Attack / Decay / Research / Release: Mapping community with FWB

From August 12–14, 2022, Water & Music and Friends With Benefits (FWB) joined forces to explore the nature of IRL <> URL communities through a collaborative workshop at FWB Fest, where attendees came together to document how they would map the communities they are a part of.

Tucked away on a winding path in the Idyllwild Arts Academy, we invited Fest attendees to the Water & Music classroom throughout the weekend with a mix of music and crafts. Each workshop started with a brief primer about community —— a concept that is both universal in human society, and seemingly infinite in the forms it can take — followed by a facilitated art exercise to get our collaborators’ creative juices flowing (special thank you to our workshop facilitator Alex Maceda).

We then asked workshop attendees to visualize their experience navigating through a community they are a part of — whether IRL, URL, or anything in between.

The deck below features all of the artworks generated during our workshop, as well as a retrospective summary of our research findings. We found several repeated patterns and themes in our attendees’ approaches to community representation and engagement — such as kinetic movement, interconnected ecosystems, and self-extension — that could serve as anchor points for community leaders and participants when it comes to designing thoughtful, memorable collective experiences.

At large, community-building, fandom, and collective solutions to industry challenges are constantly top-of-mind for our community of researchers. We hope this deck and collaboration can serve as a jumping-off point for future research projects on these topics. If you’d like to help lead or contribute to such projects in the future, please make yourself known — we would love to hear from you! Reach out at, and follow us on Twitter.