Four Lightning Talks

NYIT Auditorium on Broadway 1871 Broadway NY NY 10023 May 21, 2017 3:05 pm - 3:20 pm

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Tamiko Thiel
Tatiana Pilon
Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Tamiko Thiel, Tatiana Pilon, and Rui Pereira each get 5 minutes to show off their latest work.

Rui Pereira is a Creative Technologist at Google, teaches Magic Windows and Mixed Up Realities at ITP – NYU and is a chef at his family home.

Tatiana Pilon is a research and development engineer exploring the possibilities within human-centered design and emerging technologies. She has more than 10 years industry expertise in finance & technology and is currently pursuing a master’s in digital media engineering at NYU. She is passionate about innovation for social good alongside entrepreneurship and was selected to join a team of future entrepreneurs at the Bloomberg Beta: Future Founders program.

Tamiko Thiel is an internationally acknowledged pioneer in creating poetic spaces of memory for exploring social and cultural issues in both virtual reality since 1994 (Starbright World with Steven Spielberg) and augmented reality. A founding member of the artist group Manifest.AR, she participated in their path-breaking AR intervention at MoMA NY in 2010, and organized their intervention into the Venice Biennial in 2011. Her works are featured in Whitney curator Christiane Paul’s “Digital Art” and Stanford professor Matthew Smith’s “The Total Work of Art: From Bayreuth to Cyberspace.” She has taught VR and AR at UC San Diego, Bauhaus U./Weimar, Berlin U. of Arts and Nanyang Technical U. Singapore. In 2017 she is an Eyebeam New York Mentor and GoogleVR Tilt Brush Artist in Residence.


Jakob Kudsk Steensen is a Danish installation artist based in New York, who combines satellite technologies with video and virtual reality with real world landscape explorations and cartographic research. His work has most recently been exhibited at The Moving Image Fair, NYC, NY Media Center, BRIC, MAXXI, Museum of Modern Art in Rome, Museum of Modern Art Valencia, Podium in Oslo, and at Sleep Center in China Town, NYC. His work has been featured on Artnet, The Art Newspaper, Hyperallergic, Spike Art Quaterly, ARTREPORT, Politiken, Worm, NEO2 and TSOEG. He has received awards from the Danish Arts Foundation and The Augustinus Foundation. He has been artist in residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, AADK, Centra Negra, MASS MoCA and at BRIC in Brooklyn


Tamiko Thiel: Since 1994 I have been creating virtual reality artworks as “empathy machines,” putting users in situations they hopefully never encounter in real life, e.g. as prisoner in an internment camp or an interrogation by secret police. I drew on music, urban planning and classical drama to create and teach my own theory of dramatic structure in interactive experiences, with the user as protagonist in first person experiential perspective in interactions with the virtual world.

Tatiana Pilon: Tatiana will speak about her work creating an artistic VR experience featured in the Creative Tech Week Arts Hub on May 12-13 2017 at the Knockdown Center.

Rui Pereira: More than ever devices are getting a human-scale understanding of space and motion allowing us to create more intimate interactions with our surrounding spaces but also leveraging them as a canvas to experience other realities. Screens became magic windows letting us peek into different realities, lenses that reveal hidden layers of objects and space and navigating new universes within the same room. Simultaneously, constant and never-stopping flows of data are generated for every action we make and interactions we exchange with our devices, social networks and surroundings. We now have the potential to blend these digital and physical layers to give life to inanimate objects, tell stories through space, customizing private views of public spaces and recognize places we’ve never been.But how do we design for this systems? How can we leverage the properties from both worlds in an seamless experience? In this talk we want to start a conversation by asking these and so many other questions and trying to shed some light on their possible answers through a critical thinking and design lens.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen: Primal Tourism (2016) is a virtual reality art project, where colonialism, tourism and science fiction intertwine with one another. The core of the project is an exact virtual replica of the iconic tourist island Borabora in French Polynesia, developed in a scale of 1:3. In the work, it is possible for the visitor to explore the entire Island freely, or journey in-between 5 key destinations: A primal eco-system with tsunami warning signs, an abandoned futuristic site for colonial remembrance, a resort worker mountain town, a submerged luxury resort and an airport taken over by invasive mosquitos and foreign palm trees. The work was developed over eight months by the artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen in the program Unreal Engine, one of the industry leading software for big industry computer game development today. This gives the work a polished and alluring look on par with big budget VR productions of today, while the landscape of the virtual Island includes abandoned tourist resorts. The creation of the virtual Island was based on actual satellite data and travel journals, which anonymous people have shared online on the forum Reddit. In addition, the logbook of Jacob Roggeveen, who ventured to the region on behalf of the East West Indian Trading company in 1722, has been a key source of inspiration for the artist. In the work, you are able to fully and freely explore the entire virtual futuristic replica of Borabora and visit any of the 5 key destinations.

We’ll explore past, present and new design methodologies and creative frameworks to develop AR/MR experiences. We’ll question what it means and how can we blend digital and physical layers exploring themes such as: augmenting objects, tangible interfaces and animism; Magic windows, x-ray vision, time-machines and impossible universes; augmented space and new paradigms in social interaction, public space and privacy; storytelling and navigating the physical space like turning pages in a book; Far away so close: telepresence and remote collaboration. By blending these discussions with a healthy dose of technical exploration we paired inspirational wings together with grounding and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible now through creative explorations.We want to have a dialogue about what it means to design experiences that are deeply anchored in all our (physical /digital )worlds.