On January 9, 2014, the University of Maine will celebrate the opening of its new Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC).

The IMRC Center is more than 15,000 square feet and consists of Intermedia graduate research labs, two computer/technology classrooms, an electronics lab, a prototyping lab, CNC lab, fabrication lab, seminar room and distance classroom node, visiting researcher lab/studio, audio recording studio, video editing suites, electronic and experimental music studio, adaptive presentation environment, sound stage, film and video production studio, 3D and immersive visualization presentation environment, and an outdoor performance space and film presentation stage.

In partnership with the Juice Conference, Midcoast Magnet, Belfast Creative Coalition, and Realize!Maine, the celebrations will begin with “IMRC (Immerse) Maine: Celebrating Creative Innovation”. This mini “Juice” Conference will provide participants with an exciting look at the new IMRC facility’s possibilities through speakers, seminars, and tours.

A “Juice” Conference connects leaders of the creative economy to foster growth and prosperity. Weaving together the arts, technology, and entrepreneurship, Juice inspires innovation by bringing talented people together from widely different backgrounds to learn, exchange ideas, and share success stories. On January 9, the “Juice” Conference will go “on the road” for the first time outside the Midcoast to bring the themes and exciting spirit of the Conference to the new IMRC facility.

The IMRC Maine event will open with a performance not possible in most facilities. Estranged, written and directed by N.B.Aldrich and David Kaye, is a telematic, multi-media performance piece based on Albert Camus’ seminal existential novel L’Étranger. This performance, the first telematic performance in Maine, creates performance that exists in both the physical and virtual realms, providing an opportunity to examine the possibilities and contradictions in these two modes of social presence. The piece is based on the premise that we currently exist in two forms, our “real self” with our actual physical and geographical limitations and predispositions, and our media-produced and publicly broadcast “virtual self.”

Following the performance, the event will move into presentations by keynote speaker John Bielenberg, as well as, other speakers. John Bielenberg is a designer, entrepreneur, and imaginative advocate for a better world. He is the founder of Project M and co-founder of Future and Common. Following John, the Creative team of Abby Stiers, Alexander Gross will present their work on the Maine Arts Commission Percent for Art installation for the IMRC building. This data driven interactive work, being produced in collaboration with sculptor Isabelle Pellisier, is a first for Maine and highlights the possibilities of New Media based art.

Participants will also have the opportunity to become familiar with the state-of-the-art facilities through seminars and tours. Two seminars will be available to attendees including: “What’s Possible Tour” which will introduce attendees to individuals who have used the facility for prototype and media development as well as an overview of the ideals behind maker-spaces; “Diving Deeper: Prototyping Specifics” which will provide an opportunity to take a more detailed look at the available prototyping equipment such as 3D printing and media production.

The schedule for the day will be as follows:- 12:00 pm: Conference registration- 1:00 – 4:30pm: IMRC (Immerse) Maine: Celebrating Creative Innovation Conference- 5:00 – 7:00pm: Dedication and Opening Ceremony with University of Maine President and Mrs. Ferguson. Conference cost is $30.00.

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