Styles and Customs of the 2020’s – A Dystopian VR Fine Art Exhibit of the Near Future

How do new photographic technologies shape the virtual realm? This is the question explored by Scatter and four visionary, international artists, Kim Laughton, Rachel Rossin, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, and Alan Warburton at the Carnegie Museum of Art‘s grandiose Hall of Architecture this spring and summer. Styles and Customs of the 2020s is a dystopian room scale VR art installation commissioned by the Hillman Photographic Initiative and prompted by collaboratively generated text published by DIS magazine.

Guided and supported by Scatter, each artist was commissioned to conjure a unique dystopian VR portal into the not so distant future. The impetus for each of the artist’s resulting VR worlds were prompted by snippets of text judiciously selected by each of the artists from a collaborative writing project commissioned by DIS. Subsequently, each VR world is a unique, beautiful, and slightly unsettling experience, yet all share decontextualized threads torn from the fabric of the original source text. The interrelated VR pieces are not passive experiences; the worlds require the viewer to physically move within the VR space to completely unwrap hidden meanings, mechanics, and messages. The four near future VR worlds are connected by a timeless, VR, fire lit cave. The cave functions as gateway of sorts from which the participant gently enters and exits the separate artists’ realities and acts as an interstitial respite between the dystopian VR words.

Vermont Digital Arts‘, Elliott Mitchell, had the good fortune to work with the cutting edge innovators at Scatter and DIS, as well as the four talented fine artists on this ambitious VR art project. Having roots in the fine arts as well as game development, Elliott contributed to Styles and Customs of the 2020s in the role of Technical Director and Lead Developer.

Styles and Customs of the 2020s opened March 16th and will run until September 4th at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh where you can experience the exhibit in person. Not wanting to spoil the joy of discovery for those of you who have yet to visit the museum, we have been intentionally vague in our descriptions of the artist’s VR worlds. After the exhibit concludes, we will post an update with more detailed images, videos and descriptions covering the breadth of the exhibit. If you wish to read more about the exhibit now, take a look here.

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Björk Digital – Virtual Reality Taken To A New Level

Musical pioneer and artist extraordinaire, Björk, has been diving head first into Virtual Reality with her traveling art exhibit Björk Digital. The VR exhibit is a work in progress which features four VR music experiences from Björk’s “Vulnicura” album. Our resident artist, Elliott Mitchell, was fortunate enough to have had a small role working with environment art on one of the VR pieces. Checkout this video clip from Björk’s Instagram account which includes some of Elliott’s handy work!

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Leviathan Project: Mixed Reality At Sundance

There has been a lot of buzz lately about Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), games and filmmaking. Since our founding in 2008, Vermont Digital Arts has been on a mission to be on the forefront of blurring the lines between film and games.

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Vermont Digital Arts recently had the amazing opportunity to lend a hand with Leviathan Project which is currently being demoed at Sundance New Frontiers. Leviathan Project is a mixed reality installation with its roots Scott Westerfield’s best-selling trilogy, Leviathan.

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Leviathan Project is a work in progress and a result of the magic that happens when visionaries like Alex McDowell and Bradley Newman, in collaboration with 5D Global Studio, Unity Technologies and Intel work together to transcend storytelling mediums. Elliott Mitchell, Vermont Digital Arts co-founder, was brought in late in the project to help out with the final push for Sundance. Elliott worked on some VFX and Lighting Design. It was akin to standing on the shoulders of giants.

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If you are able to get to Sundance, check it out! Otherwise, here is a link to a recent Engadget article which goes more in depth about Leviathan Project. Also, checkout the Leviathan Project’s Instagram account. You might see photo’s of Robert Redford

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Leviathan-Project-Sundance-02Leviathan Project’s next stop is the Vision AR/VR Summit this February 10th and 11th in Hollywood, CA. Catch it there if you are able!

UVs: The Good, Bad and Ugly

 

Elliott Mitchell Auto Unwrapping UV Devil 2016

UVs are often shrouded in mystery, or simply an afterthought to many 3D artists and game developers. Not only are UVs essential to texturing 3D models in Unity, UVs are required for Real-Time and Baked Global Illumination(Lightmapping). Unbeknownst to many, UVs may also have a profound influence on runtime performance and an artist’s iteration cycles.

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Earlier this month, Elliott Mitchell (co-founder of Vermont Digital Arts) delivered a quick ten minute lightning talk on the subject of UVs at the Boston Unity Group. His presentation is a high level overview of UVs for the given truncated format. 

Keep an eye out for a more fleshed out talk on UVs in the near future. There is so much more to cover. Here is a link to Elliott’s slides.

Unity Asset Store Gives Waggle Words That Extra Polish

Check out this video of Vermont Digital Art’s co-founder, Elliott Mitchell, as well as Adam Simonar (NVYVE Studios) & Evan Doody (Darkwind Media) talk about their favorite Unity Asset Store products. Elliott is using Circular Gravity Force, Koreographer, and Chromatica Studio in Waggle Words for VR and mobile. Check out the game footage!

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Circular Gravity Force

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Koreographer

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Chromatica Studio

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