In 1990 artist Eric Joris founded the company CREW. Under his artistic direction and with the help of an international network, they have been steadily chipping away at the boundaries between art, technology and human perception. CREW is a pioneer in the research on how technology influences us and enables us to switch in real-time between different worlds: our own, the cultural and the virtual. CREW’s medium of choice, one that goes straight to the spectator’s body to put it simply, is immersion: the sensation to be completely enveloped by a different world. The stage where they share this immersive work with the audience is manyfold: installations and performances in the theatre, the museum, on location, inside and outside. The real-time creations of CREW anchor the immersive in the here and now.
At this counterpoint between man and technology, CREW confronts a wide and international audience physically with wat surrounds us, our position in the world and how we see ourselves. CREW has been a lonely trailblazer for over thirty years now and still holds a unique position in the arts field.
Scientific Fiction is an apt description of Eric Joris’ modus operandi. If Science Fiction is a genre that paints a fantastical future, Scientific Fiction on the other hand brings the future to the present by way of CREW’s many artistic projects, making available, questioning or finding new uses for digital innovation. CREW is a regular and diligent participant in scientific research.
Today, CREW is driven by two artists: Eric Joris and Isjtar. Together with other returning collaborators and cocreators, they lead the audience through virtual and real spaces, integrating ordinary i-pads, motion capture suits or StrapTrack systems into digital art with VR devices. In the future, CREW will throw open the gates to the multi-layered field in which we operate - at the intersection of art, technology and science - to a polyphonic company of new creators.
CREW's work is gaining momentum today. The pandemic is no stranger to it: successive lockdowns have highlighted the impact of the latest media. The importance and impact of digitisation on society is undeniable. The digital media have developed very quickly; they also reformat and 'remediate' the old media, and with it the cultural landscape. It is important for the arts to help shape the thinking around this evolution. We do not need to wait for the Googles, Amazons and Metas of this world to develop the necessary tools and platforms for makers and audiences. After all, the word 'necessary' does not have the same meaning for these industrial giants as it does for us.
CREW considers it a basic task to share and exchange the acquired knowledge, both technical and artistic, in the service of science and society, and attaches great importance to the relationship and cooperation with art colleges and university institutions. CREW was included as a model case in the European Union's stART programme.
CREW PRODUCTIONS is the production arm of our artists' collective. Within it, we work out innovative artistic productions for various stages, both live and online; both one-on-one and in auditorium performances with an audience.
CREW LAB is our research and development arm. Together with scientists, we develop new technologies and methodologies that can be used in digital experiences. To this end, we have established a partnership with the Expertise Centre for Digital Media of Uhasselt (EDM). Within LAB we work both nationally (e.g. Soulhacker) and Europe-wide (PRESENT).