Virtual reality throughout re:publica TEN. Recently, we've seen technological developments that will establish VR in many areas of our daily lives and potentially change our media and consumer habits. These developments can be seen in the product market and the race between numerous tech firms is setting a rapid pace. It's not just the arts and culture being affected by these developments. The topic of immersions, the desire by users to dive in and permeate content, has become a central focus for many disciplines.
The field of VR is creating a lot of excitement in terms of new hardware products, from cameras to VR goggles and full-on VR domes. The 360 degree viewing format is also gaining a foothold in content areas from numerous disciplines. Along with gaming, the potentials of VR have been discovered by music and fashion industry, science, health, film and journalism and are using the technologies in numerous ways (we think back to the great re:publica 2015 talk on the subject of "immersive journalism").
Immersive experiences in the "labore:tory"
At re:publica TEN, VR was represented throughout the conference. Our new experimentation space "labore:tory" featured 3 days and 3 floors dedicated to the topic of VR. The labre:tory, in the Kühlhaus, became a learning lab open to all participants who coul try out and experiment with various VR recording equipment and technologies on the 2nd floor. The 2nd floor also featured 2 projects from Berlin's Mediadesign Hochschule für Design und Informatik. The 3rd floor featured hands-on use of VR glasses and goggles, which enabled you to dive in to new dimensions and experiences. The 2 floors were in the capable and experienced hands of Germany's First Professional Association for Virtual Reality (EDFVR). We welcome this new cooperation and promoting synergies and dialogue between the two networks.
The first floor of the "labre:tory" was dedicated to a different thematic focus each day: the Musicday (2 May) looked at various topics in numerous sessions, including binaural VR and 360 degree recording. We would like to thank Berlin's Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research for supporting the topics of VR and music. Immersive Arts (3 May) highlighted VR and digital art. Immersion means more than simply partaking in the content – we looked to dive into the art directly and experience it in a whole new way. Sessions looked at new tools for storytelling through technology. Working practices, possibilities and new perspectives were highlighted. Day 3 (4 May) hosted #FASHIONTECH Berlin and looked at VR's integration into the fashion industry. Could it even become a fashion accessory?
Alongside the "labre:tory", VR was featured throughout the STATION venue. One attraction was the DOMZELT in the re:lax outdoor area with a 10-meter radius. In this dome you coul experience various VR content in a group. The exhibitors area at MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin showed off new media technologies and ZDF and ZDFneo used their booths at re:publica to bring participants closer to VR and 360 degree content. Their booth featured hands-on experiences with 5 “VR masks”, with integrated VR glasses, which were free to test out by all visitors. We were also looking forward to what Google and Deutsche Bahn will present on the topic of VR!
EDFVR Lounge at the labore:tory
On Day 2 (3 May) the EDFVR hosted a lounge at the labore:tory. This was a chance for you to get engaged in a lively discussion and meet Virtual Reality experts from all fields. The schedule:
10:00-11:00 VR OPEN MIC
VR projects pitch in front of a jury and the audience. Members of the jury are AC Coppens (Marketing Consultant), Kay Meseberg (Project Lead ARTE 360/VR), Kathleen Schröter (Fraunhofer)
11:15-11:45 VR Talks: Panel Storytelling
Hannes Wagner (Dome Festival Jena), Astrid Kahmke (transmedia Bayern), Prof. Björn Bartholdy (Dean at Cologne Game Lab), Janine Dittmann (Holodeck from Munich)
12:00-12:30 VR Talks: Beyond Technology
Jörg Bange (lawyer for copyright and internet), Cyril Tuschi (VR entrepreneur), Wim Rögels, (Digital Consultant, arvato), Andrew Olszewski (VR Physiogaming from Amsterdam) via Skype
13:45-14:15 VR Talks: Immersive Journalism
Stephan Gensch (Vragments), Claudia Grenzer (freelance journalist), Benedict Moran (360-degree journalist, "on the brink of famine") via Skype
15:00-19:00 VR Braincamp 2 / Member Gathering
To demonstrate the possibilities of Virtual Reality as a group experience, you could visit the re:publica DOME installation at our outdoor area re:lax. In cooperation with EDFVR 360-degree projections displayed a selection of Virtual Reality content, some of it created especially for kids. The tent was open on all three days of the conference:
10:00-10:30 Short Movies by Evolair / Xentromer / SAE
Short movies of various directors who use the full dome as a creative media of expression. Language: German, 45 minutes.
10:30-11:00 Hands-on by VIOSO
A slot for users to get your hands on the full dome: Play games in the tent (2 persons max.), experimental content, have a talk with the full dome experts, get re:publica updates through the live stream and more.
11:00-11:30 KALUOKA’HINA – The Magic Ship by Softmachine
A coral reef is endangered and two fish are on a rescue mission. This fantastical underwater adventure with a relevance is intended for families and kids. Language: German, 33 minutes.
12:30-13:00 The Pull – 13:30-14:00 The Pull
14:30-15:00 On the Brink of Famine
15:00-15:30 REALM OF LIGHT – A Short History of Life by Softmachine
Time travel through space and time starting from the Big Bang until human existence; a poetic animation with score. Language: German, 24 minutes.
15:30-16:00 Hands-on – 16:00-16:30 Short Movies – 16:30-17:00 Hands-on
16:00-16:30 The Pull
17:00-17:30 On the Brink of Famine
18:00-18:30 The Pull
19:00-22:00 LiCHTPiRATEN perform NOISY LINES – audio visual live show (Monday & Tuesday)
The dome as an immersive stage – enjoy the sound and video live mix by LiCHTPiRATEN. 60 minutes. Laufzeit: ca. 60 Minuten
22:00 - open end IMMERSIVE ARTS – Stars over Berlin (Monday & Tuesday)
Photo credit: re:publica/Jan Zappner (CC BY 2.0)