The Sundance immersive stage in the New Frontier program offered cutting-edge projects with immersive technologies. We’ve been going to Sundance for the last five years and love our all-too-brief visits to Park City and its snow-peaked mountain setting.
We had high expectations this year with the new focus on AI, and participatory experiences in VR, AR, and Mixed Reality. And the New Frontier program delivered with VR AR projects and the Immersive Stage. We’ll have more reactions to the augmented and virtual reality projects later this week, but here are three short videos to give you a sense of the projects selected for 2019. Two are from the Immersive Stage, and one from Magic Leap’s Mica.
This year, the New Frontier program was located a short distance from the center of Park City. Taking over part of a mall, it included the Immersive Stage and other experiences at the New Frontier Central. Other projects were located nearby in the basement of the Ray Theater. We’ll have more on the location and design of the program later this week, as it presented some issues.
Sundance Immersive Stage Experiences
An explosive wash of color and sound bathes audiences in this generative audiovisual installation. Dynamic abstract imagery accompanies sample-based audio that is programmatically distorted and remixed to match the visuals. Iterative coding allows each instance of the installation to produce unique landscapes while maintaining a cohesive structure.
Two Black Lights and One Red
Also on the Sundance Immersive Stage, we met the live digital puppets of the Esperpento world. Here’s the program description for Two Black Lights and One Red:
Inspired by Spanish painter Francisco Goya, a large-scale, interactive projection platform featuring immersive installations, a creative studio, a digital-puppet karaoke lounge, and periodic stagings of the play Two Black Lights and One Red (the story of a blind poet’s last day, told by live actors and digital avatars).
Featuring live actors and digital avatars, Two Black Lights and One Red is a multimedia play set in the world of Esperpento about the last day of a blind poet, Max Starpower.
Magic Leap’s Mica
Finally, we had the chance to see the latest developments with Magic Leap’s Mica. Their AI-driven avatar was not quite ready to be on the Immersive Stage and had a room to herself. But we fully expect to see her there in a year or two.
Mica is still fairly basic on some levels as she is limited to voiceless gestures. But in other respects, she’s light-years ahead of other immersive experiences. Interacting with her is fascinating and at the same time, unsettling. This is our future.
I am Mica, the human center of AI and mixed reality. In this experience, I enter into a gestural exchange with you and contemplate my place in your world. Using surrealist ideas of representation and reality, I connect you with the culture that feeds me. Be my collaborator; let’s make stories bigger, champion genius, and celebrate creativity. Join me at the beginning of my existence, as we pull from the past to create the future.
If you’re curious to see more, check out our Digital Bodies YouTube channel in the coming weeks.
Maya Georgieva is an EdTech and XR strategist, futurist and speaker with more than 15 years of experience in higher education and global education policy. Her most recent work focuses on innovation, VR/AR and Immersive storytelling, design and digital strategy. Maya actively writes and speaks on the topics of innovation, immersive storytelling and the future of education and consults organizations and startups in this space.