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October 5, 2017

What to expect from the Engadget Experience, our immersive art + tech event

by John_A

New mediums like augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are pushing the boundaries of art, entertainment, gaming and performance — but immersive media isn’t always accessible. For one day only, we invite you to experience what happens at the outer limits of creativity.

The first Engadget Experience is set to bring together some of the brightest minds in technology, art and entertainment next month, and we want you to be there. The agenda is nearly complete, and we’re proud to say it’s going to be a killer show.

When we first birthed this brain baby, we didn’t know what it would look like. What we did know is we wanted to create a space for conversation between the people building new technologies like AR, VR and AI and the people leveraging those technologies to reshape the way that we tell stories. The Engadget Experience is that space.

But just talking about the amazing things people are doing with immersive media wasn’t enough. We wanted to do our part to bring those ideas to life. So we put together a $500,000 grant program and funded five immersive experiences spanning AR, VR and AI. The prizewinners had to do two things: address the theme of alternate realities and complete their projects in four months.

Your Hands Are Feet (Amelia Winger-Bearskin and Sarah Rothberg), Untrained Eyes (Glenn Kaino and Jesse Williams), Mapper’s Delight (Tahir Hemphill, David A.M. Goldberg and Nick Fox-Gieg), Dinner Party (Laura Wexler, Angel Soto, Charlotte Stoudt and Saschka Unseld) and Dance With flARmingos (Kristin Lucas, Regine Basha, Tommy Martinez, Thomas Wester and Ben Purdy) will all premiere at the Ace Hotel Theatre in downtown LA on November 14th. The artists will also appear on stage along with a series of short documentaries that follow the prizewinners as they produce their projects.

Attendees will get the chance to experience these projects firsthand and get a glimpse at the unique challenges of working in as-yet-unestablished media. In addition to the exhibition, a series of talks, panels and conversations will shed light on the future of entertainment, art, gaming, even social media. Our special guests include “the godmother of virtual reality,” Nonny de la Peña; co-founder of Oculus Story Studio and CEO of Penrose Studios Eugene Chung; and executive creative director of The Mill, Rama Allen. They’ll join thought leaders from RSA, UCLA, Technicolor and Sundance to discuss topics ranging from identity and representation in virtual worlds to VR’s still-undecided killer application.

You can get your tickets to the Engadget Experience right now at our website for the Early Adopter rate of $125. That gets you one day’s admission to be front and center at the Ace Theatre for in-depth interviews and screenings from today’s creative pioneers and experience immersive AR/VR art installations. During lunch and at our closing cocktail reception, you’ll get to expand your network and meet leading creators and technologists who are making waves in this emerging space. Full-time and recently graduated students can apply for our reduced-rate tickets here.

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The Engadget Experience
AGENDA
_____________________
Tuesday November 14

9:00 AM
DOORS OPEN

10:00 – 10:08 AM
Opening Remarks: Christopher Trout, Engadget Editor-in-Chief, and Dana Wollman, Engadget Executive Editor

10:10 – 10:30 AM
Talk: A New Lexicon for Virtual Reality with Eugene Chung (Penrose)
Just as the entertainment industry needed a new lexicon in the early days of film and opera, creators of virtual and augmented reality face the same challenge. Each new medium requires its own specific terminology, and there’s a “new language” coming into place for AR and VR. Penrose Studios founders, Oculus Story Studio co-founder and Pixar alum, Eugene Chung talks about how we talk about virtual worlds.

10:30 – 11:00 AM
Artist Spotlight: Untrained Eyes documentary screener and presentation by Glenn Kaino and Jesse Williams
Untrained Eyes is a conceptual technology project that takes its inspiration from observing the explicit bias that can be found during everyday image searches within Google and other public-image archives. Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) and long-time collaborator and internationally renowned artists Glenn Kaino use artificial intelligence to hold up a mirror to programming bias.

11:00 – 11:30 AM
Panel: Identity and Representation in the “Empathy Machine” with Gina Kim (UCLA), Nicole McDonald (HELO)
Panelists will discuss the idea of virtual reality as the ultimate “empathy machine,” and how science and storytelling combine to allow viewers to experience the world through the eyes of another.

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Artist Spotlight: Mapper’s Delight documentary screener and presentation by Tahir Hemphill
Mapper’s Delight is a cultural tale representing worlds, experiences and gameplay told through the most-listened-to musical genre on the planet. The Datanauts of Mapper’s Delight use sight, sound and touch to investigate the global distances traveled by the lyrics contained in each rap artist’s career while exploring the secret flows of hip-hop’s spacetime through a panoptic interface.

12:00 – 1:00 PM
LUNCH

1:00 – 1:30 PM
Talk: Manufactured Hallucinations: Virtual Dreams & Emotional Machines by Rama Allen
Rama is going to get weird. He’ll discuss translating dreams and hallucinations into shared digital experiences; virtual worlds that respond to feelings; and the bright, odd, shiny future for technologically enabled artists. Mostly just hallucinations, though.

1:30 – 2:00 PM
Artist Spotlight: Dance with flARmingos documentary screener and presentation by Kristin Lucas
Dance with flARmingos is a mixed reality experience that features an interspecies dance between humans and flamingos, and pays homage to the flamingo — a consummate showman and embattled victim of environmental neglect — by staging kinship from an ethical distance. Digital art pioneer Kristin Lucas and her team use augmented reality to transport you to a flamingo dance party.

2:00 – 2:30 PM
Panel: The Big Picture With Marcie Jastrow (Technicolor Experience Center), Jen Dennis (RSA VR), and Ruthie Doyle (Sundance)
With VR and AR still in their infancy, we’ve yet to see what the media killer applications will be. With filmmaking, art, gaming, enterprise and social media pushing to come out ahead, what will the future of AR and VR look like?

2:30 – 3:00 PM
BREAK

3:00 – 3:30 PM
Artist Spotlight: Dinner Party documentary screener and presentation by Laura Wexler, Angel Soto, Saschka Unseld and Charlotte Stoudt
Dinner Party is a virtual-reality thriller based on the true story of the Betty and Barney Hill UFO-abduction incident, the first nationally known UFO abduction in American history. After an inexplicable nighttime encounter, the Hills, an interracial couple living in 1960s America, sought hypnosis to recover memories of what they experienced. Literary journalist Laura Wexler, Angel Soto (RYOT), Saschka Unseld (Pixar, Oculus Story Studio) and Charlotte Stoudt (Homeland) transport you to another world via virtual reality.

3:30 – 4:00 PM
Artist Spotlight: Your Hands Are Feet documentary screener and presentation by Amelia Winger-Bearskin and Sarah Rothberg
Your Hands Are Feet is an interactive room-scale VR experience that places you in surreal realities made up of experiential metaphors. You start out in a kitchen with a carton of six eggs, which can be picked up and thrown or cracked on the countertop. Each egg acts as a portal to a new experience; the room is transformed into a surreal landscape, presenting a reality where your head can be in the clouds, the whole world can crumble around you, you can be all thumbs, or have two left feet (but really, though).

4:00 – 4:30 PM
Panel: The Social Medium by Boo Wong (The Mill), Adam Arrigo (The Wave VR)
Virtual Reality has often been criticized for its predisposition to isolating users. We’ll explore how artists and technologists are working to make VR a social medium in amusement parks, music and sports.

4:30 – 5:00 PM
In Conversation: TBA

5:00 – 5:30 PM
In conversation: Nonny de la Peña
Engadget senior editor Devindra Hardawar will sit down with the “godmother of virtual reality” to talk about the early days of virtual reality, the new VR gold rush and her work as a trailblazer in immersive storytelling.

5:30 – 7:30 PM
Closing Reception
Attendees will mingle with artists, speakers and panelists and explore the Alternate Realities prizewinning projects.

Source: The Engadget Experience

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