DENTON (UNT), Texas - Liss LaFleur of the University of North Texas will discuss how two destabilizing elements – queerness and virtual reality – work together in a panel discussion at SXSW in Austin.
LaFleur, assistant professor and program coordinator of new media art in the College of Visual Arts and Design, will speak at “Virtual Life’s a Drag: Queering VR,” at 3:30 p.m. March 13 at the downtown Hilton Austin.
This panel will focus on how the idea of queerness and queer theory fits within digital space. Both queerness and virtual reality are narratives that are outside the mainstream of society, allowing users to take do-it-yourself approaches, LaFleur said.
“The technology is relatively new and changing,” she said. “It’s exciting to research these topics and talk about my practice as it evolves.”
As a professor at UNT, LaFleur facilitates interdisciplinary opportunities out of the new media program that allow all students to use and create work in virtual reality and think about narratives that are different from their own experiences. A recent example is a UNT hosted hack-a-thon with the Be Another Lab, an international artist collective that combines virtual reality and storytelling to research empathy, embodied narrative and telepresence.
For her own art, LaFleur has been working with 3D scanners to explore contemporary ideologies of feminism in relation to the body. In her HEROINES project, she is exploring 3D scanning as a time-based practice that captures live performances that are only available digitally.
“The goal is to create a new form of mediated performance that bridges digital fabrication, video and performance art,” she said.
Also that week, LaFleur will have a solo exhibition, Green Pastures, that takes a look at the cowgirl as a feminist figure in society from a biological, historical and political point of view. The exhibition, which is unrelated to SXSW, will include performances, photos, videos and sculptures made out of leather, aluminum, glass and neon. It will run from March 11 to April 20, with a closing artist talk and reception from 3 to 5 p.m. April 15, at Women and Their Work Gallery in Austin.