Q&A with Wild Natures lead artist Hwa Young Jung, and artist Angela YT Chan

Thu 20 Oct 2022

In early October 2022, we took part in the first ever WORLDLING programme, developed by Unity Technologies and the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab.

WORLDING is a first of its kind research and development initiative, exploring climate futures at the intersection of documentary, land-use planning, speculative modelling and game-engine technologies.

Led by artist Hwa Young Jung, Wild Natures was part of the WORLDING 2022 workshop series, which brought together an international cohort of five teams with storyworld projects in development for a week-long, intensive knowledge-sharing programme.

We sat down with Hwa Young Jung and artist Angela YT Chan to talk about their involvement with Wild Natures, the WORLDLING Programme and what comes next…

Hello Hwa Young, you’ve been working on Wild Natures for nearly 3 years now.
Can you tell us how the project first came about, and the work you’d already done on the project before the Worlding labs? 

The seeds of Wild Natures was planted in 2019, with a Season For Change commission. They are a UK-wide cultural programme that inspires urgent and inclusive action on climate change. The result is PTown Bay MMXXX, a board game co-created with young people at the Nacro Education and Skills Centre in Peterborough, UK who are learning outside the mainstream education system. The game explores the current and near future aspirations of young people faced with multiple disadvantages.

Angela, how did you get involved with Wild Natures? 

AND put me in touch with Hwa Young when the co-creation studio put the call out for teams. With our shared intention to explore climate narratives as one of the many overlapping social injustices – historically, currently, and the near future – I think it made for a good start to the journey. 

Can you describe the experience of participating in the MIT labs? Have you done anything like it before? 

Hwa Young: The MIT lab was intense, thought provoking and inspiring. As a former director of a hackspace, I’ve run and participated in similar labs /hackathons but never in a post-Covid landscape with so much remote screen time, or the availability of so many global speakers and workshops. 

Angela: Earlier in the year, I was a part of AND’s Impossible Perspectives Lab for XR (extended realities). I grew more familiar with some of the evolving technologies, although it opened up my questions on industry ecosystems vs socially engaged participation.
The Worlding programme and our incredible cohort of teams untangled some of these barriers and inspired me a lot on creative, environmental and ethical practices with these technologies. 

What do you think you will apply from the labs to Wild Natures? 

Hwa Young: I’ve learned many things, but one of the most valuable is that the technology (RT3D in this case) can be a part of the co-creation process, and not necessarily the end product. This allows the technology to be adapted to the specific needs of the project, and allows more exploration of creative ideas around an issue. 

Angela: I agree with Hwa Young on this. It supports our view that because Wild Natures is so multifaceted, balancing how each stage is developed keeps the project’s priorities centred. 

Any stand out moments of working on the project so far?

Hwa Young:  The people! What an amazing range of expertise and participants. The joyfulness of many of the people gives me hope of finding more like minded individuals who are working towards an alternative future. 

Angela: Yes! Alongside the depth of real-world influence towards an array of justices, I was also touched by the vulnerability across the team project sharings. It was a reminder that changing systems through Worlding comes from people building together. 

Can you tell us what you’d like the future of the project to look like? 

Hwa Young: I’d like to continue strengthening the entangled social structures between criminal justice and environmental issues, by bringing more disciplines, art forms and technologies to shore up this ecosystem.

Angela: Thinking through ideas with Hwa Young is grounding and motivating, more of this would be great.


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