Immersive Scholar residents to explore online privacy through gaming

Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy

Creative residents Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy have started a large-scale immersive visualization project with the Libraries this week. The Davidson, NC-based duo will interpret a browser-based game, “Tally Saves the Internet,” into a work about online privacy and security. Their residency is part of the Immersive Scholar program at the Libraries.

Dietrick and Mundy will focus on the roles that tracking bots play in our lives, which have been shifted abruptly online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In their immersive visualization, the residents hope to describe how human experience has been changed by online life and to propose responsible forms of response. The project will produce a website, an experiential exhibition in the Visualization Studio, and project documentation.

Previous Immersive Scholar residencies have brought creative residents including Liss LaFleur, Caitlin & Misha, and Lucas Swick to campus to work on site. This fall, however, Dietrick and Mundy will work remotely with the Libraries, concluding the effort with a mini virtual symposium on Friday, Oct. 2.

The Immersive Scholar residency program is part of a Mellon Foundation-funded project, entitled “Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces,” which continues the Libraries’ pioneering work with large-scale, research visualization technologies and supports the advancement of tools and techniques for developing and sharing such visual content for research.

The fall residents both teach at Davidson College, where Dietrick is an Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Studies and Mundy is Associate Professor of Practice in Digital Studies. They founded Sneakaway Studio in 2012, building online interventions, animations, and mobile apps to express concern about the unintended consequences of automated systems and to reimagine a more sustainable and equitable digital future. They have shown work and made public art commissions for the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, MCA Chicago, the TINA B Festival in Prague and Venice, Art Center Nabi in Seoul, the University of Florida, and the University of Texas, among others.

Through Immersive Scholar, artists, scholars, and creative technologists have submitted project proposals to an open call for a four-to-six-week residency. Their projects have used data creatively, in collaboration with librarians, to produce immersive scholarly visual content for one or more of the large-scale digital walls in the Hunt Library.