Every time I’ve sat down to write something about virtual reality in the past couple days my thoughts get hijacked by Trump. I’m trying to process what just happened in America outside of my progressive, Pacific Northwest bubble. As a child of Watergate (I was born the day after Nixon was re-elected), I grew up in an atmosphere of anti-authoritarianism, in a part of the … Continue reading Reality.
On the dark and rainy day after the election I found myself in the control room of a state-of-the-art recording facility in the woods outside Stanwood, a couple miles from the house I grew up in. I grew up a half mile north of the Skagit-Snohomish county line, on seven acres of fields, forest, and ponds in what often felt like the middle of nowhere.
It’s hard to overstate just how isolating rural places like my home felt before the Internet. The world was awash in entertainment and culture that originated from New York and Los Angeles, delivered in the form of TV signals captured by an antenna and magazines that showed up in our mailbox. Most of the world didn’t seem to know or care that Seattle, much less Skagit County, even existed. I knew, growing up, that I wanted to contribute to American culture in some way, most likely by writing novels. I always believed that there was no reason why someone from a small place couldn’t grow up to influence the world.
So it’s 2016 and I’m back in the environs where I used to ride my bike and climb apple trees. The recording facility, Sky Muse Studios, is the brainchild of Ron Jones, a composer with a mind-boggling list of credits to his name. Continue reading “Sky Muse Studios: Rural America Meets Immersive Media”
Listen to Kent Bye’s latest Voices of VR podcast. It’s a smart, heart-felt interview with VR Playhouse co-founder Ian Forester on how the empathetic medium of VR may help us bridge the divides that were revealed to us so shockingly last night. Today’s one of those days when I feel that my words can only fall short. I can’t seem to organize my thoughts into … Continue reading Reality?
Last night UW’s CoMotion Labs threw open its doors and invited the public to see what we’re all working on in this VR/AR startup incubator, or, as I like to think of it, mad scientists’ clubhouse. The joint was packed to the gills with immersive tech folks, potential investors, and folks curious about the potential of virtual reality. I had illuminating conversations with Greg Howes, … Continue reading The Meaning and Promise of CoMotion Labs
One of Seattle’s most engaging advocates for virtual and augmented reality, Eva Hoerth, just posted this open-ended Q&A on Facebook, asking for feedback about building local VR/AR communities. I just filled out the questionaire myself, and thought I’d share my answers here.
What inspired you to go from enthusiast to community builder?
I went through grunge and the dotcom years and saw how creative economies emerge and bloom. Last spring when I attended my first VR meetup in Seattle, I felt the same way I used to feel in the mosh pits of the early nineties and on the customer service floor at Amazon–that something momentous and world-changing was just getting started. I’ve done community building projects in the past, and I’ve found that much of what motivates a scene like ours is expanding the sense of what’s possible, empowering the amateur enthusiasts to understand they have real influence over the direction of the industry, and cultivating a DIY attitude. I was inspired by the sheer diversity of people attracted to immersive media. Getting to rub shoulders with architects, computer scientists, musicians, game designers, filmmakers, and so many other fascinating sorts of people is massively appealing to me. Continue reading “Eva Hoerth Wants to Know About Your VR/AR Community”
In one week, barring some 2000-style electoral nightmare, we’ll wake up knowing who the next President of the United States will be. A significant portion of the electorate will not accept this reality. Chances are these will be the same people who believe our current president was born in Kenya and is a Muslim. We live in an age when it’s easier than ever to … Continue reading Our Reality Crisis