For Tacoma Film Festival’s inaugural VR event, The Veldt (named after the Ray Bradbury short story about a family that disappears into virtual reality) we curated a diverse selection of VR experiences for their audience to experience. We had four GearVR stations with swivel chairs (thank you Samsung!) for audiences to immerse in our 360 section:
“Neural Path” by Michaella Vu
“The Visitor” by James Kaelan
“Ashes” by Jess Kantor
“Haunt” by Lilian Mehrel
An HTC Vive station allowed fest-goers to experience VR interactively in Tiltbrush and Marimba, a program created by Seattle-based Verge of Brilliance, headed by Dr. Evie Powell, and Tacoma’s FabLab maker space was on-hand to let attendees build their own cardboard virtual reality goggles throughout the weekend.
Michaella Vu and Evie Powell joined Trond Nilsen of Virtual World Society and WonderTek Labs’ creative director Nathaniel Pinzon and CEO Kim Voynar for a rousing Happy Hour Salon Conversation on the future of VR. The chatter focused heavily on non-gaming uses of this technology now and in the future and the ethics of VR and AR technologies, and we had some great back-and-forth with some of the audience members who turned out to talk about this emerging technology.
For The Veldt’s premiere party, we created a visually immersive event saturated in color and visuals. The “Suspiria” lighting design washed the white walls of the venue, The Breaker Studio and Gallery, in vivid color, and video projection loops on two walls further set the tone.
The highlight of the evening was a special performance merging art, music and technology, with public artist and muralist Christopher Paul Jordan, who co-owns The Breaker with artist Kenji Stoll, creating some amazing 3D art in Tiltbrush while his brother, Will Jordan, a musician, performed some of his recent material.
The Breaker is a POC-owned studio and gallery and we wanted the party to reflect that and be a party the thriving POC artist and music scene in Tacoma would love and stay all night for, so the music was hip-hop (kept at background “talking” levels earlier in the party, then up to dancing level later in the night!), the amazing food was catered by Tacoma’s Southern Kitchen, and the humans in the video projections were deliberately diverse. The party kept going until the last stragglers stumbled out the door at 3AM, munching on the last of the corn muffins on their way out into the night.
More pics after the break …