200 episodes

Since May 2014, Kent Bye has published over 1000 Voices of VR podcast interviews featuring the pioneering artists, storytellers, and technologists driving the resurgence of virtual & augmented reality. He's an oral historian, experiential journalist, & aspiring philosopher, helping to define the patterns of immersive storytelling, experiential design, ethical frameworks, & the ultimate potential of XR.

Voices of VR Kent Bye

    • Arts

Since May 2014, Kent Bye has published over 1000 Voices of VR podcast interviews featuring the pioneering artists, storytellers, and technologists driving the resurgence of virtual & augmented reality. He's an oral historian, experiential journalist, & aspiring philosopher, helping to define the patterns of immersive storytelling, experiential design, ethical frameworks, & the ultimate potential of XR.

    #1124: Emotionally-Moving 360 Video on Taiwan’s White Terror “The Man Who Couldn’t Leave” Wins Top Prize at Venice Immersive 2022

    #1124: Emotionally-Moving 360 Video on Taiwan’s White Terror “The Man Who Couldn’t Leave” Wins Top Prize at Venice Immersive 2022

    The Man Who Couldn’t Leave is a emotionally-evocative 360 video and powerfully-told story about political prisoners during Taiwan’s White Terror trying to communicate with their families. It took home the top prize at Venice Immersive 2022 for it’s many innovations of storytelling grammar and fully using the spatial medium of VR to find new ways of telling this story and moving the audience. Be sure to catch the behind-the-scenes video in order to fully appreciate the ambitious scope of the production, and the various multi-perspective theatrical staging, lighting, and art direction on top of many abstracted metaphors and poetic interpretations of the story that cultivated a dream-like quality. Funique also did an amazing job with the stereroscopic production & post-production of this project. I had a chance to chat with director Singing Chen through interpreter / distributor of the project Poshan Wu during the Venice Immersive Festival.



    The first half of this interview is in English, and the Mandarin Chinese portion starts at 42:52.

    • 1 hr 14 min
    #1123: Interactive Animation of Polarized City “From the Main Square” Wins 2nd Prize at Venice Immersive 2022

    #1123: Interactive Animation of Polarized City “From the Main Square” Wins 2nd Prize at Venice Immersive 2022

    From the Main Square tells the story of a polarized city by placing you in the middle of a hand-drawn and animated city as it goes through different waves of conflict and evolution. There are many individual characters who you can trace throughout the course of the experience, but it’s easier to focus on the an overall gestalt of broad shifts and changes over time.



    The From the Main Square took home the 2nd place Grand Jury Prize at Venice Immersive, and I had a chance to sit down with creator Pedro Harres to unpack his journey of creating this piece of prescient and timely art that’s tapping into some deeper themes of polarized conflict happening in his home country, but also around the world.

    • 57 min
    #1122: Mixed Reality Platformer “Eggscape” by 3DAR Wins 3rd Place Prize at Venice Immersive 2022

    #1122: Mixed Reality Platformer “Eggscape” by 3DAR Wins 3rd Place Prize at Venice Immersive 2022

    Eggscape is a mixed reality gaming prototype from the Argentinean 3Dar VR, film, & animation studio behind Gloomy Eyes and Paper Birds that leverages the black & white, mixed reality passthrough mode of the Meta Quest 2. It's a has a really compelling 2.5 platformer game mechanic where you're navigating a table-top scale egg character through a number of bridges and obstacles placed in a physical environment. It has a very similar vibe to Lucky's Tale, but rather than just a 2.5 POV, you're able to have the full 6DoF experience by moving your body through space in order to aid your 3D perspective judgments. It was a charming, innovative, & engaging enough experience to earn the 3rd place Special Jury Prize at Venice Immersive. I had a chance to sit down with co-founder German Heller to get the backstory of 3dar's evolution from animation to film to VR, and a sneak peak at some of the new frontiers of co-located gameplay that's enabled with these new mixed reality features on VR devices like the Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro (coming soon), Lynx R1 (coming soon), and Pico 4 (also coming soon).

    • 50 min
    #1121: Venice Immersive 2022 Competition Recap: 30+ Reviews of Immersive Stories

    #1121: Venice Immersive 2022 Competition Recap: 30+ Reviews of Immersive Stories

    Venice Immersive 2022 featured 30 immersive stories in competition with some of the fiercest competition yet. I’m joined by Pola Weiß to break down, analyze, & critique each one of the 30 experiences in competition starting with the three winners: Special Jury Prize [3rd place] Eggscape, Grand Jury Prize [2nd place] From the Main Square, and Best Immersive Experience [1st place] The Man Who Couldn’t Leave.



    We then make our way through the 27 other experiences organized by which quality of presence it emphasized the most, whether it’s active presence focusing on interactivity & agency, emotional presence focusing on passive storytelling, embodied & environmental presence focusing on cultivating embodied experiences, or focusing on environmental storytelling, or spatial design, and then finally mental & social presence experiences focusing on puzzles, escape rooms, social dynamics, and text-based projects that play with expectations or imagination.



    We spend on average around 5 minutes talking about each of the 30 immersive stories in competition (sometimes more and sometimes less), and you can find the timecodes down below to jump around.

    • 2 hrs 47 min
    #1120: Kevin Mack’s Procedural Worldbuilding VRChat in for Venice Immersive Competition

    #1120: Kevin Mack’s Procedural Worldbuilding VRChat in for Venice Immersive Competition

    Kevin Mack is a virtual reality artist who creates abstract and surreal art, and his first VRChat world called NAMUANKI has been selected as one of the 30 projects in competition at Venice Immersive. You take a tour through some of his organic rocks, static blort entities that offer your a psychedelic vision, and then jump through a portal at the bottom of the ocean to go into an ice world and lava world where you're met with a variety of different mythic Sumerian deities along the way.



    Mack's project ANANDALA was selected for last year's Venice VR Expanded (interview here), and he attended many of the virtual events and world hops in VRChat, which inspired him to take a stab at translating his procedural and generative art style in VRChat. NAMUANKI will be publicly available in VRChat for the length of Venice Immersive from September 1st to 10th, and TBD whether it'll be available afterwards.



    I spoke to Kevin about his iterative design process and how he uses Houdini for his procedural art, the how he embraces paradox in a pluralistic fashion, his ongoing creative dialogue with what he perceives to be alien-like AI entities from the future, the backstory behind the different Sumerian deities that are featured, and then an extended discussion for how he's been collaborating with different generative AI art programs, and the debates around consciousness and AI from a materialist, idealist, and panpsychic perspective.

    • 1 hr 25 min
    #1119: Venice Immersive Preview with Co-Curators + Expanded VRChat World Gallery Exhibition

    #1119: Venice Immersive Preview with Co-Curators + Expanded VRChat World Gallery Exhibition

    I get an overview of the Venice Immersive festival that's taking place from September 1st to 10th with co-curators Liz Rosenthal and Michel Reilhac. There are 75 total experiences with 30 experiences in competition, 10 project in Best Of Immersive section, 30 VRChat worlds in the Worlds Gallery, 3 projects in the Biennale College Cinema VR section, 2 special music events in VRChat, and a special film screening of Joe Hunting's We Met in Virtual Reality. Nearly all of the Venice Festival selections are primarily physical this year with the exception to some of the VRChat events and worlds.



    We talk about some of the latest trends in immersive storytelling, and then give a sneak peak to 24 out of the 30 pieces in the competition. We didn't have the time to have a comprehensive overview, but you can see the full selection here. We also talk about their efforts this year for hosting 8 different 75-minute worldshops in VRChat featuring a total of 30 worlds in VRChat. [See the full show notes for links to the 30+ VRChat worlds] They've hired 2 virtual docents per worldhop as a tour guide and a logistics wrangler, as well as a physical docent to help onboard people into these curated VRChat world hops.

    I'll be on site in Venice covering the festival, interviewing creators, and talking on a panel about reviewing immersive works on Saturday at 2:30p CEST.

    • 1 hr 2 min

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