The WebXR Design Summit was a 9-hour series of talks about immersive design & experiential design that was organized by Ben Erwin and his WebXR Polys Awards team on October 12th. I was the host and moderator for the day, but also helped to curate a few sessions including a fireside chat with two immersive design professors Doug North Cook, Program director & Assistant Professor of Immersive Media at Chatham University, as well as Robin Hunicke Game Designer and CEO of Funomena as well as Full Professor at UC Santa Cruz, and the founding Director of the Art + Design: Games & Playable Media program.
I wanted to hear about some of the latest trends of how they’re teaching immersive technologies and experiential design, and a common theme was interdisciplinary collaborations. North Cook was talking about a Design Dialogue practice that was sort of like a telephone game where an architect would create a blueprint, which was then created into a 3D model, transformed into an immersive audio file, turned into a water color painting, and then created into an immersive VR experience. The goal was to see what kind of design practices translate well into other modalities and affordances, but also to escape the normal production pipelines for each media.
The theme of interdisciplinary collaboration also showed up for Hunicke, who announced that UC Santa Cruz’s Art + Design: Games & Playable Media Department is creating a newly shared department with her colleagues in Theater Arts that blends game design, game production, game art, with dance, theater, performing arts, dramaturgy, and critical practice to create a shared hybrid curriculum combining the affordances of play, performance, design. She mentioned that A.M. Darke is creating an Open Source Afro Hair Library, micha cárdenas is looking at embodiment & performance in terms of environmental challenges, Ted Warburton is looking at the combination of the environment, dance, and teleawareness, and dramaturg Michael Chemers is looking what insights Japanese Puppet Theater can provide to the location of embodied performances of puppeteered avatars and virtual beings.
North Cook and Hunicke also talked about what insights that web design and WebXR could provide to the overall design practices for immersive technologies and experiential design talking about aspects of telepresence and the fusion of lots of data into experiences, but also the uncertainty around the economic sustainability of the open web and what the new models to support a diverse and robust ecosystem of immersive experiences.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE VOICES OF VR PODCAST
This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.