Launched on Sunday September 1st, 2013, the Freedom Project was a joint undertaking by the University of Western Australia, Virtual Ability Inc., and the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses.
A 2D and 3D art and film event, the project extended an open invitation to artists suffering from a disability or chronic illness, or associated with those suffering from either, to demonstrate how virtual life has enabled them to engage in activities and interact with others in ways which may not be possible in the real world.
I covered the launch of the project at the time, and subsequently reported on the opening of the Freedom Project art exhibition in the UWA’s gallery spaces in March of 2014 (the exhibition is still open for viewing at the time of writing for those who would like to visit, although the exhibition will be taken down in the next two or three weeks to provide the UWA’s Transcending Borders project additional display space.
At the time the challenge was announced, it was indicated that art pieces submitted to the Freedom Project would feature in a commemorative book – both digital and orinted – in the hope that both the book and the exhibited pieces and films will inspire others, and will demonstrate how virtual worlds can be used to help some people who may have had difficulties finding other means of expression to believe in themselves more, or to connect with others.
On Friday September 5th, FreeWee Ling, curator of the UWA’s gallery spaces and co-ordinator of the UWA’s virtual world art projects, announced that the Freedom Project book is now available.
Lavishly produced and illustrated, the book tells of the origins of the project and provides an overview of the global nature of the project and the events which took place within Second Life where it was represented; information on the project’s partner and sponsor organisations is also provided.
Central to the book is the art itself and the artists. The illustrations throughout are beautiful, with many of the pieces being given wonderful two-page spreads. The artists’ stories, told in their own words, are equally as moving, making this a powerful piece of reading.
The electronic version is available on-line as a part of the UWA Studies in Virtual Arts e-journals series. The printed version can be obtained for L$5000 (around $20.00 US), shipped anywhere in the world. Those wishing to purchase a copy should contact JayJay Zifanwee of the UWA for ordering information.
Artists and groups who participated in the challenge can also claim a free copy of the printed book – again, please contact JayJay Zifanwee for ordering details.