Luis Blackaller (chair), WeVR
Samantha Gorman, Tender Claws
Kate Parsons, FLOAT
Tonia Beglari, Browntourage and Downtown Browns
Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz, RUST Ltd

This roundtable of scholar-practitioners will share some of the design discoveries they’ve made while exploring the expressive affordances of virtual reality, and will discuss how their artistic explorations have functioned in relation to their individual, ongoing research practices.

When working in new mediums like VR, scholars often seek to establish unifying vocabularies by beginning with general questions: What is ‘virtual reality’? What can VR do? In contrast, designers and artists often begin by making things, and thus by employing technical knowledge to better understand the creative potentials of different variations on a platform. This panel will seek to bridge the gap between scholarly and design-oriented research procedures, and will model how groups of scholar-practitioners can study subspecies of, and divergences within, different modes and contexts of media making — how they can obtain local knowledges about mobile VR, 360-degree cinema, room-scale VR, art installations, and so on, and connect these local knowledges to the ever-growing and ever-virtual realm of scholarship. In this way, the panelists hope to share their own personal vocabularies about virtual reality, with one another and the audience, in the hopes of better joining those vocabularies, sharing and comparing their insights, and drawing some real conclusions from their virtual design practices as a method of design education.

The panel will be chaired by Luis Blackaller (Creative Director, WeVR), who will discuss his design process behind VR projects at WeVR, including a recent collaboration with Reggie Watts called “Waves”. Samantha Gorman (Co-Founder, Tender Claws) will present the design research she’s done in her recent Google-commissioned Daydream VR project, “Virtual, Virtual Reality”, which uses game mechanics and digital authoring techniques to take the “player” through designed worlds that reflect on our culture’s sci-fi tropes as well as the medium of Virtual Reality itself. Kate Parsons (Co-Founder, FLOAT) will share her experiences creating “3VR”, a recent gallery installation that combines video and VR, which has led her iteration-driven design explorations of interaction, embodiment, mobility, and realism. Tonia Beglari (Co-Founder, Browntourage and Downtown Browns) will discuss her design thinking directing interactive visual music experience as a Sony VR Summer Associate and producing speculative nonlinear work with performance artists attempting to use VR to deconstruct and imagine. Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz (COO, RUST LTD.) will talk about the public design explorations that led to his company’s recent HTC Vive game, “Hot Dogs, Horseshoes, and Hand Grenades”, and will share how these open-ended design experiments not only produced a published game, but also directly led to the authoring of a toolset for creating other experimental and expressive VR experiences.

Virtual Virtual Reality for Google Daydream by Tender Claws
Waves with Weggie Watts, WeVR
Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades by RUST Ltd.