In the beginning, there was the… World

The world-building VR Metaverse workshop (Kaboom Animation Festival | Imagine Film Festival)
Dates: 9-11 & 23-25 September; 2-4 December 2022

Have you ever dreamed about calling an entire world into existence? To conjure plants, creatures, infrastructures and ecosystems in a god-like gesture with your own hands? With the emergence of Virtual Reality and metaverse environments, this desire does not need to remain constrained to imagination alone. Between four organizations heavily invested in the speculative power of the stories – Kaboom Animation Festival, Imagine Film Festival, WeMakeVR (Avinash Changa), M31 (Robin Coops) – we are putting together a unique hands-on VR worldbuilding workshop which will help your wildest ideas grow into planets. 

With the aid of the XR developers, acclaimed makers, philosophers, scientists, and worldbuilders, over 3 weekends between September and December 2022, you will get a chance to learn necessary skills, collaborate, design and realize the worldbuilding projects, which will have a guaranteed presence at Imagine (Autumn 2022) and Kaboom (Spring 2023) festivals. We seek to employ VR-native tools of the NEOS Metaverse in the prolific practice of speculative world-building, which originates in fantastic fiction. Harnessing the power of our imagination we want to rethink our current conditions of living on earth, through a creative practice of building coherent fantastic worlds. To maximize the impact of the workshop, we align our efforts with the production cycle of one of the most interesting VR works that are currently in development in the Netherlands – The Saga of Sage by Avinash Changa, and Robin Coops. Together, we want to deliver a state-of-the-art learning experience, which connects socially relevant reflection, concern with the professionalisation of the makers, and the increasing prolific ecosystem of the Metaverse. Among other things we will focus on:

 

  • Exploring the principles of worldbuilding
  • Mastering the creative tools of NEOS
  • Presence design
  • Practices of co-creation
  • Creating hybrid XR experiences

Building on the previous editions, which attracted such acclaimed tutors as Sngmoo Lee (Scarecrow VR, Red Eyes, Rain Fruits), Kiira Benzig (Finding Pandora X, Loveseat), Deirdre Lyons (Welcome to Respite, The Under Present: Tempest, Gumball Dreams), Fabito Rychter & Amir Admoni (Lavrynthos, Gravity VR), Daniël Ernst (The Great Orator, The Shoebox Diorama), Joe Hunting (We Met in Virtual Reality), Michel Reilhac (Venice VR) and others, we guarantee a hands-on creative and networking experience, which aims to help us grow as a creative community. Don’t miss out on the opportunity as it will not present itself again any time soon.

Names of the tutors, mentors and guest speakers will be gradually revealed in the next couple of weeks. The first two are our partners, the creative duo behind the Saga of Sage:

 

Avinash Changa

a VR maker, director, international speaker and consultant on immersive creations. He is the founder of the award-winning studio WeMakeVR, an immersive work production company. He’s produced widely acclaimed VR works such as The Metamovie Presents: Alien Rescue, Ashes to Ashes, Meeting Rembrandt and most recently Angels of Amsterdam. Angels of Amsterdam was the first Dutch VR work ever to be included in the official selection of the Venice Biennale. The work was also selected for the Dutch Film Festival. Currently, Avinash is working on new immersive experiences, including live social VR performances, educational projects and hyper-realistic volumetrics.

 

Robin Coops

a multidisciplinary artist and the artistic leader of the M31 Foundation. He studied directing in Maastricht, after which he took a master’s degree at the Conservatory in The Hague and the Film Academy in Amsterdam. He focuses on the tension between fear and the desire to lose control, either as a theme or a methodology. The use of (new) technology in relation to the body often plays an important role in his work. Coops has worked with various companies including Oorkaan, Silbersee, OPERA2DAY, DNOA and ICK. Under the flag of M31 Foundation, he produced and directed works such as the opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Theater Na de Dam 2016) and the dance films Touch (IFFR 2020) and Sync (Cinedans 2021). In 2022 he premiered his hybrid VR opera ORPHÉE | L’AMOUR | EURYDICE co-developed with Avinash Changa. In addition, Robin composes and performs his own progressive pop music which explores the boundaries of the pop concert.

Who are we looking for?

To create a focused hands-on experience, we will ccept six participants who will compose an XR worldbuilding crew together. We look for people with diverse backgrounds, coming from any artistic, technological, scientific or philosophic fields, who have already found an affinity with immersive media or feel that Virtual and Mixed Reality might be the next frontier for them to conquer.

Requirements

We want this workshop to become a creative gateway to VR for makers from any strands of art, science and humanities as long as they express real interest in the medium, therefore:

  • We do not require any previous experience in developing VR works but it is necessary for the participants to have had the experience as VR users (to be familiar with the controllers and ready to spend a considerable amount of time in the headset). Exceptions might be made if the applicants commit to familiarizing themselves with the basics before the start of the workshop. We also do welcome experienced makers as the workshop will require close collaboration between participants and exchange of expertise.
  • We require a full commitment and availability during the 3 workshop weekends. Every weekend will start with a warm-up session on Friday evening and will continue throughout Saturday and Sunday. The intended dates are 9-11 & 23-25 September; 2-4 December. Partial and final results of the work will respectively be presented at Imagine Film Festival (26.10-04.11.2022) and Kaboom Animation Festival (24.03-02.04.2023). Workshop participants will be expected to be present at the relevant events during the festivals.

Every applicant is expected to fill out the form below before 20 June 2022 (including the statement of motivation, and a tiny pitch of the world): 

The selection will be announced by 4 July 2022.

Cost: 250€ 

(In exceptional circumstances we can help the applicant look for a scholarship to partially cover the fee. If you find yourself unable to pay, describe the situation in “additional remarks” section of the application)

The Kaboom + worksop is made possible by