the net result that it “flows” together seamlessly, and feeds and regenerates the overall experience for everyone who uses it.

When you first encounter the site on the homepage there is a beautiful wheel with 40 concentric rings that ripple with the latest media content that has been uploaded to the site. From there you can explore the raw media, or you can enter one of the “Taps” which are highly sophisticated real-time spaces to hold networked performances, presentations, workshops, or exchanges. All of the media up-loaded to the Waterwheel by users is available for real-time mixing and integration on the Taps as well as live video, audio, and drawing tools.

Another component of the site is a map showing “Fountains” going on all around the world. A Fountain can be anything flowing from the Taps (ie current or up-coming Taps), or they can be events about water that users submit to the site. These could be a performance or presentation, an exhibition or conference, a book launch or a film premiere. The Fountains are the place for users to promote their projects or events, or find other similar projects of interest and upcoming events happening nearby or around the world.

While the Waterwheel is focused on water, the platform itself is incredibly facile and could be useful for any group that wants to converge around a specific area of interest. I asked Fuks about whether she would be making more platforms like this in the future. In her reply, she emphasized that exploring water topics remains her primary motivation, however she does see the marketability of the platform they have designed and they are considering commercializing the technology as a means of funding Waterwheel.

The success of the platform is in the hands of the people who use it, so dive on in and splash around in the beautiful liquid world of Waterwheel.

Details of the Launch Event:

On Monday 22 August 2011, the new Waterwheel project and website will be launched at theJudith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane from 6pm, and online on the Waterwheel website with a program of free performances.


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