Secret Garden

Role: Technical Producer, User Experience Lead for SXSW ’20 (Bose AR driven experience)

Step into a garden and encounter oral histories spanning generations of Black women. As you wander this  floral estate, you will encounter African-American women with stories to tell: surviving a slave boat, growing up on a 1920s Black-owned farm, surviving 9/11, and an AI powered by Black women. Secret Garden reminds us that sharing and receiving stories is an act of resistance.

Originally built for SXSW 2020, the work has since become a hybrid; presented as both a virtual experience at Sundance 2021 and a physical installation at ONX Studio.  The SXSW version accounted for a louder environment, and we employed Bose AR head-tracking headphones to crossfade to the character’s voice over at which you were gazing.  This was running in Unity and talking to a video engine running in Touch Designer.  

Secret Garden is the culmination of the Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) residency program that engages NEW INC alumni and Nokia Bell Labs researchers for a year-long collaboration to produce new works of art that are enabled by Nokia Bell Labs technology. Secret Garden is also commissioned by the Onassis Foundation Eureka Commissions, and is presented by NEW INC and ONX Studio.

Some making of photos:

Danielle (Bell Labs) checking that the Unity (audio to headphones) & Touch Designer (video) patches are playing nice.

Depthkit shoot with Sensorium, at Scatter’s set in Brooklyn.

Bose developer, Filip Baba, showing Danielle & I how to integrate the AR headphones and sunglasses in Unity.