RATSKIN RECORDS HOLOSUITES : AN ACESS-CENTERED VIRTUAL VENUE AND TOURING PLATFORM
UPDATE 5/2/2021 from Tieraney, sharmi & md
Mixed Reality Festival is pivoting to become Ratskin Record Holosuites, an access-centered VR venue featuring current and upcoming Ratskin Artists and collaborators. Ratskin Records Holosuites is an immersive space for de-colonial artists that is completely untethered from the daily oppression of our lives. It is a platform for artists to engage in aesthetically rigorous self-expression from the safety of their own home. Ratskin Records Holosuites is an ongoing venue available for any like-minded curators and producers who seek to create an engaging access-centered event. We dream of an access-centered world and we want you to engage in our dream! Please donate and spread the word to ethically minded sponsors and donors. Check out our trailer for more information and read more below.
Update 5/3/2021 : Hello Everyone! This Gofundme was originally created with the intention to fund a one-time VR festival hosted by Ratskin Records. We’re in the process of pivoting our fundraiser towards creating an on-going VR venue that hosts music and arts that are both curated by Ratskin Records as well as like-minded producers who can rent the space for an affordable fee.
Not to worry! We will still be hosting the Mixed Reality Festival for our community. This project pivot is an expansion of our original idea to further our goals toward sustaining our community of QTBIPOC and disabled artists. It is important for us to create a space that can be sustainable and access-centered both during and after this pandemic, and your support is vital in reaching this goal. Our plan for the VR venue is to launch sooner than the festival and to continue to serve as a venue after the festival is over. Having a community space in the virtual realm expands the audience who can access live music and community events. Mixed Reality Festival cannot and should not be a one-time event! We hope that you, our supporters and community, are as excited about this potential as we are. Thank you for reading :)
Ratskin Records Holosuites is an immersive VR venue for de-colonial artists that is a refuge from the daily oppression of our lives. This project, by Oakland-based label Ratskin Records, will feature current and upcoming artists that push the boundaries of music, experimentation, healing, and self-expression in 2021 and beyond. Through years of arts-based organizing, we have found that our communities are in crisis around physical, emotional, and financial access to physical art spaces and COVID-19 has only exacerbated this crisis. As queer and trans disabled artists of color, we are often overlooked as leaders that have, in many ways, defined the cultural output of the Bay Area. We archive underrepresented experiences and create social relevance through our own narratives. We share a value of collective liberation that gives us the integrity, passion, and inside knowledge needed to develop a platform that responds to the needs of our communities.
Our goal is to pay and provide material resources for artists whose work lies on the margins of mainstream consumption. Our creative communities are made up of many marginalized identities who are attempting to navigate a myriad of obstacles centered around access. Some of those obstacles include: spread of COVID-19 for immunocompromised folks, inaccessible venue entrances for wheelchair users, gender-based harassment for Trans and non-binary folks, race-based violence specifically targeted towards Black and Indigenous people, and other forms of identity-based oppression that not only affect participants lives but their ability to enjoy music events. Ratskin is curation centered in this practice and provides resources for artists to create self-determined spaces.
Our work is multifaceted as we utilize multiple avenues to address issues and focalize accountability around racism, transphobia, classism, ableism and other systems that affect access. Ratskin Records Holosuites addresses the problem of inaccessible venues by offering an interactive, digital alternative to gathering in physical spaces. The need for access solutions is even more pressing as we collectively navigate a global pandemic. We aim to increase accessibility to art and music through creating a digital realm that helps our community stay connected despite the confines of shelter-in-place. By allowing participants to engage on their own terms, Ratskin Records Holosuites lowers the barriers to arts participation by creating a curated, immersive space where both the audience and the artist are able to control their participation from their chosen locations.
[Image Description: v2 prototype of Ratskin Records Holosuites in Mozilla Hubs. The first image is the front entrance of the main performance/gallery space surrounded with blue skies and green grass., a white tiled entrance ramp as well as plant and flower life to the left and right of the entrance which contains a sign that says "Ratskin Records Holosuites" There is a taller brutist reflective marbled black and silver building sticking out in the background behind the main venue space.]
[Image Description: v2 prototype of Ratskin Records Holosuites in Mozilla Hubs. This slide is the merch booth in the main performance space which features two Ratskin Records logo flags (white lines on a black background) and between them is a merch booth with a variety of shirts and garments to purchase as well as physical albums from the performing artists on a white table in front of the merch booth. The side walls and roof are semi transparent so you can see through to the green grass and blue skies just outside the "walls" ]
[Image Description: v2 prototype of Ratskin Records Holosuites in Mozilla Hubs. This is a secondary performance / multimedia room where artists and collaborators can livestream DJ sets or other performances into a more maximalist space. The floor is made out of glitched out grey and white textures patterns, the walls are representative of video static (black and white - high contrast) and there is a giant old school computer monitor displaying video art. There are also several psychedelic orbs containing video/glitch art mapped onto their surfaces. ]
Ratskin Records Holosuites offers a platform for artists to engage in aesthetically rigorous self-expression and creative audience engagement. We will be presenting ongoing music and arts events in a virtual reality space that will include performance spaces, workshop series, a resource library, and a decompression area. Our space will allow participants to choose their level of engagement by giving them control over multiple parameters, such as avatar presentation and environment. Avatar presentation, for example, can help trans/nonbinary participants curb gender dysphoria. The freedom of self expression offered by this festival is a solution that artists have been needing for more physical accessibility, self-determined safety, performance development, and contained audience engagement.
The development of our venue is guided by disability justice principles and practices. It is important for us to hire Disability Justice and Transformative Justice consultants for accessible event curation. Your donation will aid us in sustaining ethical collaboration practices and pay artists and other collaborators fairly.
We’re asking for $50,000 of the total start-up costs for the first year of operation. This allows us to pay for artists and staff, including accessibility UX designers, AV technicians, ASL translators, and online moderators.
Your support means everything to us. Join us on this journey of making access-centered spaces the norm!
Special thanks to Headlands Center for the Arts and Zoo Labs for sponsoring our work thus far.
<3 Sharmi, Tieraney, MD
***If you’ve donated to the first version of our campaign and would like to request a copy of the original gofundme pitch me, please email [email redacted].
Our GoFundMe is Live now and you can DONATE HERE!
MORE DEVELOPMENT SCREENSHOTS:
Ratskin Records is a collective record label and archival imprint championing de colonial experimental music based in the Bay Area. We focus on LGBTQ+, Black, Native, POC, and disabled artists who create work that is sonically and politically pushing boundaries toward liberation. We work together to create an alternative to an industry that has historically exploited and devalued artist labor and work towards solutions for better artistic sustainability, as these mediums of expression are wholly important to the cultural empowerment of all marginalized people. We see the work of de colonial artists as world-building activism that centers empathy and basic human needs. The crux of our work is centered in engaging the healing power of sound for communities in struggle.
Sharmi, Tieraney, and Michael have been friends and co-conspirators for over a decade and met playing house shows together. We have collaborated as curators, organizers, and educators. Ratskin Records has existed in many forms and we’ve grown both as people and a community. Our selected biographies are below.
Tierany Carter/Wizard Apprentice (pronouns: she and/or they) is a music producer, live performer, and video artist. As a highly sensitive introvert, her multimedia projects are strategies for managing an overwhelming world. Her music is a combination of lyrical precision, minimalistic composition, and technically-amateurish charm. She creates media that takes advantage of user-friendly technology, skipping time consuming learning curves to focus on inventing highly relatable language for subtle personal experiences. She’s not a gear-head, rather, a digital folk artist who vividly and simplistically expresses her inner world using resourcefulness and honesty. Her video work incorporates green screen graphics, digital puppetry, and compositing to produce imagery that’s cerebral, campy, and hypnotic. She combines song and video to create immersive performances that explore intimate emotional themes.
Sharmi Basu (they/them/she/her) is an Oakland born and based South Asian woman of color creating experimental music as a means of decolonizing musical language. They attempt to catalyze a political, yet ethereal aesthetic by combining their anti-colonial and anti-imperialist politics with a commitment to spirituality within the arts. Beast Nest, Sharmi's primary performing project, utilizes multi-dimensional soundscapes to transmute trauma and suffering into moments of deep presence. They are an MFA graduate from the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College in Electronic Music and Recording Media and have worked with Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell, John Bischoff, Pauline Oliveros, Chris Brown, Maggi Payne, and more. Their workshops on “Decolonizing Sound” have been featured at the International Society for Improvised Music, the Empowering Women of Color Conference, and have reached international audiences. They perform almost 100 times a year and has toured through the US and Canada as well as internationally in Europe. She specializes in new media controllers, improvisation in electronic music, and intersectionality within music and social justice. They also founded and hosted an all people-of-color improvisation and performance group called the MARA Performance Collective in Oakland, CA and was a founder of the Universe is Lit: A Bay Area Black and Brown Punk Fest. They are on the board of directors for Safer DIY Spaces and Soundwave SF. She is also a certified mediator and much of her multimedia work centers on familial healing, transformative justice, accountability, and the investigation of interpersonal harm.
Michael Daddona (he/him) is a curator, producer, visual and sound artist, as well as a founding member of Ratskin Records collective. He is a Public Programs Manager at Pro Arts Gallery & Commons, as well as a teaching artist working with 3rd-6th grade students on artistic concepts, frameworks, and skill development. Michael performs in False/None, Malocculsion, Cyborg Eye, and Coral Remains, and is a member of the art group: ANTI ART COLLECTIVE.