When we started planning our VR conference, Versions, we had only a small inkling of the massively fascinating space we were getting into. We had an intriguing idea: to explore the creative possibilities behind a medium that's currently popularly celebrated for its technological capabilities and to take an interdisciplinary, inter-generational approach; we had a killer partner: Kill Screen, a video game arts and culture company; and we had inspiration from the NEW INC community, many of whom have been making varied and inspiring work in VR this year. Turns out those ingredients were a potent combination!
Taking it all in today, it's clear that we are just at the precipice of an exciting and deeply transformative new medium (a term that was heavily contested on our conference stage, but one that feels right given everything we've seen). Versions debuted at the New Museum on March 5 and 6, with a full day of panel presentations and an accompanying set of eight workshops. We brought together filmmakers, journalists, cultural critics, scientists, researchers and artists to explore the potential of Virtual Reality: What it is, where it's been, and where it's going.
But we didn’t want to limit this conversation to just those who were able to attend in person. We want this event to be a catalyst for a larger discussion that can help shape and define this emerging industry and the kinds of experiences were create in this new space. In this vein, we’ve collected materials from the event for your viewing pleasure. We hope that by reading and watching what came out of Versions, our community can take the next step in defining, together, the future of VR.
To start off, read through some great conference recaps:
- Five takeaways from Versions, the first festival on creativity and VR / Kill Screen
- Imagining the Possible Futures of Virtual Reality / Michael Blum for Hyperallergic
- Exclusive Interview with Douglas Trumbull: What if 2001 was in VR? / Sonia Epstein for Sloan Science & Film
- Virtual Reality: A New Perspective in Storytelling / Yangxingyue Wang for NEW INC
Saturday's conference brought us five panel discussions, five micro-presentations from NEW INC groups, and two chats with heavy hitters like Gene Dolgoff (inventor of the Holodeck) and Douglas Trumbull (SFX supervisor of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, and director of Brainstorm). Coming from different industries and perspectives—but all invested in the future of VR—our speakers presented a high-level discussion that tackled some of the creative challenges, technological limitations and philosophical complexities of this new communications technology. Click through the links below to watch video from each:
These five organizations (four of them from NEW INC!) presented their creative projects between panels on Saturday. Find out more about how they're exploring the creative potential of Virtual Reality.
Sunday was composted of a series of hands-on workshops. Industry experts came out to NEW INC to discover everything from new web-based VR tools, to 360 video capture, to game engine environments like Unity, to more cutting-edge techniques like spatial sound and room-scale VR experiences.
Reactions to the Conference
There were way too many of these amazing quotes for us to use here! Check out the hashtag #Ver01 to see more of the conversation and join in.
And last but not least — a HUGE shoutout to everyone who helped us! We couldn't have done it without you. Thanks to all of our brilliant speakers, to everyone who came out or contributed to the event, and, especially, to the NEW INC community for serving as an inspiration and a focus group for the conference and workshops.
And of course, thank you to our sponsors and partners:
We look forward to continuing this conversation online over the course of the upcoming year. See you at Versions 2.0!