Mayakovsky Dies Again (with the demise of Flash)

Last chance to experience Reconstructing Mayakovsky, our groundbreaking interactive “novel” put out in 2008, included in the 2nd volume of the Electronic Literature Collection and still being taught at the university level. It has been an amazingly good run, but obsolescence is a key mechanic operative in the work. The archive, which has linked not downloaded information, has slowly been collecting 404 errors.

The investment video (adapted from a particularly disturbing real DARPA conference slide show) which got picked up by real investment sites when we posted to Youtube with #future #investment #money #science #AI has been buried by 13 years of cat videos, the real time Google image search has been broken for a while. So, you will have to imagine for yourself what “hope” and “evil” and “human” look like.

We were always interested in keeping time as part of the novel and with time comes mortality and change. Mayakovsky is about the impossible dream of the end of history, the final number, the solitary genius artist, the vile absurdity of war. It’s a work, a kind of sci-fi detective story, that utilizes mostly open source code and “found” digital objects. The original 90,000 words of text (a lot of which is appropriated) is read through a series of “mechanisms” including a manifesto, a concrete poetry machine, a hand-drawn animation created in collaboration with Pelin Kirca, and an audio soundscape.

For our part, we hope RM can live on in printed form. The book then becomes the artifact that remains, the bones of something that was once alive. We are looking for a publisher, yes!

This project remains remarkable. Honestly, I look at it and wonder how in the hell we managed to do it. So, maybe some student or computer whiz will be interested in reconstructing Reconstructing Mayakovsky? Remaking it and adding, changing, or remixing? That would make us very happy. And, Mayakovsky, too. We could also see this as a physical and virtual installation if some forward thinking gallery is interested.

Here is Vera X. our heroine, (the main characters are Vera, Nadja, and Luis Blue– for those of you who know Russian, there is a thought puzzle there, and a clue, like everything in the novel… ) Here, is when Vera decides to resurrect Mayakovsky as a virtual being to save OnewOrld, even though she knows it may kill her. Is it an act of heroism, faith, or crazy despair? You get to decide.

“She does not want annihilation. She wants the center to hold, she wants it even in the face of knowing that it may not. That is courage, she thinks. That is love. No longer can she proceed into the future secure in the knowledge that parallel lines do not meet, that the sky will not fall, that the dead will not rise. She cannot say, ‘These things do not happen and it is good that they do not.’ Because the sky did fall and the dead did rise and things happen with poetic synchronicity. She is seeking neither the mechanized assurances of reason nor the feverish augury of faith, but something beautiful and fragile and incomparable.”

The last word of the novel–there is no last word online! ) is “yes.”

Happy New Year All!

Sebastian’s #diary would be an amazing audio story! #LGBTQ #love #story #sex #death #God #intimacy #forgiveness #joy #loveislove #VR #XR #tech #worldbuilding

We would love to make Sebastian’s diary, the basis for the Peabody Award winning Queerskins: a love story and Queerskins: ARK VR experiences, into an intimate audio experience. As I learned in making Queerskins: a novel, the human voice–its timbre, paralinguistic qualities, even the length of pauses change the psychological impact of words. I had to slash and burn the audio monologues because they utterly overwhelmed the text of the diary.

Here is a quick version of what a daily podcast delivered to your inbox might sound like (<5min) perfect for waiting for a coffee or walking to the grocery store or as an adult bedtime story.

In this monologue spoken by Michael DeBartolo, Sebastian recounts his seduction of Jean-Marie at a bar in Mali. Tango music taken from a 78 record from the Internet Archive. Bamako sounds from


I’ll be sharing lessons learned from writing and directing Peabody Futures of Media Award Winning Queerskins: a love story and Queerskins: ARK

SXSW PanelPicker® #VR #XR #womenintech #womeninfilm #emotion

Interested in #Volumetric Video for creating #emotionally impactful #immersive and #interactive #stories? Upvote me, the amazing Nonny de la Pena @ImmersiveJourno and @jason_waskey @MSFTVolumetric.

I will be talking about making #queerskins #ARK and #queerskins #a #love #story and why I think #volumetric is the #future of #film #game #performance.

Thanks for your support!

What Does It Mean to Be at #Home in Your Own #Skin? New Project at the #Intersection of #VR #fashion #art #photography #performance and #game

Queer in My Own Skin is a photography series and interactive virtual installation that asks what does it mean to feel at home in your own skin, or not? Over the past nine months, we have collaborated with Loise Braganza, a Mumbai based textile artist to create 20 unique garments which, act as “soft machines” through which the wearer confronts their relationship to personal identity, gender, sexuality, taste and body size and form. 

Collaborating with artist/photographer Tagger Yancey IV, we will photograph models of all different races, ages, genders, sexual orientations and body types to choose and wear a garment that reflects who they are.  He will  capture people intimately in their own domestic space,  “at home in their own skin.”  For some it will be a part of themselves they never show and it will feel unnerving or scary, for others it will feel perfectly natural ,and for some empowering.

These garments emphasize tactility, an experience which is effaced in digital spaces and which has been constrained by the pandemic. Our plan is to integrate physical and digital installations, and, in this way, allow visitors to actively consider what is lost and gained as we transition into virtual existence.

Queer in My Own Skin exhibition in VRChat features a bespoke gallery/play space in which visitors can not only view the photographs, they can discover and don customized avatars wearing these garments. In this way, they, themselves, become performative works of art. Architecture and spatial sound create an experience of embodiment as visitors climb, crawl and maneuver through spaces to discover the avatars.

We will also create a more traditional installation with printed photographs and reconstructed mannequins wearing “queer skins.” Photographs will be available for purchase as limited editions. The reconfigured mannequins wearing the garments will be sold as unique, one of a kind, artworks. If conditions permit, we would consider a live fashion show in the space as well. 

In addition to these, visitors to the gallery will be able to access the virtual exhibition via Oculus Quest headset. In the virtual installation, they can don the custom avatars and can photograph or take videos of themselves in this space and share on social media channels. These avatars will be sold as limited edition, fully rigged avatars compatible with multiple virtual spaces. Audiences with any VR headset or a PC can access the virtual installation remotely.

We are looking for gallery, corporate, institutional and private partners for this. Please contact through this site or through Cloudred Studio.

#CENSORED: @SteamVR Rejects #Queerskins: a love story and Queerskins: ARK VR

We are so tired of this. Queerskins: a love story and Queerskins: ARK have been rejected from SteamVR store. Everyone talks about diversity and inclusion but we have to deal with this all the time. (not even a mention on the blog when Queerskins got released on Oculus store either) There is almost NO queer content in VR, certainly nothing that shows anything with even a hint of sexuality. Happy to have a discussion with anyone in power. The silence is deafening.

I’m a doctor who works at Rikers Island, (in addition to being a woman director in a male heavy club), so I have to deal with some pretty tough conditions. But, at the end of the day, fighting the boys in tech who own the platforms is what really exhausts me. It is so utterly pointless and demoralizing. STEAMVR there are queer people and, yes, even, lots of straight people, who want to play these experiences because they are incredibly well-made, provocative, and groundbreaking in their use of volumetric video and interactive narrative.

Peabody Futures of Media Award, Games 4 Change XR Finalist, Venice and Tribeca premieres, Venice VR lab alums, funding by Sundance and Tribeca Film Institutes and support from a major corporation and we still have to deal with this. If you have some power in XR, please be an ally, thanks. Illya

#Queer #Skins Have Arrived #unboxing #fashion #collaboration #India #textile #art #VR

Penis Dress ( in progress ) by Loise Braganza for Queerskins. Homage to Kusama…

With the pivot to the digital, accelerating with Covid, we have found the virtual world to be lacking in so many ways. We crave touch, we crave closeness and connection. Unfortunately, the go-to solution seems to be a linear translation from “real” to “virtual”. This is destined to be experienced as a lesser version of physical, embodied experience. What is needed now is a new language. In the coming months, we will be creating a series of intimate portraits of a range of non-professional models wearing the twenty unique hand-made garments–the “fresh fruit” of an incredible 9 month collaboration with textile artist Loise Braganza, in their own domestic habitats. Our plan is to create a virtual installation with these photographs and limited edition fully rigged avatars wearing 3D scanned versions of the garments. Visitors to the exhibition will not only have the opportunity to see these garments, they can inhabit the avatars, becoming performative elements in the exhibition. In deciding whether or not to “try on” these avatars, visitors immediately confront their own identity and their relationship to gender, sexuality, body shape and taste.

VR fashion has recently become ” a thing,” Forward looking fashion houses like Gucci and Rag and Bone have already begun exploring this. What is missing, of course, is the tactility of these fabrics–the sleek velvet, the squishy pom-poms, the softness of the used satin bodysuit with the hot pink marabou feathers. Our hope is that eventually, we can create a physical installation where this important element can be experienced.

In the meantime, enjoy!

#Embodiment #Identity #Sexuality #Transcendence in #VR

Michael DeBartolo performs a live reading of a particularly brutal entry from Sebastian’s diary ( Queerskins: a novel )

In today’s conversation in “Queerskins Home” world in VRChat between me (writer director of Queerskins decade in the making transmedia project) and actor Michael DeBartolo (Sebastian), we explore the liberating potential and dangers of the fluidity of identity that VR offers and the interplay between physical embodied existence and virtual “transcendence.” With bonus LIVE PERFORMANCEs–Michael’s emotionally charged readings from Sebastian’s diary. Can’t wait to work this into a virtual immersive theater piece! Thanks to Zach Milonas for expert videography! Check out full discussion at

Expanding #Conventional #Concepts of #EROS through #VR –my Walk and Talk in @Queerkins #Home on #VRChat

Fred Holland Day wonderful homoerotic photograph of St. Sebastian (1906)

“I awoke with a feeling of expansive contentment, as if I were awash in a warm ocean. I felt dissolved—as if that light had worked on me, burnishing the surfaces so they glowed. I felt that even if I strove to see, I would not discern where my glimmering body stopped and the atmosphere began. To be–so uncontained, to not have to worry about the edges of things—what is this but the definition of “joy?”

Portion of an entry from Sebastian’s Diary available as playable audio object on the “bed” in Sebastian’s room VRChat.


I love these talks and walks through Queerskins Home in VRChat, our transcendent, and oh so human story space where there is no shame…Today–the topic is SEX. Incredible conversation with actor Michael DeBartolo (Sebastian) about the potential VR offers to expand conventional human eroticism. We talk Queerskins: ARK, Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane, my first person diary entries of gay sex and how sex and acting are related. We end with Narnia in a box, and the conclusion that “physics is a bitch”. Not your usual talk about VR.

#Tomorrow (9/9) Our #daily #talk and #walk through #Queerskins Home in #VRChat is devoted to #Sex #VR and the #making of @Queerskins: ARK

Christopher Vo and Michael DeBartolo share an intimate moment in this rehearsal of the dance for Queerskins: ARK VR captured on Intel Studio’s massive volumetric capture stage.

Tomorrow our walk and talk through “Queerskins Home” in VRChat will be at 10 AM EST (4PM CEST). Also, available as live stream on We will be talking about SEX and sexual identity in Queerskins: ARK, and how VR might change conventional definitions of eroticism, intimacy, and self/other boundaries. Honestly, the level of discourse in these strolls through our interactive exhibition space has been amazing. Funny, erudite, full of surprises, and, oh, so human. Please put on your hottest avatar and join me (writer/director), Cyril Tsiboulski (creative and technical director), Michael DeBartolo (Sebastian), Kathleen Fox (supervising producer) and, friends!