The Keepsakery @ Vrystaat Arts Festival

Warren Armstrong and I were fortunate to be invited to share “The Keepsakery” at the Vrystaat Arts Festival, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The virtual cabinet of curiosity was installed at the Vrynge Farm from 1-7 July 2019 and introduced by Festival Director, Ricardo Peach at the Vernissage opening event to a 200 strong crowd. The festival was an opportunity to introduce our VR project to an international audience and raise interest from potential contributors to develop a virtual work comprised of Bloemfontein stories and keepsakes for a Vrystaat Residency in 2020.

“The Keepsakery” received 500 visitors throughout the week and kickstarted some promising conversations with potential collaborators, artists and stakeholders. The festival framework allowed us to continue developing the reach of VR audience interactions within the virtual environment, installing a 3D scanned bird into the virtual drawn architecture that responded by transporting audiences into a 360 video of Naval Hill bushland, Bloemfontein when touched.

Many thanks to everyone who dropped by to share in the VR space with us, it was wonderful to meet you all. Special mentions to: Richardo, Cornel, and Michael for the opportunity to contribute to the Vrynge and for the VIP treatment. And to Lynthia for the translations and introductions. Hats off to our program facilitators, Bonolo, Tshidi, and driver David, for your continued energy, generosity and support during the week. And finally thanks to the festival contributors and program team – like your work! Warren and I look forward to staying in touch.

About Susannah Williams

Visual artist exploring the visual nature of sound.
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