Announcing the 2019 Electric South Immersive Media Lab Advisors

Electric South
Sep 13 · 5 min read

The lab brings together artists and advisors who convene to explore new frontiers of digital storytelling.

This November, 10 Electric South Immersive Media Lab artists will convene for a week-long retreat in Cape Town, together with a team of advisors, among whom are 2018 advisors from Black Rhino VR and Eden Labs.

The advisors are experts at the top of their field in interactive and immersive digital technologies and bring a wealth of knowledge, ranging from 360 filmmaking to spatial sound to 3D modelling and beyond, to the lab.

Get to know the artists:

The lab is uniquely designed to introduce artists to new immersive technologies to expand their avenues of storytelling.

This year’s advisors are:

Brian Afande

Brian is the co-founder of Kenyan based Black Rhino VR, a virtual reality production company with a desire is to make Africa’s unique experiences and cultural heritage accessible to everyone in the world through the power of VR. BlackRhino VR has since landed several clients such as Safaricom, UNICEF, and Nestle. They recently collaborated with Contrast VR on Ghetto Classics, a short documentary following a young woman who turned to classical music as a refuge.


Isa Mohamed

Isa is a 360 VR Editor and Content Creator at Black Rhino VR. He has edited and produced 360 content for companies such as Safaricom, Property Reality, Nestle Africa and UNICEF. His most recent VR project, African Space Makers, was selected for the Venice Gap-Financing Market. This project consists of the creation of five artistic docu-fictions made in VR on African urban heroes and the creative spaces that they have started.


Lauren Beukes

Lauren is a South African award-winning and internationally best-selling novelist who also writes comics, screenplays, TV shows and journalism.

Her fiction has been portrayed as high-idea and type mixing, with a social conscience that looks at the disjunction of society and what our identity is. In 2010 she was the head-writer for the animated series “URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika”. Her books have been translated into 26 languages and have been optioned for film and TV.


Nyasha Kadandara

Nyasha is a Zimbabwean-born visual storyteller based in East Africa and 2017 Electric South Lab alumni. She focuses on a broad spectrum of subjects including breaking news, climate change, education, migration, health, and conflict in various parts of Africa. Her VR film “Le Lac” recently scooped the top prize for Best Digital Narrative at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019. The VR documentary explores the effects of climate change and Boko Haram on Lake Chad, which has shrunk to 10% of its original size.


Gareth Steele

Gareth is the co-founder of Eden Labs, an emerging technology R&D house which develops technology and shows for contemporary art based in South Africa. They tailor internal projects and collaborate with artists and other collectives in the creation of immersive experiences.

Gareth is an art director who focusses on mixed media applications for emerging technologies, including 360 photo and video, augmented reality and virtual reality.


Rick Treweek

Rick is a creative technologist and co-founder of Eden Labs, who enjoys constantly pushing the boundaries of digital formats and disruptive hardware. With over 15 years of experience in the digital space, he explores emerging technologies and how they influence our reality. His practice centres around creating worlds within art, games and new formats of digital media. Eden’s extensive list of projects includes “The Lost Botanist” selected for the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.


Saschka Unseld

Saschka is an Emmy Award-winning German-born writer and director of Pixar’s photoreal short film “The Blue Umbrella”. He co-founded the Academy Award-nominated animation studio Soi, where he directed and produced numerous award-winning shorts and commercials before joining Pixar Animation Studios in 2008.

In 2014, Unseld helped to establish Oculus Story Studio where he now helps explore the future of VR storytelling.


Sarah Ellis

Sarah is an award-winning producer and Director of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespeare Company based in the United Kingdom. Sarah’s work explores new artistic initiatives while celebrating achievements in digital technologies. In partnership with Google’s Creative Lab, she produced “Midsummer Night’s Dreaming” which won two Lovie Awards for Innovation and Experimentation. She was voted as one of the top 100 most influential people in Gaming and Technology by The Hospital Club and Guardian Culture Professionals and she has proven herself to be a champion in the pursuit of promoting digital engagement in the arts.


The 2019 Electric South Immersive Media Lab is made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation and Bertha Foundation.

Now in its 4th year, the Lab is a unique retreat which brings together diverse African artists and leading industry advisors to explore new frontiers of storytelling, such as VR, AR, 360 films, interactive worlds, animation, artificial intelligence, projection mapping, hybrid forms, and beyond.

About Electric South

Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Artificial Intelligence, Bio-Hacking, and beyond: tools that artists can use for creative expression are expanding and evolving. We believe that these new technologies must open up spaces for original voices and underrepresented narratives. This urgent need to showcase African stories in the medium of today inspired a 21st century production studio: Electric South.

Founded in 2015, we are a registered non-profit company based in Cape Town, South Africa and operating across the African continent. We are involved in the production of daring and urgent stories around African experiences; in building audiences and exhibition models for these stories in the local sector; and in the skills development required to advance a robust ecosystem of coopetition.

You can join our mailing list here, and follow us on Facebook /Twitter /Instagram.

Electric South

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Funding, incubating and exhibiting the work of African creators - focused on innovative digital visual storytelling, VR, mobile and non-fiction.

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