Erica Shires is the new Artist-in-Residence at ZiF
A warm welcome to Erica Shires, who will be working as Artist in Residence at ZiF until the end of the year! Erica Shires is an interdisciplinary artist working across 3D animation, video, and sound — blending research and fieldwork with scientific collaborations to address environmental issues through the lens of emerging technology. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Erica, could you please introduce yourself?
I have been a photographer for over 20 years, and in 2019, I returned to school for my MFA in digital interdisciplinary art. I learned how to navigate various 3D programs, make models from real-life objects using photogrammetry, and create worlds inside a game engine. As a filmmaker using these new tools, I was not interested in making games but in creating environments to film in. These worlds are intriguing, in part because I can manipulate the physics, removing gravity and real-world logic. I can fly under the horizon of a landscape and look up from underneath, and I've made trees that float and spin. Footage from the game engine is combined with my video work and photography to create new hybrid works. I am implementing this knowledge into video installations, creating environments people can experience.
What makes you interested in science projects at ZiF?
I could never think of better stories than the ones rooted in the reality around us. Science, for me, is that connection to reality. It provides a solid foundation for any visuals I later distill into an essence. Information and data can be recontextualized in lyrical ways that capture attention and bring awareness. The potential of this cross-pollination is exciting.
And what are your plans for your stay at ZiF?
I will be experimenting with new technologies to see what is possible and immerse myself in this unique environment, which is new to me. The atmosphere of ZiF, with the forest, nature, the climate cooperation group, and biologists, will be the foundation of what I make. All the pieces combine to tell stories. I will continue building from the environmental work I started last year in Newfoundland. It is a big film project but will be told in many small vignettes. And some of those I will gather here.
To learn more about Erica Shires visit her website: http://www.ericashires.com