Kelley Francis lives and works at the cutting edge intersection of art and technology in the emerging field of immersive art. Currently the Tech Project Manager at Meow Wolf, she brings a full spectrum of experience to Santa Fe and an evolved sense of entrepreneurship.
At 21, Kelley launched her first business as the Operations Manager of Downtown Independent, described by the Los Angeles Times as a "very cool indie movies house" that also hosts events. From this start she became the Art Director for the first Downtown Art Walk in the redeveloping historic Los Angeles downtown district and curated the first outdoor art installation in the Spring Street Arcade, collaborating with 20 different visual and performance artists.
Immersive art was becoming her passion. Noah Nelson, an expert on immersive theater, describes immersive art as being site-specific, non-traditional art and entertainment that breaks the imagined, invisible wall that separates the viewer from the performer and engages all senses in a single experience. "For me," he says, "it means a force, it's all around you but also goes through you. It's not just a 350-degree set. it makes you part of it."
Kelley continues to have one foot in the fine art curatorial world by being involved in a number of other art walks in the Los Angeles area and also working with Main Fields Projects, a firm offering installation, collection and exhibition services.
Her other foot is firmly rooted in the world of interaction and multimedia. After the Spring Street installation, Kelley got involved in Live VJ which is real-time visual performance where technology is used to create and manipulate images in synchronization to music. The resulting live multimedia performances can include actors, dance, music, video, computer programs and the audience. BollyDoll is an example of this art from and is part of Kelley's portfolio.
Interactive 360 virtual tours is a way to bring the Live VJ experience to the "man on the street" and Kelley worked on a number of these for Panoramics before moving on to immersive, dome-based video projection environments known as Fulldome. Fulldome is a way to bring a greater sense of a surround experience to the audience. Fulldomes use video projection systems to cover the inside surface of the dome with images and Live VJ. Included here are videos of two Fulldome installations to give you a sense of what the experience is like. The first one is one that Kelley was involved with, Ceremony Live 360 with James Hood. It provides some background on the technology and an artist's perspective of creating in a 360-degree environment.
The other videos are Samskara, an art installation created for Fulldome and Fulldome VJ which shows more of a commercial application.
Kelley states that, "I live and work to combine technology, interaction and the arts for installations... that provoke memorable and exhilarating experience." After this brief tour through her journey, it is easy to see exactly how exciting this is.
TechBivvy and New Mexico TechWorks are delighted to have Kelley Francis as the speaker for the July 2017 BizBrew. We will be meeting at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe to learn more from Kelley about the intersection of art and emerging technologies and to get a behind the scenes view of the Meow Wolf installation. Please go to the upcoming events page to reserve your free ticket.
Added Note: You can get your own high-tech local Fulldome experience at First Friday Fractals and Fractals Rock! shows offered by the Fractal Foundation in Albuquerque, NM. First Friday Fractals is both educational and highly entertaining. My personal experience was awesome and inspiring as the video zooms ever deeper into 3D fractal space. Fractals Rock! is more music and less education. For more information and tickets go to http://fractalfoundation.org.