jessa gillespie is a worker and technologist living in amiskwaciwâskahikan on treaty 6 territory.
they are interested in & sometimes make: video games, virtual reality installations, and websites.
jessa is very good at:
cinema4d, zbrush, unity, daz, faceware, photoshop, premiere, after effects & indesign.
and is pretty good at:
unreal engine, maya & marvelous designer.
they also put into use:
special skills include web design, motion capture, character animation, 3d modeling & texturing.
pls feel free to contact them with any questions, concerns, or paid labor.
you may get in touch with them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org :)
i have been working with stephanie for the past couple of years, mainly on her AI project, NTOO.
NTOO is a multigenerational memoir of a black american family as told by an AI entity. it contains the knowledge & teachings of three generations of black women, and is a most beautiful ongoing archive!! i have worked with stephanie & her family to create a composite 3D avatar that bears physical & emotional resemblence to them. we are in the final stages of this project, and it is set to premiere in the fall of 2021!
recently, i also collaborated on the web xr oral history project, secret garden, which premiered at sundance in january 2021. the link to it is here!.
a game made in collaboration with scott smallwood & nico arnaez. to be released spring 2021! i did all of the graphics for this one :)
here is an article about the game.
& we were in this exhibition last year!
community presentation series
this project is a long form text-based game (for now) built with twine, that is concerned with speculative architecture & built environments. the game is experienced in first person as you navigate several different built environments, or "clumps", that have responded in varying ways to a unanimously enveloping, physical haze that has settled over all colonized space. each clump is collectively designed by the communities that inhabit them, architecturally & socially.
there are so far 5 clumps, and they are as follows:
★in one clump someone invented eyeglasses to see through fog particles, & their community places a lot of value on artistic expression through physical objects (public art, architecture). their spaces are tall and sharp (no need for eyes to adjust from the roundness of the fog).
★in one clump they have built underground to avoid the haze & have built a tunnel system. as underground has been minimally colonized they live fairly peacefully with no disputes over land or property. they eat mainly bugs & siphon water from underground water tables & have no need for currency as nothing is scarce.
★in one clump the inhabitants have developed advanced auditory capabilities as a means to navigate & communicate through the haze. they keep to themselves as a symptom of relying on limited background noise to be aware of their surroundings. they are very courteous with public space & are well equipped to set boundaries & hold each other accountable to them.
★in one clump they have developed a way to control the shape of the haze & they use it to deliminate spatial boundaries. it acts architecturally as well as protectively. they are free to manipulate spatial needs for the community whenever necessary, & any member of the community can create whatever space suits them. there is no industry here, as the ability to manipulate the haze fits most material needs.
★in one clump they have built their environment high up in the sky, it is said above the haze line. but from there, there is still only haze to see. their resources are more scarce, and they have developed currency because of it.
if u have any feedback on this project as per the provided information i would love to hear it :) it is very dear to my heart & has been in the works for years!
recently, i have started collaboratively organizing a queer gaming group in new york that plays & corresponds about games made by queer folks. we're working on a list of game designers & games that we love & want to experience together, which i have included below. please email me if you want to play with us/help organize or have anything to contribute to our archiving<3
★an amazing reference has been the lgbt game archive! from the schwules museum in berlin. they are doing amazing (gay) archiving work.
★digital: a love story
★never alone is a game i've been wanting to play that was made by and about the Iñupiat people, an alaskan indigenous community. this game has recieved mainly positive reviews, but has had a lot of critical engagement from the games community and the academic community around the labor & involvement of the game's indigenous collaborators. jodi byrd discusses the game here.
★one of my fav writers & gamemakers, porpentine heartscape is a must on this list. she queers game making in every way possible!
★abtec -aboriginal territories in cyberspace- is collaboratively involved in the creation of games & virtual worlds, and have so many beautiful projects on the go.
★dys4ia made by anna antropy about the experiences of being transgender.
★serafin alvarez's work is adjacent to games; this is a nice maze walkthrough by him on itch.
★robert yang is an extremely prolific and seductive game developer who teaches at the nyu game center rn.
★have started an itch collection as well :))) lizectricity colestia lilithzone porpentine princessaxolotl w.itch
☆other cool things xo s/o to theo&other pals for sharing these☆
gaming under socialism
austin walker:Making & Playing Games In A Time of Political Struggle
game studies study buddies
interactive fiction database
arcane kids games
3d model of a dragon train, that was 3d printed to fit on a irl train set. concept collaboration with samson stilwell.
stills from a short video & a virtual reality installation
a co-curated exhibition with daniel walker that took place at latitude 53 in the spring of 2018, with works by jacob dutton & thomas ramsay.
a co-curated exhibition with daria nordell that took place at the works art & design festival in 2017, in the basement of a vacant former post office.
with works by: alasdair, michelle duchamp, jacob dutton, brad fehr, theodore fox, jessa gillespie, megan gnanasihamany, charles gonsalves, jenna-katheryn heinemann, isabelle kuzio, nathan levasseur, t.j. maclachlan, caitlin mccann, aja moore, ines panizzi, larissa pham, leila plouffe, matthew thompson, and wei.
the worlds we want to live in are already with us, housed in our practices of abolition. and as we care for one another thru mutual aid, self-organization, & community accountability, there’s some things that need to burn along the way. abolish the white supremacist state ♪( ´θ｀)
★here are some new york specific resources/reparations to engage with★
a reparation fund organized by deep waters for those who live in brooklyn.
yes, we mean literally abolish the police and article in the nyt times by mariame kaba, incredible abolitionist & organizer in new york.
the radical database, created by angelina ruiz, who has compiled an extensive database of ways that Black folks can get support thru mutual aid, educational tools, mental health resources, and ways that nonBlack folks can navigate reparations.
mask on zone, a protest & anti surveillance guide created by some new york abolitionists, & designed by pal neta bomani.
speaker music (deforrest brown jr.), released this album along with a booklet of Black writing&poetry, black nationalist sonic weaponry.
to get involved & educate yrself abt transformative justice check out nyc tj hub. transformative justice & accountability was birthed out of necessity in communities that feel no safety & put no trust in the "justice" system. tj is foundational in an abolitionist agenda, and is rooted in labor done by Black & indigenous communities.
an image scrubber made by everest pipkin to scrub images & videos of metadata and blur faces. we gotta protect our folks in the streets not just today but everyday.
& if you're interested in electoral politics, check on who takes that cop$$ in nyc before u vote for them.
★★★am going to long-term post all of my abolition-related resources here!
☆thanks for coming xo jessa☆
☆hello fellow humans☆
a brief update on what i've been working on/thinking about/freaking out about!
★the past couple of months have been tumultuous & intense. my brain & heart have been wrapped up in the experiences of those that i surround myself with. because of this, i haven't been that preoccupied with my personal practice, other than pretty consistently writing (partially parsing through larger concepts that i'm exploring while also building up this fictional world that my game is housed in). this world that i'm speculating about is shrouded in a blur that i've started to dream with. sharpness is an illusion of cognition, in a disabilities sense & an epistemological sense. seeing things clearly is not reflective of comprehension. i've been trying not to perceive built things for how acute they appear to be, and in my dreams i tend to forget some of the naturalizations of relations, things that should have settled in me. i keep getting lost in my dreams, literally like i lose my way, i lose track of the narrative, find myself confused about what i'm supposed to be doing, how i'm supposed to act. everything is either blurry or so sharp that it incises my eyes when i try to examine it's edges.
★i've been spending so much time thinking around universalisms, ontologically and epistemologically, that it makes sense that i've been getting lost. the script that i'm writing parses universalisms, questions their intentions, tries to understand how they came to be by tracing the hands that built them. particular things with softer edges that blur into other things is what i'm interested in. and particularly i'm thinking about how spaces are constructed, how the structures that house us might not be for 'us'. there's no room to seep into each other. anyways i cryptically digress, the script is a narrative exploration of a speculative architecture project i'm working on that allows communities to develop into clumps via voluntary association & self organization. i will release the script on here in the coming months as a text-based game with sound design by sydney spann.
★i've read some really amazing pieces of writing lately that have been informing my life & my research, most notably the ravicka series by renee gladman, para-platforms: on the spatial politics of right-wing populism, perhaps it is high time for a xeno-architecture to match, pattern discrimination, architecture in black by darell wayne fields, a hacker manifesto by mckenzie wark, black and blur by fred moten, an apartment on uranus by paul b preciado, psycho nymph exile by porpentine heartscape, fledgling by octavia butler, & forthcoming still but keep your eyes & ears peeled for, my friend tessa bolsover's manuscript the riblike instrument, and vijay masharani's considering the cultural boycott after kanders.
★i've also started organizing a queer gaming group that meets to play together & think together & archive qtipoc games :) there's a link to it in the mindscape so i won't reiterate but wow it feels so nice to develop this network!
★you know how everyone has been posting those spotify rewind 2019 big data tracking mood skewers? here's my version:
sounds/images that have shattered my heart 2019
★i've been thinking about these past months as distinct, & think a more appropriate sumation of my year has to be what shattered my heart in 2019 & who/what has been picking up those millions of pieces to build me back up into something different. you know how when you break a bone you can poke at it under your skin after it's 'healed' & feel the uneven lumps of scar tissue? i feel this all over me, partially because i'm very clumsy & don't have fast enough reflexes to duck when a baseball is being thrown at my face, and partially because allowing yourself to heal unevenly is necessary sometimes. things always feel misaligned to me anyways. the uneven sedimentation of experience needs to be chipped away at, broken into many pieces, & reassembled with some patchy affixings. i started off 2019 having just returned to new york after having been deported (wrongfully) and now i'm still picking up the pieces and accidentally dropping them over & over again, but i have more hands helping me pick them back up now. y'all know who you are because i won't shut up about it when i'm in love, but a general reminder that your subjective existence can always be collectively conjugated. hold onto each other tightly.
★one last note is something impactful that's been going on in new york recently (but within a larger global narrative of protest re. the recent protests in chile, millions taking to the streets in lebanon right now, and ongoing struggles in palestine, bolivia, sudan, the list goes on). there has been a wave of collective momentum surrounding the ongoing police presence & violence in the mta public transit system (the mta is actually a private company gag). there has been two large scale actions organized by why accountability, take back the bronx, decolonize this place, no new jails nyc & others forming the ftp coalition. the last one occupied the streets of harlem with over 3000 bodies that screamed an abolitionist agenda. if you're reading this & live in new york i urge you to support the work that these organizations are doing, the criminalization of poverty and of black and brown people must not be tolerated. and in particular if you're a white person reading this, put your body on the line & fuck passivity. if you're looking for thorough & reliable reporting regarding what's been going on, refer to ash j's twitter account and paypal him for the incredibly important work that he does.
☆thanks for coming xo jessa☆
☆hello people&respective machines☆
i've decided that a blog where other humans can choose if they want to consume what i expel into the void is better than inhabiting social platforms for the time being. so i will be posting a web of thoughts/projects/in progress work into the mindscape from time to time. thanks for coming xo
wanted to talk through the development of a few projects that i'm working on here & blast a few things that i'm excited by recently.
★lately, i've been dedicating a lot of time to my work for stephanie dinkins, a super smart artist & thinker. i've been working with her for several months now on a project called "not the only one". stephanie has developed an AI chatbot that acts as an archive of her, her aunt, and her niece's experiences as a Black family in America (it's only been trained/developed by them and other POC). through this project and her other work, stephanie is making very clear to the white, male dominated tech world that technology is always a reflection of those who create it. her work encourages a wide scope of critical thought, but mainly, for me anyways, it's lays out very clearly that technology is always already racially biased (due to those that populate the yucky techworld/ultimate money-making machine), among other things. stephanie's work is important in shifting away from this.
my work with stephanie has been to develop a virtual face for the AI chatbot, and to create a link between the output of the AI to it's three dimensional iteration. hopefully the outcome of this work is to be able to speak face to face, so to speak, with the three dimensional AI, and have a realtime conversation. i'm not sure how much of this i'm supposed to keep secret, so i won't go into specifics about how we're doing this.
but i've been in research mode lately trying to figure out a successful workflow that allows for a text to speech translation that is mapped out live onto the facial rig of the 3D model. there isn't any softwares on the market that allow for this kind of fully integrated, live translation, but one exciting research center that we've been learning a lot from is the laboratory of animate technologies in auckland. they've developed this AI baby, that is housed in an integrated software with it's neural net, etc..
★i've also been making good progress on this virtual reality project, mapavr. i won't talk much about it here because i have a link to our devlog on my home page where we're posting regular updates. one exciting thing to note though is that we're potentially partnering up with this company called pison to make the virtual reality experience accessible to people with a limited range of mobility!
★personally, i've been in big time gamedev mode. i'm sketching out a game rn in this application called twine, which is mainly used to make text based games. i use it specifically to tease out narratives, scripts, anticipate player interactions/decision-making. it works like a mindmap sort of, which is a format that i'm obsessed with. can't blast this app enough!
i'm trying to make a bunch of game iterations around this larger umbrella concept that is situated in the inter-infrastructure devlog. simply put, the game(s) are about the ways in which the built environment prescribes social relations. ecology baby! the narrative i'm working through is taking the form of speculative fiction/poetry prose, which has been really fun and immersive to write. i've created this world that i find bleeding into my life in strange ways. one of the things that i've been paying a lot of attention to is the ways in which we use our bodies to interact with built structures & how these structures obligate us to engage with them in specific ways. this as a larger concept is one of the reasons why i was so immediately fascinated by stephanie's work, built structures make assumptions & these are assumptions made by someone at some point during the design process. if someone who falls into the category of a 'normal body', aka white, male, middle class, able bodied, able minded, is making assumptions about how other humans move through space and interact with it, those assumptions are def going to be biased to their lived reality. there are many examples (which i will post in the my heart moves faster devlog at some point) currently & throughout history of built environments being designed by communities, not individuals, & imo we gotta collectively adopt this. this game is explores that notion, and imagines a future in which the development of our environments is a collective process. i want to breed a possible future that is situated and caring. we gotta be invested in each other's flourishing!