Students from the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts will share their work from the spring semester StoryLab and Visual Expression Studio classes in a virtual Open Studios event on Mozilla Hubs inside a 3D virtual model of the Carson Center from 5 to 7 p.m. May 1.
The virtual event is free and open to the public. Access the Carson Center’s Mozilla Hubs space on May 1. For the best experience, it is recommended that participants use Mozilla Firefox for their browser and headphones/headset.
The use of Mozilla Hubs has created new opportunities for students and faculty in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts to create connection, community and art making during COVID-19.
Students are creating their own exhibition rooms where their time-based media work will be exhibited for critiques, reviews and then as an open studio to the public.
“We hope to have people visit from all over the United States and all over the world,” said assistant professor of emerging media arts Ash Eliza Smith.
Visitors will have the chance to see the student work and meet the students from the Carson Center after 15 weeks of their ideation and prototyping, designing and speculating, role-playing and improvising, filmmaking and storytelling.
The Carson Center has been using Mozilla Hubs to teach, build community and display work during the period of virtual learning at Nebraska that began on March 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mozilla Hubs is a browser-based, 3D, virtual-world chatroom accessible on most computers, mobile devices and virtual reality headsets and is also an open-source project that explores how communication in mixed reality can come to life, according to Mozilla Labs.
Ben Kreimer, a creative technologist-in-residence at the Carson Center, built virtual rooms replicating the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts’ physical space.
“HDR architect Tyson Fiscus gave me the official sketch-up architectural model 3D files of the Carson Center, and then I converted them and set them up inside of Mozilla Hubs,” Kreimer said.
Jesse Fleming, assistant professor of emerging media arts, said the impetus for using Mozilla Hubs was the Open Studios event.
“We had intended to have Open Studios at the end of the semester to exhibit all of the student work that they had done,” he said. “And then we had to depart the Center and go home to our respective spaces. This became a way to not only fill that void, but also to create a new opportunity—a new opportunity for teaching, a new opportunity for engagement, and a way to exhibit in ways that you can’t do in the material world. We are trying to be artists in the sense that we’re using limitations as a vehicle for providing or illuminating options and creative solutions.”
Smith encourages everyone to visit the virtual Carson Center on May 1 to see the student work.
“We invite everyone to stop by and check out the amazing student work we will have on display at this virtual Open Studios event,” she said. “It is going to be a really fun and engaging event. A few works that really demonstrate how our students have been able to be resilient and pivot into new formats during these times are Abby and Ally Hall’s work building a virtual store where you can actually buy digital wearables with currency. Sam Rice is creating an immersive virtual sound journey inside Hubs, and Kayla LaPoure is experimenting with LARP [live action role-playing] and roleplay within an online format.”
To see a video of Smith, Fleming and Kreimer inside the virtual Carson Center discussing Mozilla Hubs and the Open Studios event, visit this story.