The popular tech news publication Engadget has announced the recipients of its first Alternate Realities grant program, who will have their work showcased at a public event in Los Angeles on November 14. This grant will fund five immersive art projects that “push the boundaries of storytelling and address the theme of alternate realities.”
This grant was announced back in May, and over 300 submissions were sent in. A selection committee helped to narrow the list down to just 20 projects, with editors of the publication choosing the final five winners.
Dance with flARmingos
Dance with flARmingos features a dance between flamingos and humans, offering a mixed reality experience that intends to build a closer relationship with the species that is threatened by climate change. Through the use of sensory play and technological embodiment, it is an exercise in going from a human-centered worldview to a more fluid position.
The team behind Dance with flARmingos include Kristin Lucas, an interdisciplinary artist, Regine Basha, an independent curator of contemporary art, Tommy Martinez, artist and technologist, Thomas Wester, an independent technical and creative director, and Ben Purdy, a creative technologist who focuses on hardware and software in interactive projects.
This project is a virtual reality thriller that is based on the story of Betty and Barney Hill’s UFO abduction. The two seek hypnosis to recover their memories, playing videos of the encounter at a dinner party. The work delves into the issues of race and perception in the 1960s in America.
Behind Dinner Party is Angel Soto who directs and supervises virtual reality content for RYOT News. Charlotte Stoudt is a member of the team; she works as a writer and producer for House of Cards. Saschka Unseld is a director and writing who co-founded animation studio Soi. Finally, Laura Wexler is an author, screenwriter, and producer who was selected for the Sundance Institute’s 2017 New Frontier Lab.
This piece is a cultural story that explores experiences, words, and gameplay as told through hip hop. The exhibit immerses the viewer in an alternate reality by combining different configurations of space and time. It uses mapping and language processing to show the geographies of hip hop lyrics.
This project is based on conceptual technology with inspiration from the explicit bias found in image search on Google and public image archives. The team uses facial recognition to display images similar to faces of audience members. It explores issues around inclusion and race, highlighting invisible biases.
Your Hands Are Feet
Your Hands Are Feet is a room-scale VR experience that puts users in strange realities with experiential metaphors that are accompanying the indie comedy “Egg.” The film is created by a Sundance-alumni team made up of entirely females.