I’d been curious about the LowlineLab, a project to turn a huge abandoned underground trolley terminal into a garden and stumbled upon GE’s “A Night of Possibility in a post on Medium.com. It turns out that GE had rented the LowlineLab space in order to showcase 6 VR films made by Here Be Dragons in partnership with Within, a VR app company. I signed up immediately to attend, also figuring I’d see plenty of people I know there having worked with GE as a client again and again over the course of my career.
The films were interesting, STEM in focus. My favorite was the one in which I floated in space, twisting my head to see Jupiter and looking down on asteroids. There was also a piece on the fastest car, balloons into space, the experience of a hovercraft, and, GE’s own, fighting fire with fire. I also loved seeing a robot, albeit the device will eventually take away low-paid warehouse jobs and leave those workers unemployed. It’s a very, very cute robot that someone on Twitter remarked looks like a dog that knows its in trouble.
I also enjoyed Ghetto Gastro’s floating cornbread and caviar appetizer (“Hoverboard”), smoking carrots (literally) (“Fighting Fire with Fire”), lava chicken on gold (“Listening to the Universe”), and salf-flat-looking meringue with rice sorbet (“Speed Machine”). (Love the names!)
The space itself was incredible and I was lucky to get a chat with one of the Lowline caretakers. She explained to me how sunlight is piped into the space, how you have to filter out red spectrum light but then bring it back in or plants won’t flower, how the heat had gone off in the space, nearly killing the plants. (We public people can tour the place without any exhibit on weekends).
My one piece of feedback for the VR movies I’ve seen would be how can we involve the viewer more in the told story? Right now most VR pieces I see are really still flat films in 3D–meaning nothing to explore. Just watch. Why be VR if it is more just watching?
I attended the Future of Story Telling October 7-9 (2016) in NYC at 5th Avenue and 110th Street, in a building across from the farthest northeastern edge of Central Park. It was impossible nearly to get to see many of the interactive exhibits, but I finally did get to fly over Hong Kong with Birdly and fly with other “birds” in Flock. I did not see everything (badly wanted to play Ubisoft’s Star Trek) as there just was too long a wait so I’m not coming at this feedback with a lot of intelligence (in the sense of having collected intelligent info). But I did wish that the stories told in the movies could somehow merge with the experiences. Did not get a chance to watch the films that had select-able story lines, but my hunch is this is no different. Yikes–Westworld, right?
I’m looking for being able to go up and talk to characters, to be part of the story. According to Westworld there could be dark possibilities. I had just been on Twitter and saw how time after time, a quick tweet devolves into idiocy (check out the comments on this POTUS tweet, seems to me perfectly nice bunch of people busy misunderstanding each other.) Still, that sort of dynamic-feeling narrative as shown in Westworld or even Caprica (although Caprica is more AI) would be very interesting.
Overall, very interesting, but not yet totally blown away.