VR installation, AI-based digital ecosystem
“Xenopunk” is Transmoderna’s latest venture into immersive media. It is a new take on the collective’s signature AI-based digital ecosystem, as debuted at Printworks London in 2021. The VR installation, containing the first chapter of an ongoing storyline, explores new territories. The title comes from “xeno”, meaning alien, and “punk”, which denotes defiance in the face of oppressive conditions. It conveys the radical notion that the persistence of life on Earth in our post-ecological age requires alien survival strategies. Within the “Xenopunk” world, these strategies enable creatures and humanoids to not only survive, but thrive in an inhospitable home environment. The humanoids, called disborgs, transform disadvantage into disobedience. Through the use of bio-hacking and assistive technologies, their bodily limitations are spun into the potential to exceed nature.
“Xenopunk” conjures up a world in which the pervasive and ubiquitous laws of aesthetics do not apply. The inhabitants’ appearances are a neglectable byproduct of prioritising functionality and survival over beauty. They carve new, life-affirming paths using what in human terms was dubbed as “waste”. These sole survivors usher in a new age. They stand tall and dance; it’s a celebration.
Conceptualised by Transmoderna co-founder and creative director Ana Ofak, the project was developed in close collaboration with digital artists Giusy Amoroso and Aaron Jablonski. Long-term Transmoderna collaborator Trikk joined co-founder Dixon in the role of music director, to create a sonic experience that bridges the gap between the collective’s roots in the electronic music scene and its future in immersive world building. In a first for Transmoderna’s VR installations, “Xenopunk” features spatial sound elements, courtesy of sound engineer Anna Phaenarete Lioka. Also for the first time, animation and motion capture artist Sam Aldridge joined the team and brought the disborg characters to life by introducing motion captures from the Queer Movement archive by IOR50 studio.
The project development was made possible through the support of Rockstar Games. It is visions like “Xenopunk” – which aim to fuse the digital with the physical and push the boundaries of how we experience music – that make up the foundation of the Transmoderna – Rockstar Games partnership.
All equipment enlisted for the production of Transmoderna’s projects is powered by Grover. In partnership with Grover, the collective participates in a circular economy that enables the reduction of e-waste and its impact on the earth’s ecosystems.