We invite you, the artists, creators, builders, and developers of all kinds – multi-media magicians, creative technologists, innovative visionaries – to join us in the creation of a truly unique and immersive art piece.
First Session Competition
Use your imagination, experience and knowledge to conjure up a ambitious immersive art concept for the theme “Memories of the Future” with the musical score created by world-renowned composer Esa-Pekka Salonen and story challenge by award-winning musical artist and dramaturge Paula Vesala.
The deadline for entries closed on April 23rd, finalists will be invited to pitch at First Session, May 29th-31st 2019 in Helsinki.
Create possibilities, break boundaries, envisage the unimaginable.
Propose a creative, immersive concept to be the Finnish National Opera & Ballet’s new art piece. The working title is ‘Memories of Future’. Your concept should capture the theme, connect or complement the supplied musical score by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and embrace the story fragments by Paula Vesala. It can utilise any immersive technologies and techniques you (and your team) envisage.
Your proposed concept should embrace the spirit of performing arts, music, and most importantly opera and ballet. It can be a work in progress. It is recommended to build a team to be able to fulfill the project.
You’ll find the entry form here. For more information please see the Terms and FAQ.
The deadline for entries closed on April 23rd at 23:59 (EET).
by Esa-Pekka Salonen
by Paula Vesala
Evolve your idea with mentors and jury
3 step process
Step 1. Feb – April
Design a concept for an original immersive art work and submit your proposal via the application form. You’ll briefly describe the design for the piece, give a simple overview of the tools, technology and materials used to create it, and how you intend the audience to experience it.
You’ll find the entry form here.
Step 2. May
The Opera Beyond judging panel will announce the shortlist, and the finalists’ profiles will feature on the website.
We have a team of specialist advisors ready to assist you with feedback, and how to develop your art concept to best fit the brief and creative elements set by the Finnish National Opera and Ballet – in preparation for the First Session.
Step 3. May
Finalists will be invited to the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki for an intensive two-and-a-half-day event of idea conceptualisation and finalisation.
You will have a chance to expand and refine your idea through mentoring sessions in fields of technology, storytelling, production, and musical score; and you can elucidate a more detailed design. The event culminates with a live pitch of your immersive art piece on stage at the First Session conference, Finnish National Opera, May 31st 2019.
The concept must
- Have a response to the given musical score and story fragment
- Create an immersive experience (using new technology/techniques)
- Be physically mobile and/or possible to disassemble and reassemble (to go on tour)
- Be a maximum length of 15 minutes, or on a loop (if it is linear time-based)
The concept should
- Work as a standalone piece – it should not rely on live performance
- Allow for a level of audience interaction
- Embrace the spirit of live performance, music, and the stage arts
- Include wide audience accessibility (physical accessibility considered)
The concept could
- Have a presence outside the immediate art piece (eg. online)
- Be able to scale up and down depending on the physical space
- Overview. Teams may submit their Entry for an immersive art piece competition to be produced by Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FNOB) in collaboration with the winning Team. FNOB will judge all eligible Entries and select finalist to participate to First Session event, where the winning concept is selected. The teams participating in the competition need to agree to the terms below.
- Time period. The Submission period ends on April 23rd, 2019 at 23:59 (EET) and the Teams are notified on the outcome. Selected teams are invited to participate in First Session in Helsinki, Finland, May 29th – 31st, 2019. The actual production of the work has to be finished during the year 2020.
- Entry Eligibility. An Entry will be eligible if it is: a. completed in its entirety in accordance with the applicable instructions (e.g. Admission criteria), b. submitted during the Submission period, c. in the English language, d. the applicants original work (The team must have permission and rights to all Third Party content, which can be granted to FNOB), and e. the concept can’t be a pre-existing, published, or publicly exhibited unless a distinction can be made by amendments and tailoring to fit the brief.
- Entry Ownership. As between Team and FNOB, the Team shall own all right, title, and interest in and to all Entry content submitted by Team. FNOB takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any Entry content submitted by you or any a third party.
- Prizes. The main price of the competition is a 75.000€ production contract with FNOB to implement and publish your concept. Another 10.000€ of Prize money will be allocated among teams that have made valuable contributions at First Session. Teams who accept the prize will be responsible for all applicable taxes related to that prize.
- Admission Criteria. All Entries will be judged by jury seleted by the FNOB. Eligible Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:
1. Concept criteria
– Immersion (Would the audience be captivated and enthralled?)
– Creativity (Novelty in the field of arts)
– Innovation (Does it utilize a technology or a media in an interesting way?)
– Use of technology (Does the technology add value to the art piece?)
– Feasibility (Can it be done? Taking into consideration: size, method, cost, time, technology.)
– Mobility (Can it be moved or broken down?)
– Scalability (Can it be scaled up and down according to physical space?)
2. Team criteria
– Experience (Do they have appropriate experience for the project)
– Appropriate expertise (Is the team’s experience appropriate to the particular concept?)
– Complete team (Does the team knowledge range all aspects of the concept?)
- Principal Production
FNOB will own all the rights of the winning concept after the Team has signed the production contract, but in cases of e.g. earlier developed technology IPRs are negotiable. The FNOB retains rights to final artistic decisions in the project.
Something left unsaid?
Please see FAQ for further questions.
Sheree Spencer finds creative balance as a Producer, Performing Artist and Director with a strong passion for interdisciplinary art expression. Born in Toronto of Barbadian heritage, Sheree graduated from McGill University in 2012 with a major in Music and Double Minor in Drama Performance and Environmental Science and MA in Cultural Diplomacy & International Events from the University of the West of Scotland & Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. Notable performing credits as a Musician/Singer and Actress include the 2015 Pan Am Closing Ceremonies, Persephone (Fringe 2016 with Pencil Kit Productions), Apocalypsis (2015 Luminato Festival), Jesus Christ Superstar (Hart House Toronto) and American Gods (2018).
As a Producer, Sheree was selected as the 2016 TD Emerging Producer for the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival and also worked internationally with the Holland Festival in 2017 and 2018. Sheree has also worked with the Luminato Festival Toronto as the Associate Producer of the Artist in Residency Program. Upon returning to Toronto, Sheree was selected for the Metcalf Foundation Grant in 2020 and worked alongside Jamie Martino at Tapestry Opera in an Executive Management capacity.
As a Director, Sheree's credits include Assisting Director for Gould’s Wall with Tapestry Opera (Toronto) during the summer of 2022 and she is currently directing the opera Plaything produced by Montreal's, Musique 3 Femme which will be making its European premiere in Berlin in Sept 2022 and Canadian premiere in Montreal in Nov 2022.
As a futures researcher, Monika Bielskyte has been on a decade-long nomadic journey engaging with future emergence in 90+ countries. As a futurist, Monika consults at the future intersection of technology, culture & politics. As a world designer, she explores the bleeding edges of Science Fiction universes, having been commissioned by major film productions and studios.
Monika’s past clients include Universal, Google, Nike, DreamWorks, World Economic Forum, BBC, Microsoft, Mexico City, McKinsey, Anonymous Content, Reliance JIO, Telefonica, MTN, Huawei, TATA, among others.
Monika is currently developing @protopiafutures, a platform for research & creative collaborations challenging & offering alternatives to dystopian/utopian stereotypes. Protopia prototypes visions of radically hopeful & inclusive futures shaped by the urgent need for expanded futures literacy, & to combat the rise of disinformation in the coming age of the increasingly immersive media.
Transformation Manager, Royal Opera House
Sophie Thomson is the Transformation Manager at the Royal Opera House, forever walking the (sometimes literal) tightrope between the Arts and Technology!
Her current role is to lead transformational technology activities across the organisation. Working to scope & deliver projects and solutions on the transformation strategy, providing much needed innovation to the business across our customer experience, enterprise applications, back of house operations and infrastructure. Also looking to the future to assess emerging technologies and understand how we can develop our ways of working as a world leading opera and ballet organisation.
Before joining the Opera House, Sophie had a successful career in engineering leaving as the Innovation Projects Manager for Thales UK. With Thales, areas of interest included emerging technologies such as immersive technologies, autonomous systems and blockchain.
Michael Hidetoshi Mori
Michael Hidetoshi Mori is a Toronto-based leader in dynamic socially and artistically progressive opera and music theatre, an award-winning Canadian/American stage and film director, the General Director of Tapestry Opera in Toronto, and the Chair of the Board of the Association for Opera in Canada.
Michael’s work at Tapestry Opera in Toronto regularly intersects with and draws inspiration from non-classical influences. Collaborations with punk rock, wearable-tech, enhanced realities, as well as with diverse international music traditions, make the works that Mori produces and directs, unique in North America. These productions often play in the crossroads between culturally resonant themes and unexpected spectacle.
Recently, Michael helmed the world premiere of composer Nicole Lizée and playwright Nicolas Billon’s reinvention of Čapek’s RUR, titled RUR a torrent of light, which currently leads Canada as the most award-nominated opera of 2021-2022. The robot inspired production featured integrated wearable tech alongside a theme that directly addresses the coming ethical crises and opportunities of machines evolving into their own consciousness.
Benjamin de Wit
Benjamin de Wit is co-founder and Festival Director of VRDays Foundation and VRDays Europe’s Immersive Tech Week, Rotterdam (since 2015). He worked in theater and digital media before founding the VRDays Europe Immersive Tech Week event on the development of immersive technologies in business, science and the arts. With conferences, a trade show and a funding market, VRDays Europe Immersive Tech Week aims to unite the global XR and metaverse community, to inspire creative minds and to drive business forward.
Ian William Galloway
Ian is a video designer and director working with all forms of video and projection for live performance.
As a theatre designer, he has created productions in the West End and on Broadway, for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre Wales among others. In opera, he has designed for the English National Opera, Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala (Milan), the Mariinsky Theatre (St. Petersburg), Opera de Lyon, Scottish Opera, Bremer Oper and The Opera Group.
He works extensively in immersive and interactive productions, mixed media, virtual and online production and large-scale public events with Secret Cinema, at Disneyland and for Manchester International Festival.
He is a creative director of Mesmer, a creative technology studio whose clients have included Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, the V&A museum and many others.
Ian is part of the group adding interactive technology to the FNOB's upcoming CircOpera 2.0 production. There will be a demo of the interactive Violet diva in the Almi foyer Demo & Exhibition area.
Artistic Director of Helsinki Festival
From festivals to startups, Marko Ahtisaari works at the intersection of technology, design, art and philosophy. He is currently Artistic Director of Helsinki Festival and serves on the board of directors of CMI - Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation. Marko also plays in the band Construction.
Previously Ahtisaari was CEO and co-founder of The Sync Project (acquired by Bose) and a Director's Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. From 2009 to 2013 he was head of product design at Nokia, responsible for hardware, user experience and packaging design.
Earlier Marko was CEO and Co-founder of Dopplr (acquired by Nokia) and part of the team at Blyk, the free ad-funded mobile network. Marko has held board positions in Artek and F-Secure, and has served on the jury of the Prix Ars Electronica and the DA&D Awards.
Born in Finland, Ahtisaari grew up on three continents, in Helsinki, Dar es Salaam and New York. He studied philosophy, economics and music at Columbia University, where he became a lecturer and Fellow of the Faculty in the Department of Philosophy and first met the Internet.
Gillian Bowen is an award-winning modern and contemporary dancer based in NYC. She founded ‘Dear Dancer,’ a virtual dance company bringing web3 to the dancer community to move it beyond its current limitations. From decentralizing the dated structures of dance companies to leveraging new motion capture and animation technologies, ‘Dear Dancer,’ aims to bring dynamic, flexible, and collaborative models of distributed creation and ownership to the dancer community.
She studied with the Martha Graham School in NYC and is a certified trainer of the Graham technique. She performed with notable choreographers and companies, including The Houston Grand Opera, Andre Bossov, the Dance Open in St. Petersburg, Sidra Bell, and Marc Jacobs, and is focusing on exploring new possibilities and intersections of dance and technology.
The Planets – an inter-galactic soundwalk in 3D audio
Experience the famous orchestral suite “The Planets” by Gustav Holst, played by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton by Krzysztof Urbański, as an interactive 3D audio walk in a park near you, increasingly all around the world. All you need is a smartphone and headphones.
In seven parts, the seven planets Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are characterized musically. In our app you can find these planets distributed in the park and visit them. Immerse yourself in an intense musical experience of the planets. You can freely move around and explore the immersive sound field of the orchestra.
Get on a shuttle that will take you through space. You navigate it with your feet, walking.
Play an auditory treasure hunt that takes you from planet to planet via binaural 3D audio. Listen to the direction from which you hear speech and music and find your destination.
Float on the music, through space, in the park near you.
Besides the localisation in the Kaivopuisto park in Helsinki, a special localisation has been made in Hesperianpuisto park, right next to the Opera house.
"The Planets" is a production by Sofilab.art and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, supported by the Film and Television Fund FFF Bavaria.
Mathis Nitschke (dramaturgy, sound design, mix) will be present in the Demo & Exhibition area to tell you more about the Planets project.
Read more about the project: The Planets Website
Download it on Apple App Store here.
Download it on Google Play Store here.
Cristina is an educationalist who has studied the future of work and leadership. She sees learning for professional foresight as one of the key parts of lifelong learning. She strongly believes that one must understand technology and emerging technologies to understand what one should learn to become futureproof.
In 2012 Cristina co-authored the book “BohoBusiness - Victory of man over machine” (Talentum), that describes the future of work empowered by technology. Since then, she has worked with societal and work-related topics of AI, Robotics, and Quantum Technologies.
“I am inspired by arts, and especially music”, says Cristina, who is a great fan of opera and especially Wagner.
Designer, Sound artist, Futurist
Antinranta is a multidisciplinary designer, sound artist, and futurist. She explores art as a method for designing more humane technology-driven services. For the past twenty years, Antinranta has worked as a designer both in-house and in consultancies and founded companies of her own. Her versatile design portfolio includes concept designs for everything from mobile phone apps to physical experiences. In her sonic works, she draws inspiration from emerging technologies and experiments with biodata from plants and humans, and electromagnetic radiations from robots and household machines.
Antinranta works as a principal designer and futurist at Futurice, a digital consulting agency. She is a founder and CEO of New Narratives oy – a creative agency and production company specializing in media art, audio and music production. A co-founder of the award-winning Tulevaisuuspäivä, aimed at bringing future literacy to everyone’s toolkit. A co-developer of the award-nominated Intelligence Augmentation Design Toolkit for demystifying machine learning. And she is a driving force behind the award-nominated future vision futureofretail.io exploring how we live and consume in 2030. Her Artist projects include composing music under the name Antinranta, and sound experiments in Lingua Plantae project.
Photo credit: Katriina Haikala
"While working on the sustainable development roadmap of the Opéra National de Paris, I realized that cultural institutions in the broadest sense of the word are now taking responsibility for mitigating their negative impact. However, I think that all cultural institutions have a "super power" that is still very little exploited: I'm talking about their power to influence society towards a new paradigm, through dreams, pleasure, entertainment and emulation! Culture must seize this opportunity to assert its essential role as an influencer in society and make the ecological transition irresistible."
Valentina will be one of the panelists in the Green is the Only Color panel on Wednesday, together with Anne Puolanne (Ekosetti/APFI), Urs Dierker (Circular Costume Design) and Edilia Gänz (FEDORA).
Photo credit: Claudia Guido
"Currently I'm inspired how I'm able to work within an industry that has a huge platform. Film and TV has the ability to talk about the hard topics in the most innovative way and really make a positive difference in the world – we should seize the opportunity! We reach our audience daily, but it's still not that common for people to know the details of production culture and what's the true prize of making news and hit shows. We should push for sustainable future both in front of and behind the camera."
Anne Puolanne works as a Sustainability Manager in Audiovisual Producers Finland APFI, leading the way for the Finnish film and TV industry to become more sustainable in all levels from practice to policies. Since the early 2010’s Anne has worked as a TV freelancer in addition to being one of the pioneers to bring up the green topic in Finland. She is the co-author of the nation's first sustainability guidebook “Ekosetti – A Guidebook to Sustainable Audiovisual Production in Finland” (2019). Anne holds a BA in Media & Arts (2012) and a BSc in Natural Resources (2020).
Johanna Kaprio-Papageorgiou is a Senior Communications Specialist at the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office, where she works in the Finland Forward project that seeks to strengthen psychological resilience in the society during crisis. In the Finland Forward project she has been leading creative communications projects such as the virtual Museum of Contemporary Emotions, that combines science and art in recording the feelings experienced during the pandemic in Finland.
She has previously worked in international relations and EU policy communications roles e.g. as the Head of Content for Finland’s Presidency of the EU Council at the Prime Minister’s Office, and for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Dr. Mika Aaltola is the Director of FIIA. He is also a tenured professor of International Relations and European Union Affairs at Tallinn University (part-time), Estonia, and holds the rank of docent at Tampere University. He has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, Sciences Po (CERI), and Johns Hopkins as well as a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota. His areas of expertise include the U.S. global role, dynamics of major power politics, democratic vulnerability, pandemic security, and Finnish foreign policy. His published peer reviewed monographs include research on Finnish foreign policy (Tampere University Press, 2003), on the cultural foundations of the U.S. foreign and security policy (Brill, 2008), on ethics and humanitarianism as geopolitical practices (2008, Palgrave), on pandemic security (Routledge 2012), on the power politics of U.S. global infrastructure (Palgrave 2014, Routledge 2016, co-authored). His latest published monograph is Democratic Vulnerability and Autocratic Meddling – The ‘Thucydidean Brink’ in Regressive Geopolitical Competition (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2021).
He has also published a monograph on Finnish foreign policy after Crimea (Docendo 2019) as well as an edited volume together with Mikael Wigell and Sören Scholvin (Geo-economics and Power Politics in the 21st Century: The Revival of Economic Statecraft, Routledge, 2018). He defended his doctoral degree at Tampere University in 1999 (“The Rhythm, Exception, and Rule in International Relations: The Case of Mad Cow Disease”) and received his MA degree at Tampere University (1994), and BA degree at Columbia University (1992).
Deputy Minister for Eurointegration at the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine
Valeriya Ionan is the Deputy Minister for Eurointegration at the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, in charge of the digital literacy national program, development and growth of SME, new digital professions, online children protection, eurointegration and digital transformation of regions.
Valeria and her team have launched Diia.Digital Education as a national project. It consists of two components. The first one is an online component. It’s the national platform for digital education. The educational process is presented in the form of educational series. More than 1 million Ukrainians have already started to get digital skills on the platform.
The second one is an offline component represented by digital education hubs all over Ukraine. There are places where every citizen could come to and get free access to the online platform. Valeria’s team has already built a network of more than 6000 such digital education hubs.
Also, Valeriya’s team has launched Diia.Business as a national project, aimed at helping entrepreneurs, also consisting of two components. An online component is represented by a national platform for entrepreneurs. There are free online consultations for entrepreneurs on different aspects (taxes, sales, marketing, HR), free online courses for entrepreneurs, columns from the market leaders, and a lot of other useful services. An offline component is represented by entrepreneurship support centers all over Ukraine.
Before working in the Ukrainian government, Valeriya was an entrepreneur. She launched Quadrate 28 specializing on teams on outsource for SME, that has 250+ clients worldwide. Also, she launched MC Today, the first online-magazine for entrepreneurs.
She's got certificates from the MBA program at Edinburgh Business School Eastern Europe in Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Negotiations. Valeriya speaks Ukrainian, Russian, English and Spanish and is learning Chinese.
Research has noted the positive impact of culture on older adults’ health & wellbeing. As cultural organisations strive to engage broader audiences through digitalisation, the impact of such digital cultural experiences on the ageing society is not yet well understood.
HomeOpera-project aims to develop and test concepts for bringing cultural experiences (e.g. going to the opera) to older adults’ homes through new technologies in a way that enables social interaction and a feeling of community.
The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the EU’s COVID-19 recovery actions. The project is conducted by Haaga-Helia UAS’ Service Experience Laboratory LAB8 between 09/2021-08/2023. Follow the project here.
Inside the Quartet
What would it be like to play in a string quartet? How do the four top musicians of the Kamus Quartet communicate with each other within milliseconds mid-music; with glances, whispers, are bows lashing, or is the connection between the musicians perhaps telepathic?
Inside the Quartet allows the audience to experience music from the point of view of a Kamus Quartet player of their choice. Viewed via VR-headsets, the experience features the first two movements of Jean Sibelius’s Voces Intimae, performed by Kamus at the composer’s home Ainola where the work was filmed in summer 2020. An interdisciplinary team from Aalto University has been responsible for the technical implementation of the work.
“Inside the Quartet was driven by a desire to try out VR-technology as a new form of encounter between a string quartet and its audience,” says Kamus. “Playing in a string quartet is an art that requires seamless and wordless collaboration, and there are many enticing elements in the intersection between this line-up that emerged hundreds of years ago and the latest technology of today,” Kamus continues. The chosen technique allows the idea of the quartet to be conveyed. “Inside the Quartet is a study of musical intimacy and communication. It, therefore, translates naturally to virtual reality with a brand new way of expression,” says Sebastian J. Schlecht, project manager of Aalto University's team and Professor of Practice from Aalto Acoustics Lab.
“Kamus wholeheartedly wants to promote cooperation between experts in various fields, which this time the quartet got to do with the wonderful and open-minded top-of-the-notch team from Aalto University. We threw ourselves to the unknown with joy”, Kamus comments on the cooperation with the top university and a new media format. “The virtual scenery, both visually and sonically, is captured with precise technology to bring the spectator directly into the musical circle. For this, the capture combines 360 video and audio live recordings with acoustic and photographic reconstructions of the space. In particular, we are excited to explore the interaction between music and space in such an intimate and close setting”, Schlecht explains on the implementation of the work. “We hope to share the rare opportunity to see the language of music at work and give insight into this art form”, he continues.
The work is presented to the public as an installation consisting of four VR-headsets, modeled after a string quartet composition. Each of the headsets are individually running the experience, making it available for 1-4 experiencers at a time.
The work will be available for conference visitors to experience on Tuesday only.
Extended and virtual reality are paramount in finding new collaboration methods in production design. To improve both communication and production efficiency, a model for simulating artistic designs is developed through networking, shared experiences, and learning together.
By enabling the simulation of artistic designs in a virtual world, the tool will enhance the efficiency of production work and improve communication between the various stakeholders such as directors, set designers, lighting designers and producers. For shared productions, any preliminary sketches can be simulated in their intended surroundings to streamline design and planning. Instead of sending CAD images, simulation allows people to step into virtual reality and walk together on the stage.
The XR Stage Design Platform is being developed in open cooperation with Finnish and international operators in the industry.
Second Theatre is a Helsinki-based start-up that records theatre plays for viewing with VR goggles. Our aim is to solve theatre’s accessibility problems, and to create new audiences. In the future, Second Theatre will be the Netflix of theatre in the Metaverse.
Our idea is not to replace theatre, but create a "second theatre" that is virtual. It will bring theatre to those who missed ticket sales and those who can't go because of their hectic life, health, age, distance or climate reasons.
We want to make theatre more popular. It's a three-thousand-year-young art form that's not going anywhere even when we all will live as avatars in a metaverse. Our team consists of theatre professionals, developers and VR-recording experts.
Aarni Tuomi, Ph.D., is a social scientist working at the intersection of emerging technology, experience design and service business. He works as Senior Lecturer at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland, where he leads two R&D projects: “AlgoAmmatti", which explores the notions of algorithmic management, algoactivism and professional growth on digital labour platforms, and “HomeOpera", which aims to develop new extended reality concepts for the elderly to enjoy holistic and social cultural experiences at home. He’s enthusiastic about building human-centered technology, and drawing on his previous work on human-robot interaction and AI ethics, he’s keen to better understand how technology can enhance and enable rather than reduce the human touch.
”I am interested in invisible norms, in silences and in how the art and cultural field can be made inclusive for all.”
Rita Paqvalén, PhD, has been working as the Executive Director of Culture for All Service since 2012, where she has led many projects such as Avaus - Opening. Becoming an agent in the field of arts and culture in Finland (2017–2020), Multilingualism and diversity as a resource in the cultural field – employment and integration through literature in the Nordic Countries (2016–2018), Finland 100 - In rainbow colours (2016–2018) and Queering the Museums (2012–2014). She is currently coordinating the Nordic Norm Critical Leadership Network in collaboration with her Danish collegue Amalie Ørum Hansen.
Paqvalén holds a PhD in Nordic literature and she has previously worked eg. as a critic, a university lecturer and researcher, and as a project coordinator for European Cultural Capital Turku2011. She was also a founding member of the lbtiq culture festival The Nights and Days of the Tribades and was part of the festival team during its existence 2000–2009. She has published several books and articles on queering cultural heritage, Nordic literature, theater, cultural history, multilingualism, women’s cultural history, and on feminism. Paqvalén's latest book Queera minnen. Om tystnad, längtan och motstånd appeared in 2021 (Schildts & Söderströms).
“It feels like digital technology is at such an interesting and pivotal moment right now. The experience of the last few years has accelerated everybody’s views towards remote working and visualisation technologies, which is fantastic for sustainability, timesaving, and cost-saving. I’m interested in where we go next; how we can use this data and these digital assets as a sandbox for creativity. We have millimetre-accurate photorealistic digital twins of some of the most iconic performance spaces around the world and the technology to be able to virtually realise full-scale productions that push creative boundaries and reach a global audience is right on the cusp of feasibility.”
Ryan Metcalfe is the founder and Managing Director of visualisation studio Preevue. Based in the UK and the US, Preevue specialises in LiDAR laser scanning and building Digital Twins of spaces for the arts, media, and entertainment industries. Following the formation of the company in 2016, Preevue has grown to become a leading provider of visualisation for theatre productions around the world, including Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, Bat Out of Hell The Musical, and Moulin Rouge! The Musical.
Clients of Preevue include the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Opera, the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Lloyd Webber Theatres, Ambassador Theatre Group, and Disney Theatrical Group.
Ryan and his work with Preevue have been featured in publications including The Stage, LSI, and Live Design, and he has spoken at conferences and events including The International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference, PLASA, and Immersive Architecture Asia.
CEO, Music x Media
"I see digitalization of arts as a limitless horizon of possibilities. Entertainment, arts, culture, humor, sports, porn, gaming... They are not just circus fun but part of overall security, welfare society, competitive state and meaningful life. To utilize all the possibilities and power of culture and entertainment requires not only knowing the channels and tools, but also that we monitor the society around us; recognize both the products of cultural institutions, but also the cultural currents emanating from civil society and underground. In a free society we can’t control arts and entertainment, we need to be able to communicate with all of that. Art world – far from being sheltered inside the walls of galleries and institutions – has been undergoing a metamorphosis of its own. We just don’t “transfer something somewhere”. We just need to add one more stage to our planning and rejoice how digital art space democratises, educates and socialises the way in which art is consumed."
Kaisa has worked in management and expert positions in the cultural sector for 20 years, latest as a CEO of Music Finland. She has started as CEO of Music x Media this autumn. She has a passion to deliver the message of the power of arts and culture and develop the international dialogue and innovation between premium content, new technologies and digital services.
Photo credit: Miikka Varila
Eero Tiainen is a VR director whose work combines dramaturgy, game design and experience design. Tiainen is the artistic leader of an upcoming metaverse experience Love Simulation EVE co-produced together with Espoo City Theatre. He is also the director of the XR Art Festival Embrace. Previously Tiainen has worked in several research groups at Aalto University. Tiainen is also on the board of the Finnish Virtual Reality Association FIVR.
“I am increasingly convinced that the future is interdisciplinary – both with respect to performance as well as the education of new generations of young professionals. It is collaborative efforts and dialogue between people who don’t normally work together which draw me in. Our new Creative Europe funded project on innovation in the sector theatre (ACuTe), among others, will attempt to do this through the development of ‘testbeds’ for expanding emerging communities of practice.”
Blair is an educator, researcher and administrator with a broad range of experience in the fields of education, culture and technology.
Currently, he is Principal Lecturer at the Department of Media and Performing Arts, Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oamk). In this role, he has founded a series of globally unique programs bridging education, innovation and the creative industries and is now acting as the founding lead for a new Centre for Innovation in Performing Arts in Oulu.
He has just returned from a leave in Toronto, Canada where he was working with a number of organizations such as the University of Pennsylvania, EdTech Hub and the University of Toronto where he completed an adjunct professorship with the BMO Lab in Creative Research in the Arts, Performance, Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence.
Co-founder and CTO of Varjo
Urho Konttori is a product innovator and program manager who has over 20 years of experience in designing, engineering and managing large-scale hardware and software projects at Varjo, Microsoft and Nokia. He has been responsible for scouting, evaluating and defining high consumer value innovations such as novel cameras, see-through touch-screen fingerprint and VR headset technologies in more than a dozen mobile products, resulting in over 10 patents. He has also led the development of multiple operating systems, including the Linux-based Nokia N9 and N900 OS. Urho holds a B.Sc. degree in Algorithms.
Urs Dierker is the founder of Circular Costume Design (CCD) and a costume textile artist for screen and stage productions in Europe and North America. CCD is an innovative initiative that Dierker realizes with academic and cultural sector partners to develop solutions for sustainability and costume design.
At Aalto University in Finland, Dierker worked with material scientists to explore new applications of biomaterials for costume. This led to a collaboration with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and the Opera Leipzig, Germany. In partnership with the Opera Leipzig and the Icelandic Opera, Dierker received the 2022 FEDORA Next Stage grant to develop sustainable approaches to costume design. This multi-year project is part of Dierker’s doctoral research.
A sign language actress
"Right now, I’m interested in seeing more differences and linguistic minorities on television or in film, how they are taken into account in society, and how people’s awareness can grow through the media or social media. What if we take it for granted, and the employment potential of sign language users would also increase on the side of the vast majority without prejudice. I am inspired that in America, sign language is increasingly valued and sign language users (deaf) are increasingly being included in TV series and movies."
Silva Belghiti is a sign language (deaf) actress, entrepreneur and mother. She studied for a bachelor's degree at the Stockholm Theater Academy and a master's degree at the Helsinki Theater Academy.
Photo credit: Heidi K. Robertson
Director of The Theatre Green Book
Paddy Dillon is one of the UK’s leading theatre architects, responsible for the regeneration of the National Theatre, in London, alongside many other projects. He was until recently interim chair of the Theatres Trust, and is chair of the International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference.
In 2020 he initiated the Theatre Green Book, a project to help theatre-makers work together towards a sustainable future for theatre. Uniting all the UK’s leading theatre organisations, it brought theatre-makers of all kinds together with sustainability experts Buro Happold to define clear guidance and shared standards for the journey to zero carbon.
The Theatre Green Book is being used by all the UK’s leading theatres and by many others across the world.
Director of Global Affairs, Journee
Questions I ask and that guide me currently: Where can the new immersive and web3 technologies that we are developing take us? What are the problems we can solve? Which systems can we change, what new economies can we create where it is needed the most, and how can we make sure that we spend LESS and more QUALITY time in this next iteration of the Internet?
Ida has an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies. She has lived in eight countries and speaks five languages. Her experience from creative technologies is extensive: she worked together with Dexter Studios in South Korea to develop the 3D interior screens for SLS Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, and she has worked with 3D musicals and early VR applications of architectural renderings.
In June 2021, Ida joined Journee. Her work in the metaverse and web3 field is centred around the question “What’s next?”. She works with the bricks and mortar as well as the newest NFT use cases to have a deep, vertical and horizontal understanding of the current developments. Together with the best partners in the web3 space, she is driving the cloud rendered Journee solution forward to keep developing the most immersive, seamless, and accessible solution, integrated with interoperability of assets and user ownership.
Ida is a frequent keynote speaker, panellist and moderator and has been speaking at events such as the World Economic Forum, Deloitte Innovation Day, Split X Summit, House of Beautiful Business, yWhales podcast, CityAge and many more.
Aki Mäkivirta is the RD Director at Genelec Oy, a manufacturer of active loudspeaker systems based in Iisalmi, Finland. Genelec designs and produces products especially for professional studio recording, mixing and mastering applications, broadcast, and movie production.
During his nearly four decades of professional experience and 27 years at Genelec to research, develop and implement accurate monitoring solutions for the most critical applications, Aki has witnessed the introduction of immersive audio formats capable of convincingly enveloping and integrating the listeners to truly become embedded in the audio space. Today, Genelec has become the go-to choice worldwide for implementing the highest quality audio reproduction solutions to create and present 3D and immersive audio.
Director of FEDORA
Edilia Gänz has worked in cultural management and philanthropy for the last nine years.
Since the launch of FEDORA - The European Circle of Philanthropists of Opera and Ballet
in 2013, she became the organisation’s director, responsible for its growth and impact.
FEDORA is known today as the world’s largest opera and dance competition and a leading
European philanthropic organisation. In 2018, it introduced a digital platform to showcase
emerging talent, engage new audiences, and encourage philanthropy across Europe with
the support of the European Commission.
While still a student at the University of Mannheim, Germany, Ms Gänz entered the world of cultural management, marketing, and philanthropy through her work at the Mannheim
Philharmonic Orchestra. After her graduate studies at ESCP Europe Business School in
London and Paris, she worked at the AROP - The Association for Friends & Donors of the
Paris National Opera, where she was selected to manage the launch of FEDORA.
Forbes Magazine nominated her in 2019, as one of the most promising European cultural
managers on the "Forbes 30 under 30 Europe in Arts & Culture” list. Mariya Gabriel,
European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, featured
her in the #EUwomen4future campaign.
"There are always untold stories behind the dominant narratives. Whereas music in cinema has the ability to convey the true emotions of the characters despite what is seen on the screen, in augmented reality experiences, sounds and voices could play a similar role in disclosing an invisible layer of alternative truth hidden from the common eye. I'm super excited about the possibilities of audio augmented reality as an art form for telling stories connected to real environments and real people. I'm also excited when getting to experiment with new ways to use technology for narrative and artistic purposes."
Matias Harju is a sound designer and musician specialising in immersive and interactive sonic storytelling. He is currently developing audio augmented reality (AAR) with six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) as a narrative and interactive medium at WHS in Helsinki. He is also active in making adaptive music, immersive sound design, and bug-free code for other projects including XR, video games, installations, and live performances.
Matias is a Master of Music from Sibelius Academy with a background in multiple musical genres, music education, and audio technology. He also holds a master's degree from the Sound in New Media programme at Aalto University.
Sound artist and sound designer
Norvio is a multidisciplinary sound designer and sound artist. His background is in electronic music and works nowadays between different art forms and genres. He is interested in rhythmical and arrhythmical masses of sound, using acoustic and sampled sounds as a material of his work.
Norvio has made sound and music for contemporary dance and circus, installations, documentary films and different artists. He performs live electronics as a member of Pohjonen Alanko trio and in a duo with Hildá Länsman as well as solo at times. He has worked with a vast array of artists like Kimmo Pohjonen, Tapani Rinne, RinneRadio, defunensemble, Pekka Kuusisto, Thom Monckton, Terike Haapoja, Sari Palmgren, Johanna Nuutinen and Tero Saarinen Co. Norvio created the sound design for Opera Beyond's 2020 project Laila. He has been credited for his work with Säde and Teosto prizes.
Photo credit: David Thibel
Janne is the CEO of Verkatehdas and the acting theatre director of the subsidiary Hämeenlinna Theatre, as well as a specialist in the development of performance and event facilities. A dissertation on the creating functional performance spaces is currently underway at Aalto University's Department of Architecture.
Long experience as both a designer and a user of performance spaces provides a perspective on the needs, necessities and values of both performing and communicating. Years and miles have taught that the content always comes first, and the form must always follow, not lead. Art is not decoration, and communication is not just information. Especially the public space should always properly serve not only all its users, but also the community around it, to justify the use of common resources.
Janne Auvinen has worked in the event industry since 1984, and graduated from the Theatre Academy's Department of Lighting and Sound Design in 1995 with a master's degree in theatre art.
Photo credit: Tapio Aulu
Vesala is one of Finland's most popular musical artists today. She is a multi-platinum selling, diverse musician and dramaturge who is recognized for her skills in creating tangible stories and universes through words, notes and dynamic performance.
In addition to her own repertoire, the singer-songwriter has composed songs and written lyrics for countless other musical artists. By the same token, she has expanded her award-winning creative career as a playwright, dramaturge, film and voice actor as well as documentary director. She has acted major roles in award-winning films such as Little Wing (Nordic Council Film Prize) and Unknown Soldier.
Vesala has studied music pedagogy at Sibelius Academy, dramaturgy at the Theatre Academy of Finland and playwriting at University of California.
Paula Vesala continues her solo career under the artist name “Vesala” and keeps on bringing her talent into new striking cross-disciplinary art projects. She was the dramaturge of the interactive installation Laila, Opera Beyond's first production using immersive technology.
"I'm really interested in how the digital programming the culture sector developed out of necessity during the pandemic can continue to be relevant and impactful in enabling access and increasing diversity of audiences, especially among people who can't or don't attend in person."
Ankur is an artist & culture-sector changemaker. He's the outgoing Director of Digital Stage & Studio at leading international dance organisation Sadler’s Wells, where he also served as Director of Content & Communications. At Sadler's Wells, Ankur led on commissioning, producing and distribution for Digital Stage, which in the pandemic shared 50+ titles and reached 5M global views.
Ankur also co-hosts the podcast Arts Work, aimed at helping underrepresented groups navigate careers into the arts.
Prior to Sadler’s Wells, he was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he advised Fortune 500 companies in the media and consumer industries on strategy and organisational design. Ankur is an actor, dancer and writer with a career that has spanned A Midsummer Night's Dream for Shakespeare’s Globe and Armando Ianucci's Avenue 5 for HBO.
Ankur is an alumnus of NYU Stern School of Business, London Contemporary Dance School, and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He was the recipient of the Fulbright and Marshall Scholarships and proudly serves on the Board of Trustees of Paines Plough.
“My most recent work explores how we can reproduce the acoustics of a room in six degrees of freedom for AR/VR. I look at existing rooms and analyze them to study how we perceive their acoustics as we move around in the space, and I use this knowledge to develop new sound reproduction algorithms.
Depending on the desired aesthetics, we may want to reproduce accurately an existing space or, create a completely imaginary world. Therefore, I’m especially interested in creating technology that can bridge the science of acoustics and psychoacoustics with more creative applications, and ultimately, I want to empower immersive sound creators.”
Benoit Alary, Ph.D., is a Canadian researcher at the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM) in Paris, France. Established in 1977, IRCAM is one of the world’s largest public research centers dedicated to musical expression and scientific research.
Benoit has over fifteen years of experience in immersive audio, shared between industry and academia, which includes a Ph.D. from Aalto University (Finland). As a permanent member of IRCAM’s Acoustic and Cognitive Spaces team, his research centers around the reproduction, the analysis/synthesis, and the perception of sound spaces. His current projects involve 6DoF sound reproduction, machine learning, and virtual acoustics.
Hannu Järvensivu's responsibilities at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet include being the assistant head of the set workshop, management of the technical engineering team, and project management for the XR Stage project. He will be presenting the XR Stage Design Platform tool and project at the conference.
The XR Stage project concentrates on solving quality and scheduling problems in the design and planning work of performing arts productions by introducing a new online, remote workspace. The scope of the project is to create a fully functional digital twin of the real stage, integrate it to lighting and technical stage operation systems, and create a toolset for sketching and trialing the set and scenes, pre-program lights and have a dry-run for the changes.
This enables the artistic teams to visualize the production already in the early phase, to reduce risk of misinterpretation. It also saves a lot of energy and time from travelling. The digital outcome of the work can be adopted to the technical engineering, which enables a smooth start for the engineering and manufacturing.
In addition to streamlining the production process, XR Stage is a key technical enabler for exploiting the opportunities that virtualization can bring to live performances. Capturing motions of the performers and presenting that data to the audience either as an enhancement to the live show, or as an independent entity through any channel (such as a metaverse experience) open up vast new territories for creating totally new experiences to spectators.
Hannu Järvensivu has long-term experience in the software projects and SW asset management from the telco-IT industry. Before joining the FNOB he had a 18 year-long career in different positions at the Nokia corporation.
COO and Partner at ZOAN
ZOAN is an international Metaverse studio with its headquarters in Helsinki. As the Chief Operating Officer of ZOAN, Laura Olin has been part of producing multiple virtual pioneer works for both companies and in the branch of arts and culture. At the moment a lot of her time is spent helping organizations into the Metaverse world. Laura's background is in marketing and journalism.
Jakob Kudsk Steensen
"I have been working with opera singers, pop musicians, video game designers and iconic architecture like Halle am Berghain in Berlin, the Venice Biennale, Serpentine Galleries and ARoS Art Museum, to explore a new realm for art. I am excited about new formats where spatial exhibitions from the art world meet the immersive and narrative qualities of theater, with the song and emotional qualities of opera. Spatial sound can now be alive, and connected to performers in real time, and adjusted to any architecture. Worldbuilding can be physical in spaces, connected to virtual worlds, and accessible online as well as onsite.
These multi-dimensionalities allow us to bridge between past existing fields without losing what makes each one unique. Spatial, alive, musical, singing and narrative can interconnect in exciting new ways. Thematically I have explored past, and lost, words, concepts and songs, used to describe landscapes around us. I am excited to be reviving these, mixing them with worlds that are both organic, digital and physical."
Jakob Kudsk Steensen is an artist working with environmental storytelling through 3d animation, sound and immersive installations. He creates poetic interpretations about overlooked natural phenomena through collaborations with field biologists, composers and writers. Projects are based on extensive fieldwork. Key collaborators include Musician ARCA, Composer and Musical Director for the Philip Glass Ensemble Michael Riesman, Ornithologist and author Dr. Douglas H. Pratt, Architect Sir David Adjaye OBE RA, BTS, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Natural History Museum Berlin, among others.
Jakob has recently exhibited with his major solo exhibition “Berl-Berl” in Berlin at Halle am Berghain, commissioned by LAS, and at Luma Arles with “Liminal Lands” for the “Prelude” exhibition. He was a finalist for the Future Generation Art Prize at the 2019 Venice Biennale. He received the Serpentine Augmented Architecture commission in 2019 to create his work The Deep Listener with Google Arts and Culture. He is the recipient of the best VR graphics for RE-ANIMATED (2019) at the Cinequest Festival for Technology and Cinema, the Prix du Jury (2019) at Les Rencontres Arles, the Webby Award – People’s Choice VR (2018), and the Games for Change Award-Most Innovative (2018), among others.
VP of Metaverse at Hype Partners, Founder of ARMOAR, host of DIFA Club, and international keynote speaker.
“I like to think of myself as a facilitator or a catalyst inspiring people to bring their art to life. Artists are the mirrors of our reality; they help us tap into ourselves and our shared human experience through vulnerability and beauty. Art connects us. It challenges us. It moves us forward. Getting to support creators - of all kinds - in finding their spark is what lights me up inside!"
Voted as one of the Top 30 Voices in the Metaverse by ReadWrite, Enara is the VP of Metaverse at Hype Partners, Founder of ARMOAR, host of the leading digital fashion community DIFA Club, and an international keynote speaker specializing in the future of digital self-expression. Before entering tech, Enara spent 10 years as a performer moving people through stories both in front of and behind the camera. Enara entered Web3 with a multidisciplinary background in media and technology, leading marketing initiatives in fashion, media, and education sectors. Through her experiences growing ed tech startups and working with immersive tools at global music and tech festivals, Enara developed a deep understanding of the emerging tech ecosystem. Today she is driving adoption of Web3 and immersive technologies by developing next-generation consumer experiences in partnership with established brands and emerging creators.
Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera
Lilli Paasikivi has worked as Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera since 2013.
In her work, Paasikivi has set out to reshape the structures of opera and to find ways to combine technology with opera. In 2019, Paasikivi launched Opera Beyond – a project which aims to apply new technological possibilities and tools in opera and ballet. The Opera Beyond ecosystem includes productions such as CircOpera 2.0, to be premiered in November, interactive installations Laila and Common Domain and collaboration and co-learning projects such as the Jam Session Webinars. The aim is to learn more, create, connect and inspire – to move beyond.
Lilli Paasikivi was engaged as a soloist at the Finnish National Opera from 1998 to 2013. Alongside, she has made a significant international career, performing on the leading opera and concert platforms of the world. Her repertoire varies from Mozart to Wagner side by side with symphonic and contemporary music. Paasikivi was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal in recognition of her artistic merits in 2008 and the Commander’s Badge by the Order of The Lion of Finland in 2017.
Co-founder, 00100 Ensemble
"In recent work with 00100ENSEMBLE we have been playing around with the balance of personal and shared experiences. In all of the projects one of the aims is to create a sense of belonging to a momentary community.
By creating a safe and curated multi sensory world we give the audience a choice to wander freely and lose themselves following their own intuition. In a performance where the options can feel limitless, they get the chance to surprise themselves and challenge their own behavioural habits.
At this moment I’m really excited about new unconventional performance spaces, that do not hold a history of any certain type of audience culture. Through this I believe we can create more accessible immersive experiences and create new narratives that reflect the diversity of the world we are living in. Queer bodies, cultures and spaces as an inspiration/celebration."
Onni Hämäläinen is a professional circus artist and director. He is one of the four co-founders of 00100ENSEMBLE, a contemporary multi-artistic collective creating immersive performances. The ensemble was brought together by a desire to create immersive works we have not experienced and worlds that escape defining and rely on the active processes of the viewers mind.
Since graduating from Dans och Cirkushögskolan Onni has been based in Finland and has worked on projects in Germany, Sweden and Spain. In his projects he works as a concept designer, director and also as a performer.
"Whether it's the thrill of a rollercoaster ride, an intense look in your eyes inside a huge labyrinth or a moment in a virtual paradise that makes you question the life around you – it all comes down to something that for me is the juicy essence of immersive experiences: a personal, though somehow shared adventure. An adventure packed in a fleeting moment, that has the potential to be transformative."
Inna Huttunen is an experience designer and producer specialized in immersive and impactful experiences. She is the managing director of Recover Laboratory, a pioneering Finnish immersive art company drawing from contemporary circus, visual arts and performance art. RecLab creates surreal art experiences focused on human contact, honesty and freedom.
In addition to co-leading Recover Laboratory, Huttunen has worked extensively with immersive experiences - from designing and producing some of Finland's first escape games and large-scale labyrinths under the ground to awarded marketing stunts and custom-made event concepts. Currently Huttunen is also producing a pioneering virtual reality theatre performance, Love Simulation EVE, that premieres in 2023.
Artistic director and artistic researcher, The Center for Everything
"At the moment I’m interested in how to apply negotiation practices from BDSM and sex-positive scene for immersive and game performances. By this I mean the mechanisms of negotiation themselves regardless of whether the subject matter is related to sexuality. I’m inspired by how queer communities create safer spaces in order to facilitate action which society at large might define as ‘risky’ in a way that validates the boundaries of everyone involved. If translated to art, this for me gives a glimpse of art which can take more meaningful risks while also taking better care of everyone involved."
Samee Haapa is a producer, director, performer, anthropologist and a dj. They are a doctoral resarcher in artistic research at the Performing Arts Research Centre Tutke at Theatre Academy in the University of the Arts Helsinki. In addition to having degrees in both acting and dance they also hold a BA in Cultural Anthropology. In their doctoral research Haapa focuses on developing a playtesting method for training performers in immersive and game performances.
They are also the artistic director of a performing arts company The Center for Everything.
"My most recent projects combine the use of virtual tools, virtual entities and Artificial Intelligence, to reflect on some unique characteristics of our human experience. Human messiness is a passion - I've worked with different media in the past, from films, to animation, mostly focusing on human-centered experiences and reality (non-fiction, documentary approaches, etc). As I've expanded with immersive and interactive tools (VR, AR, or AI), I'm excited about the ways we can explore more of the strange balance we create between our human lives - messy, quirky, the drama, the ethereal, magical imagination - and the fact that we are inevitably tethered to physical bodies in physical spaces.
With recent projects using AI, for instance: Chomsky vs Chomsky (Sundance 2021 and launch 2022) or Future Rites (Creative XR, London Philharmonia, IDFA DocLab Forum, SXSW 2022), I want to explore how algorithmic tools, physical body movement and human creativity can meet at a crucial junction, to create compelling virtual worlds and characters that invite interaction, discovery, dance and play. After all, we're stuck between technology and hand-crafted storytelling: and I always believe it is the human imagination that remains at the core of any type of immersion."
Sandra Rodriguez, Ph.D., is a creative director and producer (interactive, VR, XR, AI) and a sociologist of new media technology. Her work as creative director and producer have garnered multiple awards, including a Peabody (2016), best immersive experience (IDFA DocLab 2016; Leipzig DokNeuland 2018, Numix 2018), best storytelling (UNVR and World Economic Forum tour 2018), and the first Golden Nica award given to a VR project at Ars Electronica (2019). Her recent work spans from immersive dance performance, multi-user XR theater and large scale installation, exploring the sparks that fly at the crossroads of AI, VR, and human creativity. Rodriguez is also a lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2017, where she leads the course HackingXR, MIT’s first course on immersive media production.
"Recent project exploration has included a deep dive into the gamification of Romeo & Juliet, namely how strangers fall in love, what makes love irresistible, and how to utilize play to inspire self-reflection around intimacy. I’m currently also experimenting with playable museum tours that invite participants to game their way through a museum as a way to personalize and embody the content of the exhibits. To cap off the day, I’ve been winding down at night by indulging my inner literature & philosophy nerd and reading physical books, often by candlelight, for the sheer joy of the aesthetic."
Jessica is an interactive experience designer dedicated to crafting surprising games for curious people, immersive theater artist, and professor. Jessica has worked on Broadway, at sidewalk festivals, and in the digital abyss. Her work has been presented at The Franklin Institute, BostonFIG, HERE Arts Center, and FringeNYC.
Jessica is a Professor of Game Design at Drexel University, a climate change game designer with The National Parks Service, a 2021 Arctic Circle Artist-in-Residence, a member of the Rachael Carson Center Climate Change Existential Toolkit cohort, and she recently gave a TEDx talk about embracing uncertainty through play. She is the founder of IKantKoan Games: www.ikantkoan.com, a studio focused on playfully exploring complex subject matter. She holds an MFA in Devised, Ensemble Performance from The Pig Iron School of Advanced Performance Training/UARTS and a BA in Political Communications from the George Washington University.
TO BE ANNOUNCED
We will be announcing more demos soon. Stay tuned!
CEO Frontier Collective, Co-Founder at Shape, President at Vancouver VR/AR Association at Frontier Collective
"I'm really interested in democratizing the VR/AR/Metaverse technology to make it accessible to everyone, I'm passionate about the people and the community that make up the future of these transformative industries. The intersection of arts and innovation has never been more prevalent than now, I personally get inspired by it."
Dan is a pioneer in the technology space and a leader within the VR/AR/Metaverse industry. He knows Vancouver and BC have the opportunity to become global leaders in innovation. He believes it takes collaboration, inclusivity, and diversity to create a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. He's committed to driving adoption and innovation in the Metaverse to enhance human experiences.
Dan’s technological insights have elevated him to ceo and co-founder of Frontier Collective, which is bringing a new innovation to Vancouver through community and also president of the Vancouver VR/AR Association, an organization that catapulted Vancouver to become the industry’s second largest global hub. His contributions have greatly influenced the virtual and augmented reality presence across the BC region, as well as throughout Canada. Dan also co-founded Shape Immersive, a company specializing in the building of VR/AR + 3D development, which has collaborated with notable brands in many verticals including Redbull, Olympics, Disney, Star Atlas and RTFKT studios (NFTs).
Nominated as 2021's LinkedIn Top Voices: Technology & Innovation, BIV’s Top Forty Under 40, and named as a BC500 leader, Dan has written for and offered tech insights to publications including TechCrunch, Betakit, VR Scout, DailyHive, and BC Business. His dedication to the industry has been spotlighted in media outlets such as Forbes, CTV, CBC, and Business in Vancouver. Dan has curated events and spoken at venues around the globe including Web Summit (2021), SXSW, Annecy Festival France, TED Conference, AWE, AWE EU, Extraordinary Future Conference, and VR Days. Dan also advises and mentors many fast-growing startups and entrepreneurs with an emphasis on diversity.
London, UK /
Violet Disruption makes music for ecstasy, rapture, and euphoria. They want to empower the audience. FEEL is a no-judgment space for the audience to escape within - a place to release from the day-to-day, relinquish control, and feel.
Their project FEEL: an immersive rave opera.
Hosted by avatar DJ Violet Disruption, this experience takes audiences through an explosive, liberating, and all-encompassing experience revealing a new future. Violet Disruption is inspired by the collective experiences of ecstasy & rapture shared by audiences of all kinds (opera, rave, circus). She is inspired to open up new spaces for endorphin release with her immersive rave Opera. Violet is the connecting point of worlds - raving & opera, movement & music, art & tech.
Violet Disruption is an avatar ´DJ who encourages audiences to find freedom through an operatic rave. She is on the planet to unlock hope through the act of raving, and her voice & music directly address the audience and invite them to move and discover their bodies with her.
Since November 2020, Steph has been creating music for Violet Disruption, and in February of 2021, David & Steph met on the Expanding the Canvas project. Both artists were interested in getting people to move and use their bodies to express themselves, create work to encourage people to let go, get their bodies moving, and feel free.
Get to know the Team
The team was brought together across 2021 as Violet Disruption had an early R&D period with the Royal Opera House, National Ballet of Canada, to develop a 5-minute pilot experience. The team is composed of artists, producers, and digital technologists. Amanda Mayo is the music producer and sound designer, David Andrew Reid is a Jamaican-Canadian theatre/tv artist and the choreographer of the Violet Disruption project, Gideon Berger is the Art director & experience creator, Stephanie Singer is the Composer & creative director, and Mesmer team are the Digital technologists.
Valencia, Spain /
The Vitamin team is composed of artists and electrical engineers, which allows them to merge their knowledge to explore new fields and mix them to create unique artistic experiences.
Their project: MATT3R
The core of their innovation is in working in the intersection of physics, technology, and arts. MATT3R, The origin of creation, is an abstract concept that jumps between science and consciousness to focus on the whole as an ensemble and an equal. It is based on real-time visuals, reacting as independent algorithms that rule the entire experience. This means that every performance will create a whole different and unique installation. The artists on stage will be the ones transmitting the data with their movements and choreographies.
Physics, nature, digital spaces, lights, and social and cultural issues are usually the sources of their creations. They find simulations of physical phenomena inspiring, in which simple rules give rise to complexity and realistic emotions.
Get to know the team
The team has four membres, which are each artists of their domain. At Vitamin studio Laura Martínez has the role of a Production Director and an Account Manager, Ana Piquer is the Art Director and a 3D Designer, Javier Mujica is the Creative Director and one of the Co-founders of Vitamin Studio, and Pablo Álvarez is an electronic engineer, Co-founder, CEO, and Technical Director of Vitamin Studio.