#1208: 2023 SXSW Immersive Recap and Highlights with Programmer Blake Kammerdiener

In my final SXSW interview, I had a chance to catch up with SXSW Immersive Programmer Blake Kammerdiener to do a retrospective look at this year’s program, some of the challenges for VR exhibition, his design intentions for how to intermingle the technologists, storytellers, and musicians who attend SXSW, how there’s a larger music selection this year, the emerging mixed reality experiences that are starting to crop up, the range of unique haptic experiences from Symbiosis to In the Pursuit of Repetitive Beats, which is one of my personal favorites in the festival circuit over the last year, as well as some of his other personal highlights from the festival. We only had about an hour to cover as much as we could, and it would’ve taken 2-3 hours to do them all justice. Luckily, I recorded over dozens of hours of interviews with creators in addition to having had covered 9 of the experiences at previous conferences.

I’ll add a comprehensive list of experiences down below in case you’d like to unpack some of the experiences that you may have had at SXSW.

  1. [SXSW 2022] #1082 Roman Rappak’s [2022] Mixed Reality Live Music Performance & an Art History Perspective on XR + music
  2. [SXSW 2022] #1086: Anne McKinnon on the Ristband Music Platform going into Alpha, Pixel Streaming, & the Future of Musical Experiences
  3. [Venice 2022] #1122: Mixed Reality Platformer “Eggscape” by 3DAR Wins 3rd Place Prize at Venice Immersive 2022
  4. [Venice 2022] #1123: Interactive Animation of Polarized City “From the Main Square” Wins 2nd Prize at Venice Immersive 2022
  5. [Venice 2022] #1128: Combining Puzzle Mechanics with Environmental Storytelling in “Mrs. Benz”
  6. [Venice 2022] #1130: Combing Mythical Metaphors, Environmental Design, & Volumetric Cut Scenes in “Stay Alive, My Son”
  7. [Remote 2022] #1151: Shooting an Immersive Doc the War on Ukraine’s Culture with NowHere Media
  8. [IDFA DocLab 2022] #1154: Visualizing Melting Glaciers in 360 Video Story in “Once a Glacier” + Mixing Motion Capture Dance and Indigenous Poetry
  9. [IDFA DocLab 2022] #1155: Polymorf’s Multi-Sensory “Symbiosis” Explores Speculative Futures Inspired by Philosopher Donna Haraway
  10. [IDFA DocLab 2022] #1161: The Many Immersive Documentary Innovations of “In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats:” Winner of IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction
  11. #1185: HTC’s Enterprise VR Strategy + Debate about the Future of AI
  12. #1186: Chinese Ecosystem for Immersive Stories, VAST Platform, & Neo-Wulin Immersive Music Experience
  13. #1187: “MLK: Now is the Time” Brilliantly Translates Dr. King’s Speech into Embodied Interactions & Spatial Metaphors
  14. #1188: Emotionally Evocative, Virtual Eye Gazing with Ukrainians in Bombed Out Buildings in “Fresh Memories: The Look”
  15. #1189: “Forager” Volumetric Timelapse of Mushroom Growth Hits a Sweet Spot of Touch, Smell, & Immersive Storytelling
  16. #1190: Targo Stories’ Immersive Documentary Spatial Innovations with “Behind the Dish” & “JFK Memento”
  17. #1191: Closing the Distribution Gap: Atlas V’s Astrea Aims to Port, Publish, & Market the Best of Immersive Stories
  18. #1192: The Last Moments of AltSpaceVR, Athena Demos’ Eulogy & Retrospective Journey into Social VR
  19. #1193: Phone-based Interactive Story “Consensus Gentium” Takes Top SXSW Prize for Chilling Speculative Worldbuilding Exploring AI Bias, Surveillance, & Biometric Agency
  20. #1194: “Jailbirds” is a Well-Told, Magical Realist Story Using Character-Driven Animation and Stylized Cinematography
  21. #1195: Exploring Non-Normative Avatars with Disabled Dancers in “Figural Bodies” Research Project
  22. #1196: “Eggscape” is a Groundbreaking, Mixed Reality, Multi-Player, Table Top Platformer Aiming for LBE
  23. #1197: Myriam Achard’s Industry-Leading, Immersive Curation for Montreal’s Phi Centre
  24. #1198: AmazeVR is Bringing High-Res, Immersive Concert Experiences to the Quest Starting with K-Pop Band Aespa
  25. #1199: “Whipped Cream: The Dark” Interactive Music Video Blending Volumetric Capture with Spatial Locomotion
  26. #1200: Defining Process-Relational Architecture with Andreea Ion CojoCaru: Spatial Design as a Participatory Improv Performance
  27. #1201: Jessie Cohen’s Oral History of Public Relations for Immersive Stories from 2013 to 2023
  28. #1202: Miro Shot’s Second Mixed Reality Concert at SXSW: An Intimate, Live Performance Ritual
  29. #1203: “Body of Mine VR” Uses Full-Blody Tracking Embodiment to Explore Gender Dysphoria & Transgender Testimonies
  30. #1204: Blending Open World Exploration with VR Immersive Theatre Drama with “Find WiiLii” in International Collaboration with GiiOii Immersive Studio and Ferryman Collective
  31. #1205: A Primer on Media Geography, Human-Environment Process-Relational Philosophy, and Virtual Natures with Claire Fitch
  32. #1206: The District VR Enables Professional DJs to Play Live Social VR Gigs without Mixer Hardware
  33. #1207: “Temporal World” Blends Touch with Sound Design for a Unique Haptisonic Experience about Memory
  34. #1208: 2023 SXSW Immersive Recap and Highlights with Programmer Blake Kammerdiener

This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR Podcast. It's a podcast that looks at the future of spatial computing and the structures of immersive storytelling and immersive art. You can support the podcast at patreon.com slash voices of VR. So the final episode of my 24 episode series of the different immersive experiences at South by Southwest Immersive is with Blake Kamadainer. He's the senior manager for film and TV and programming at South by Southwest. So he does all of the curation of all the different immersive art and all the different immersive panels that are happening at South by Southwest. And so I had a chance to sit down with him and kind of go back and reflect upon this year's program of both what's happening in the music side and all the different immersive stories and the different haptic innovations and just trying as best we can for the course of an hour recap everything that was happening over the course of this year's program and also just kind of digesting the nature of immersive art exhibition in a place like South by Southwest and what do you get when you have the intersection of all these folks from technology and culture and film and television and the immersive industry as well as these musicians as we have more and more of a music exhibition that's happening at South by Southwest. So we'll be covering all that and more on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. So this interview with Blake happened on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023 at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:01:32.918] Blake Kammerdiener: Hi, I'm Blake Comodiner. I'm the Senior Manager for Film and TV and XR Programming here at South by Southwest. So I curate all of our XR experience, which is an exhibition devoted to immersive art. And I also curate our panel sessions all in the XR Metaverse track here at South by Southwest.

[00:01:52.448] Kent Bye: Yeah, maybe you could give a bit more context as to your background and your journey into this space as an XR immersive curator.

[00:01:59.857] Blake Kammerdiener: I mean, how do you want me to go? So I did my first VR project when I was about 10 years old in the early 90s with Dr. Nightmare when it hit a few arcades around my area. Instantly obsessed. And then I was lucky enough again to go to Disney Quest, which was a five-story virtual reality arcade back in the day around in 2000. where they gave us the run of the place. It was a really fun time. Again, totally obsessed. Aladdin VR, classic, amazing, old school, first wave immersive project. And then in 2015, our head of programming, Hugh Forrest, decided to start a VRAR track in our conference and asked for a group of people who were interested to join a team to curate it that year. I instantly jumped on the track. Instantaneously, like all of the feelings from childhood rushed back, you know, and it allowed me to really immediately start diving deep into what was happening in the immersive community at the time. So then we, that year it was like, first they were focused on the, we were all focused on the track, but I kept on kind of fighting for a little bit of space to show some work, because I was like, we can talk about it all day, but it's an experience, people are going to want to experience it. So right before the event, they were like, OK, you can have that small room over there, which was a tiny room in the Hilton. And I had been kind of like talking, a little primer with some people. And so we were able to pull the trigger about six weeks before the event and ended up programming Across the Line by Nani de la Peña. We had Chris Milk come in with Verse at the time. And they showcased maybe, I think, eight pieces that were on the platform at the time. And then we brought in a few other independent projects and producers who had some work. so popular that the next year they were like, okay, you can have a proper exhibition. And so we started 2017 with the virtual cinema, was what we called it at the time, because it was very focused on storytelling in the immersive space. We did that at the JW Marriott here in Austin, and then it has just doubled every year, kind of been grown and grown and grown since then.

[00:04:03.001] Kent Bye: Yeah, I guess, well, one thing that's a little bit different than this year is that there's normally a bit of a cadence to the immersive storytelling festival circuit, where kind of kick off the year with Sundance New Frontier, and then South by Southwest, and Tribeca, Venice, EvaDocLab. And I often see you at a lot of these different events, and looking at the different pieces, and as you're doing curation. But this year, in the absence of the Sundance New Frontier, did you see any differences in the way that you were curating South by Southwest's XR experience selection?

[00:04:32.856] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, that's an interesting question. It was definitely a missed event. I was very sad when it wasn't happening because it's one of my favorite times to get to go and meet the community at Sundance. And I love the work that they do there at New Frontiers. For me, though, in my process, it took away a variable that I didn't have to think about because I'm never going to, we're not here to recreate. the Sundance lineup in any way. So quite often when we're going through our process and we're getting everything ready, we wait for that Sundance announcement to see where we need to make changes or what projects from there we will invite to join us. And so it took a different variable out, but it was sorely missed, honestly.

[00:05:14.365] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I guess one of the things that's unique about South by Southwest is that it's both a technology festival, you have the film festival, and there's a music festival, which is just about to get underway as we're right now at the end of the XR and tech selection that we had for the last three days of the XR selection. But there was actually a lot of music experiences that were in this year's selection. There were a couple last year, but I feel like This year there was maybe at least five or six or so ones that were music you had like In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats, Espa VR, L Beat, District VR, J Balvin Futurum, and then the Whipped Cream with the Dark, which was all like these immersive music experiences. And there may be some other ones that I missed in that list, but love to hear you reflect on this intersection of music in the specific selection that I think is very distinct from some of the other festivals I go to. There seems to be a more openness to pulling in the more musical elements. Oh, I should also mention that Mirror Shot had a whole live performance that was there, and there's some other virtual concerts that were special things as well. But yeah, I'd love to hear you reflect on that.

[00:06:20.262] Blake Kammerdiener: Well, it was interesting as we were going through the process and these all very different types of projects, different ways musicians were integrating with the immersive creative world and how they were being interested. And it's something we have slowly been exploring over the years. We are kind of this perfect place where all that meshes together. And so this year, as we were going through, there was so much, you know, wonderful music content in there, and it's all created in different kind of ways and I really wanted to showcase kind of the variety of different ways that musicians have been able to start exploring the immersive medium as well and how they can use that to amplify or allow you to immerse yourself if you will into their music in different forms formats really like across whether it's socially whether it's more like whipped cream like which is like a Interactive music video a full album with I and I which I think was that on your list? No, so I and I from director sin chin Wong from Taiwan co-produced by the French company room and so There's so many different ways I was seeing and so I thought it kind of felt like a good year to really showcase all those different things in those different ways that Musicians are intersecting with this world of immersive art. Yeah that

[00:07:34.833] Kent Bye: Chen Hsien-Huang as well as Jean-Michel Jarre had created this, I guess there's going to be like 18 chapters, but there's four chapters that we're showing here that you could see two at a time, but this going through a volumetric space and immersing yourself into the music. Yeah, I really enjoyed that one in particular, especially the first chapter because it was like exploring all these themes of surveillance and I know Jean-Michel Jarre and Vroom They've also been doing a lot of experimentation with creating these different types of music concerts that you actually go through these different VR chat worlds. And they've actually, the VR room was having their own immersive concert platform that they started to launch. I think there was a special event. Being here, it was a little bit difficult, but I had a chance to see it ahead of time. What was it called that was the...

[00:08:19.162] Blake Kammerdiener: That is the Vroom Party. We did two things with them. So what they did is we worked with them on our VRChat world. So we still have a VRChat world. This year we really had that focused on networking and making that a space available for people who both couldn't be here or could be here but wanted to interact and intersect and network with those people who might not be here as well. or maybe a good after-hour space to jump into, you know? But then they also had the Vroom Alpha Party. After doing all of these events, so many events across a bunch of different social VR platforms, they decided to create their own social VR platform now. And so this is kind of the alpha version of that. They did a live show in January, I believe, and we did some rebroadcasting of that as one of our special events this year.

[00:09:07.938] Kent Bye: Yeah, it's kind of like you're going through a virtual world and exploring around. And actually, there's a number of other, like using the 360 video as a medium to explore different dimensions, ESPA VR in particular, Amaze. I know there was the Into the Hottiverse that was here last year that was kind of kicking off, and they had a whole going on. For me, I really enjoyed the fidelity of how high fidelity it was. It gave me this real sense of going into another world, and the J Balvin Futurum Also, I mean I for me it felt like there was a going into a space where it felt like more of a like a theatrical projection like a intersection between like having like more theatrical staging and performance with the 360 video and more of a stereoscopic 180 but this way that you could show a recorded performance and have some dancing around that was Yeah

[00:09:57.213] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, exactly. So what I did with the XR Experience Special Events this year was I was looking at different platforms and different ways that musicians can have an event in a metaverse space, right? So we did Neil Woolin, which we made with Sandbox, their metaverse platform, right, from China. And they had more of a installation-based performance around a recorded musician, right, that they were able to put in the space. And then we had the wristband mirror shot experience, which is going to be a more live interaction between a physical performance and a virtual space. And then the room alpha party is more of an avatar based performance. Whereas then we had sound waves actually, which is where we built out a space in the metaverse and then input volumetric captured artists and did kind of like a showcase within that. And that's actually still going on now and will be for the next few days during music. And then on the floor, like you were saying, the J Balvin piece, that shows this interaction between really high fidelity stereoscopic 180 video kind of melded into a virtual world, right? So you can still have that in a social environment. And so like really that goes back to what I was saying about all these different music type pieces really showcase different ways that you can utilize the immersive arts and meld it into the music world.

[00:11:16.807] Kent Bye: Yeah, I think another really unique thing about this year's selection was how many haptic-based experiences that I was able to see from Symbiosis, which premiered at IFA DocLab back in 2021. I had a chance to see it when it came through Portland. There was Body of Mine, which is more of a, I guess, less of a haptic and more of a full embodiment. Experience the temporal world which had a whole haptic vest that was custom-made and then forger which you're laying down, but there's Subpac that's underneath there that has this connection between the sound design and the haptics and so yeah lots of really interesting Explorations of haptics this year so yeah

[00:11:51.615] Blake Kammerdiener: add to that because again not haptics but more of the if you think of the body of mine and the like full body capture experience I'd also had figural bodies into that which was this research piece out of Goldsmiths University in London where they put on a capture suit and then did a live stream with a dancer here on the floor and a dancer live in the UK at the same time and they did this 360 stream where they would dance together and create amorphic avatars, right? And really it's an exploration of accessibility and creating comfort for people of all bodies and all types in all forms and fashion. So it's also a really beautiful piece that kind of fits into that mold of something we don't see all the time, you know.

[00:12:35.500] Kent Bye: And did you have a chance to see the symbiosis at some point?

[00:12:38.841] Blake Kammerdiener: I sure did. I was the toad. It was amazing. I've been waiting for three years to try that. I remember first meeting up with them in the 2020 IDFA market, actually, when they were doing kind of like a pitch, and with a tiny little demo there. But it was the 2020 year, you know? So I did that remotely. And then I really, like we stayed in touch for a long time, really trying to figure out a way to bring them here. And so I was so excited to finally get in a suit. Yeah.

[00:13:04.990] Kent Bye: Nice. And the temporal world haptic experience I think was also really unique in the sense that, I don't know, there's something about the haptic explorations that really give me this deep sense of embodiment and with the Forger, as well as with actually the In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats had a sub pack, but also like wind haptics and Forger had like a little bit of wind haptics and as well as like smell that was happening. So these multi-sensory dimensions, but yeah, I'd love to hear any thoughts of In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats.

[00:13:31.740] Blake Kammerdiener: So here's the thing about that is I didn't actually get to try it myself until sometime this last year and I did it at home by myself. But I couldn't help but by the end have my hands in the air and dancing my ass off, you know, because it's beautiful storytelling going through that documentary story at first and then as you weave your way through and then finally get to the warehouse, I found it to just be an incredibly moving and just like all encompassing way to tell a documentary about that scene. It was fantastic. I was so happy to see it. So many people get so excited about it as well. It was like nonstop excitement about it here at the festival.

[00:14:09.079] Kent Bye: Yeah. I think the, probably the most unfortunate thing is that only eight people per hour could see it. So it's just more of like a throughput thing. I mean, that's, that's one thing that I also noticed about this year was that there was like 150 to 200 people that were all lined up right at 11 AM. And then you have this mad rush of everybody trying to get on all the lists and then It kind of dies down a little bit. I don't know if you've thought about like something I mean you have like the Venice immersive which is a little bit more niche in the sense It's smaller for like a very specific audience But I feel like there's something about like the pre-scheduling that can be beneficial but then when you have everything book up then you have this Tension between people that are able to get into some stuff, but then you can schedule things for longer But then if it's shorter then you have extra gaps and then if people don't show up then yeah you have this kind of like Trying to figure out the right queuing system to do that I don't know if you've because there was such a flood of people that were coming through there and like there's so many more people that wanted to see the experiences that could actually get into different ones and so it's sort of like a Happy to see so many people but at the same time realizing that a lot of them are gonna walk away perhaps frustrated and

[00:15:12.938] Blake Kammerdiener: So it's a delicate balance and we've done it the same way actually since we began and with a slight evolution over time, little evolution. But the theory behind it is this, so exhibiting in VR or XR where especially in the headset pieces or especially with the haptic components, there's always going to be a throughput issue. Always. Like as of now there's not a clean solve for that. when it comes to what we do here at South by Southwest is really like the key to the value there is our audience because we have this huge blend of audience right and my goal was always when thinking through this was because I did I like I went to the different events that were doing similar type of exhibitions and I would see how they would do it and think about it and see if I could evolve it even more but my idea was around getting people into the room, whether they're going to be able to do an experience or not, and then engaging with the creators. And I always tell each creator, like, you need to engage your audience outside of the headset as well, which is why we give them the opportunity to do the build outs that they do on our floor. It's really an opportunity for them to catch the eye of our audience and start the conversation around their story, even if that audience member isn't going to get to see the full piece, right? And I've always been of mind that if you do a pre-sale, pre-sign up, then it will sell out instantly just as it does every morning. But then everyone will think it's sold out. Everyone will know it's sold out and won't come into the room. I really love the community that grows in that space and in that room, which is like the most exciting thing to me. Like I want all the people to get to see projects, but I also want them to get to meet the creators, meet each other and grow the community. And that's really what it's all about. And so that is why I insist upon daily sign-ups and sign-ups at each individual booth so that people come in and they instantly engage with those creators. It's also why I really like try to encourage the creators to be there the whole time or as much as possible of course so that they can engage with that audience and that's where the value is going to come for them is in meeting the huge variety of people who come here to South by Southwest.

[00:17:22.004] Kent Bye: I guess part of the tension for some creators is that they have to go into different degrees of credit card debt or even just to pay to be here and then there's no docents that are supplied and so they have to provide their own hardware oftentimes as well as they have to be their own docents for their own project. And so has there been any thought or discussion around getting more resources to support the creators to be able to either have more funding to travel or funding to support for docents? It seems like it's already kind of a strained industry. But to even exhibit, it's also additional financial strain on the creators. So I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on the dynamics there.

[00:17:58.445] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, of course. So South by Southwest, number one, we've always been a very DIY event just in general, right, across all the sectors. And you're very, that's very true about how hard it is. So it's funny, I always go around and every time and thank everyone because I tell them I know how hard we are and I know how hard it is to be here. I do definitely work with certain countries and I'm always writing letters and trying to get them grants outside of our ecosystem because there are grants that exist in different sectors in different countries and we do help some when those grants might not be available in certain ways. We also have different programs connecting them with students here in town and some help here and there. It's all a little bit less formal and a little bit more like matchmaking. So that is like one of the ways we've always been able to try and help. But we know that it's a very hard and so one of my goals and one of the things I'm always thinking about is where is the value and where is the ROI for those creators because I want to make sure that they have that and I want to make sure that that's there for them. And so that's why it's so important for me to really like I do lots of personal invitations and making sure that the right people come to the room because that's really like when it comes to South by Southwest, the most important thing that you're going to come out of it with is number one, a large variety of things and different for everybody. But one of the biggest things that we always say is we're the place that you might find your next collaborator, your next funder or your next distributor for your project. It can be across so many different ways that you find that value here at South by. And it's not always what you thought it would be initially.

[00:19:31.189] Kent Bye: Yeah, that makes sense. And I always loved being here because it is quite an intersection of, you know, there's the tech folks that are here, there's the music folks that are here, and then there are also all the XR and storytellers and filmmakers that are also here. I guess another big thing that happened this year that was new is that we have a lot more mixed reality experiences, where we've had Eggscape, which I first saw at Tribeca, and then at Venice, and then now we have the Quest Pro, and also other headsets that are able to do mixed reality. We had Yuki mixed reality, as well as the Rockets that had a little bit more of a using the Quest pass-through, experimenting with laying down. And then Unearthed also had a MetaQuest Pro that had some mixed reality components. So yeah, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts around as we start to enter into the realm of mixed reality and what you're starting to see in terms of trends of what you find compelling when you think about the mixed reality component.

[00:20:21.430] Blake Kammerdiener: I'm so excited, honestly. That's been one of the places that excites me the most because I think it'll be more accessible to people in terms of how comfortable they are getting in. Some people, definitely new people in the space, might not be as comfortable just going all the way out. Some people do want to be immersed enough more than, say, utilizing a tablet for an AR project. So the mixed reality has always been one of those places that I've been really excited about, and I was so excited to see so much more coming through this year. One of the things that excites me the most about it actually is the artistic expression that can happen within a build-out or a stage set that people build. Think Eggscape, how they built their tiny little playgrounds across the words that spell out Eggscape across around their booth. And then how engaging and how many different artistic points you can have within that set. I don't know, I find it super exciting. I've been in on it for a long time. In 2020, before we canceled, we had like going to premiere the first in-house made Magic Leap piece and we had several other Magic Leap pieces and HoloLens pieces on the floor that year. It was going to be great. And then it kind of took a step back and a slow down in those years and had to kind of build back up. But I see it coming more and more and I'm very excited about it.

[00:21:32.248] Kent Bye: Yeah, I really appreciated like the beginning of Unearthed where you start to have things coming out of the ground and you know like Yuki mixed reality also has like this portal dimension and yeah with the eggscape there was just like literally a moment where I was looking up and one of the characters floating around I was like having the VR giggles. It was so delightful to see that.

[00:21:51.428] Blake Kammerdiener: That's exactly right. The VR giggles is the best thing to say about Xscape, because I had it throughout the whole thing. I just kept on, like, and the multiplayer aspect of it, that was so much fun being able to, like, be like, oh, you're over there. You need to look at those diamonds hanging up over there. You go get those diamonds, you know. That was really amazing, really fun.

[00:22:09.568] Kent Bye: Yeah, I really enjoyed that piece. Well, let's talk a little bit about the two winners. We have first this special jury prize of Body of Mine, which is an embodied experience of looking at these trans stories and yeah, using the concept of virtual embodiment to talk about body dysmorphia and gender dysmorphia. So yeah, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on Body of Mine.

[00:22:31.257] Blake Kammerdiener: I instantly, that was one of the projects that it was funny because I didn't have all of the trackers, right? So I was emailing back and forth. I was like trying to find some trackers in Texas or close around so that I could get it set up. And I had watched a play through. But I was instantly enamored with the stories, right? So it started with the stories that are being told. And then I was able to like get in the space and then I couldn't get, I was trying to like rig it out so I could do it without the trackers and it didn't work, but it was able to get me in the space and see that. And so I found it to just be like instantaneously a beautiful and very touching set of stories because it rolls through several different stories as you're going through and you're listening. to these people's experience and they're beautiful and amazing and so touching and so I was really happy to see I did get in it and try it with all the trackers here so so you know but it was so lovely like incredible to see all the reactions like I can't tell you how many people came out of there just like so touched and just crying and sobbing and hugging the creators whether it was about part of the story that touched them personally in a similar level or one about just like the idea of a safe space and being able to have to create your own safe space. But it was one of the more emotionally compelling and just deep projects that I had seen throughout the year. So I was very pleased when I heard that our jury had selected it for a special award.

[00:24:01.910] Kent Bye: Yeah, especially being situated here in Texas and all the reactions of that issue and trans discrimination and, you know, Cameron being from Texas and having like a there's a that piece actually has a lot of stories that are coming out of Texas as well.

[00:24:14.710] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, it does. And so I found it exceptionally pertinent to our situation. I felt that also, you know, and, you know, luckily we are in a liberal place, but we're in a liberal center of a very, very conservative area. So but our state, our very conservative state government is right here in the midst of us, you know, so there's a lot of struggle between our city and our state government that lives here. So I found it exceptionally strong and pertinent in this place and time.

[00:24:42.338] Kent Bye: Yeah, and the Consensus Ginium is a piece that I really, really enjoyed in terms of just the level of immersion that you can get from looking at a cell phone and having this multi-layered story unfold through the mechanisms of apps and videos and text messages and FaceTime calls. And I thought just the way that Karen Palmer was able to put together this piece was really effective at exploring this speculative near future where face tracking and AI algorithm bias and violations of cognitive liberty were really pertinent and timely, presently timely in terms of where things are going. And I mean, there's certain aspects of facial tracking and other stuff to be able to have this interactive component. But for me, it was mostly the immersive quality of looking at this phone where how many people have spent so much time using the phone as a portal into another reality already in our day-to-day lives. And this was just an opportunity to have this science fiction, speculative world-building view into where some of these deeper patterns may be going. So, I'm excited about that piece, just in terms of the potential for it getting distributed out to a much wider audience, because the great tragedy of a lot of these pieces is the distribution can be very fraught when it comes to either the virtual reality, augmented reality, or other dimensions of XR. But this could potentially be just a phone app that could get into the hands of a lot of people. And I'm excited for this type of storytelling to get out into a much broader audience.

[00:26:05.670] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, I've found it hard over the years for storytelling through a phone to be effective. But the moment I watched that, I was instantly enwrapped. And not only that, I think one of the jurors said it best one time when I was talking to them and they were like, I couldn't tell if it was over and I needed to, or if the message was really to me and I needed to hit send or something, you know? And I was just like, absolutely. And they were sitting there in the booth. I did it personally on my own phone. And there were many times where I was like, wait, wait, wait, is this? Is somebody texting it? What's happening here? It is so effective and so enthralling and yeah, with such a deep story and connection to what is happening right now in areas and how the dark side of how it could evolve, you know. being able to get that story out. One reason to have these stories out there is to hopefully help maybe stop that evil future, if you will, you know. But I was so pleased and so happy when I first saw that from Karen because it really does show how even on the smallest screen that we all have, it can fully immerse you, which was why I thought that it was a perfect fit for our XR Experience competition and our immersive It's a great, different style of immersive art that people might not be used to or think of as immersive normally.

[00:27:26.785] Kent Bye: Yeah, and as we start to think about some of these other experiences in terms of the stories, you can think about it in terms of 360 video, or there's more immersive theater and VR chat, and there's more just traditional PC VR based. There's some animation based. And so how do you, first of all, think about breaking down these other experiences in terms of genre, or in terms of format, or what's the way that you make sense of it?

[00:27:50.928] Blake Kammerdiener: So I always start, first and foremost, I go through and I start with the story or the art first, right? So I'll go through our whole list. We'll go through all of our submissions. I watch everything. And then the cream will rise to the top, you know, and so I'll look at everything. And first I look at story. And so then I'll go through and we'll start looking at, OK, what kind of stories are we telling? What kind of art are we showcasing or is up here in this top? And then, where is it from? Because we're looking at, when you're programming, you look at so many different variables. It's not just straight, we play good things and that's it. You're looking at tons of variables because we really want to show different perspectives. A diverse array of creators and diverse points of view from around the world, right? So this year I felt really good about the international perspective that we were able to showcase. from really all over. And so that is kind of where I start from. And then once we do that, I'll start diving down and I'll have some conversations with my associate programmer, who's Gael Moray this year, which was just lovely to have her on our team. And we'll like, it's one of my favorite parts of the year is to be able to have those conversations and really dive deeply into some of these projects and what they're doing, what they mean. and where they're coming from. And so that's the lens, but it really always is content first, content focused, content first. That is the most important thing. And then we'll look at and discover the variety of types that we wanna tell and where those are coming from, so yeah.

[00:29:18.907] Kent Bye: Yeah, what were some of the stories that really stuck out for you?

[00:29:22.332] Blake Kammerdiener: I was in Wrapped with El Beat, which is the story of Black Diaspora through Columbia about a group of slaves that were brought over and escaped and created their own village in the mountains. It was something I'd never heard of. It was a story I did not know. And it was really beautifully told, very beautifully told. in both animation, how they animated it, and some integrated volumetric capture type of work that they did. It was just fantastic. Then, let's see here. There were two projects we played, actually, that came out of the Ukraine war. And there was one from a Ukrainian and Czech co-director. Fresh memories the look where they just went into the space and really allowed you to be with some of the victims of the horrors that are happening there in terms of just like Standing in the destruction and being able to look them in the eyes is very very touching and strong and effective and And then another one, these are both 360 videos, and the other one was You Destroy We Create, which was really looking at the war on culture and art that is being waged by the Russians on the Ukrainians right now, and the destruction of the culture and art, the history that has been taking place. You know, we had, let's see, a story, Stay Alive, My Son. It was about a Cambodian genocide and how the destruction of the family structure that can take place during these horrible times of war. So there's always a really, like, personal look at some of these horrors that have happened around the world that were made so touching and so beautiful this year that were very effective. And then let's see here, on the story side, a beautiful animated piece was Jailbirds. And we were able to premiere the second and third episode. I believe the first episode premiered maybe at Tribeca last year. I think it was Tribeca 2021.

[00:31:11.708] Kent Bye: Oh yeah, yeah.

[00:31:13.149] Blake Kammerdiener: And so they were able to come in and create the next chapters of that story. And so we were very lucky to be able to premiere that for our audience, which is really like a deep dive look into a cell with these roommates or cellmates in a jail. who have an escape mechanism, let's say, you know, it's really, really beautifully told story. Yeah, I mean, I could go on and on and on.

[00:31:35.017] Kent Bye: I wanted to also just highlight for me, like, I really enjoyed Jailbirds. I saw the first episode in 2021, but to see them all together, yeah, just to see the arc and the use of animation and the spatial medium and this stylized nature. I really enjoyed the featuring of the Targo stories and both the JFK memento as well as the behind the dish. I feel like Targa stories are continuing to really push forward the volumetric spatial storytelling starting in the 360 video now moving into more of six off type of experience with JFK memento and so I feel like You know just really solid storytelling and always appreciate what they're doing there now

[00:32:12.535] Blake Kammerdiener: I think their craft of documentary is very special and to have watched it evolve over time. That was a tough call because we have so few spaces and we don't often play multiple pieces by the same group of director, producer. We had one in a competition in our world premiere with JFK Memento, which was just such a beautiful use of space and archival images, right? It's just absolutely fascinating how they blended the two. Then yeah, and then we had behind the dish in our spotlight section, which again, just like their showcase, their craft of documentary, it's just kind of special, I think. And so it really ended up making sense in the long run. Yeah, I would also say Lou, call out Lou from Montreal, a group from Montreal, which was a two part story about a child with autism. And the first is told from the perspective of the mother when he was a child. and what that experience is like between the mother and a child with autism. And then the second chapter was told from the point of view of the son when he was in high school and he had a hand in making it, like this was like a family project kind of, you know, is beautifully, is so beautifully told and really like, it's like shows kind of one of those special components of what the medium can do, you know.

[00:33:33.060] Kent Bye: Yeah, it was one of the interviews that hopefully I'll be able to catch up with those directors because I really want to hear the backstory because it was a well-told story but it was also like the backstory I also want to hear because I feel like there's another dimension of how they even came to create this as a piece. You know, one of the pieces that I think if it were in the competition would have done quite well was the MLK Now Is The Time because I feel like some of what they're doing with the structures of storytelling of trying to take Martin Luther King Jr.' 's speech, I Have A Dream, but to take other aspects that are a little bit less explored and look at dimensions of both the the voting rights and the police brutality and the redlining and generational discrimination that happens with housing. And so to be able to use the medium in an interactive way to tell that story I thought was really quite powerful and moving for me. I had seen it before but then also seen again here just to kind of refresh my memory of it. I found it really deeply moving and also just innovating when it comes to the structures of storytelling.

[00:34:33.583] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, that's exactly how I felt. So one of the things that, cause that has already been released and that's one of those things. So like we play a handful of projects each year, usually maybe one or two that have already been released because I feel like most of our audience probably haven't seen it. Right. Maybe they don't have a headset or maybe they do, even if they do a lot of these types of projects, they're not the ones that Like you said, not everybody has a headset. It's still like still a very small percentage of people who have that and can see that. So that's why I like to showcase some work that's already been put out there. Right. And with MLK, I found it the exploration and the depth of the full speech like that in a way like I haven't seen that before. It was really, really beautiful and fascinating and effective way to dive into the full breadth of what Dr. Martin Luther King was talking about. in the I Have a Dream speech, because so often we just will hear a clip, you know, a little snippet, but there was so much depth across the whole speech, and to be able to not only get to hear more of it, but then, like you said, interactively dive into and get a full understanding of what he was talking about, I found very special.

[00:35:42.927] Kent Bye: Yeah. And there's another immersive theater piece from the Fairman Collective, as well as Gili, which was interesting just to get a little bit of that backstory, just because the South Korean company Gili had licensed Welcome to Respite. And then now Fairman Collective helped to adapt the Finding Gili for South by Southwest. They said that that was actually accepted for South by Southwest, but they needed to translate it and adapt it for an American audience. And so, yeah. Any thoughts on that?

[00:36:11.788] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah. So I'm always fascinated about the space of live theater in a VR space and what you can do there. I, I love that there was actors who are participating in the different shows over the last week, all over the world. You know, like one show I walked over, where are your actors now? They're like, um, one in LA and one in Bangkok. Awesome. It's fantastic. Yeah, and so I did it. I had originally seen the Korean version, and then I did some walkthroughs with their team, and then I was like, for South by Southwest, it's important that we have some sort of, it has to be in English, but you need English subtitles of some format if you're really gonna connect with the mass majority of our audience, which is very international. And so I was just like, would you have an English version? And then I find out that they had started talking to the Feynman Collective about adapting it. And I thought that was a wonderful pair, like you said, because they had already worked together on Welcome to Respite, going from English to Korean, which was really kind of like a lovely full circle. And I hope to see many more works adapted between the two of them.

[00:37:16.550] Kent Bye: Yeah, it's just interesting to hear how they were kind of feeding back and forth different innovations and insights for the medium as well as they're working on it. One of the pieces that I thought was very visually alluring was the Invited, which was this AR piece, but an AR pass-through, so it had this kind of mixed reality type of experience, but just to see the exquisitely designed pop-up book with these sculptures, but lit in a very dramatic way, but also have the Pass-through where it was creating this sort of broader context sometimes that it was really like for me one of the most immersive pass-through AR experiences I've ever had in terms of like being tricked or fooled through like what I was seeing and not always knowing what was real or what was being modulated and so I really I loved the way that they were able to create that transportative nature and just going into a little black room and creating a really sparse environment with really dramatic lighting and to see how what they're able to create actually created the conditions that made an even more compelling pass-through AR experience.

[00:38:17.899] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, I've been obsessed with Kristen and Davey's work since I first met them when they were pitching the invited or they were workshopping at Creative XR in London back in 2020, I believe. And I met them first then virtually, you know, then I didn't hear about the piece for a while. And then when I heard that it came up that they had finished it, I was instantaneously excited because agreed, I think that the way that they're number one the book the handmade artistry of The pop-up book that they created there was one of a kind, you know And then to then go because they're not normally just immersive creators, right? They do all sorts of different types of art and projection and things like that and to be able to take some of those learnings they've done from say projection mapping and then actually like create that into an AR pass through utilizing that technology to kind of create some similar effects that you would get. I've just found just genius, honestly, like artistically genius how they did that. So I was beyond excited and honored to be able to premiere that project.

[00:39:24.192] Kent Bye: Yeah, it's really, really well done. As we get into some of the other stuff that you had curated from other locations, from the main square, took away the second place at Venice, and that was a piece that I felt like, you know, actually having the conversation with Pedro R.S. I actually appreciate even more what was done because you have this handcrafted nature to it, but it was a lot more interactive than I was giving credit to it when I first saw it, but understanding how I constructed this interactive animated piece that just transported you into this animated city with all this conflict that was happening. That is also very timely in the sense of what's happening in the political context of Brazil. I thought that Both very timely, but really, really quite powerful piece as well. And glad to see that other people were able to have a chance to see it because it's one of those pieces that I think is just really well architected.

[00:40:12.997] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, it was one of my favorite pieces of the circuit over the last year, honestly. Like I found that, like you said, like the interaction is minimal in what you would think of as normal interaction because you have what a little like microscope that you can like kind of look up or whatever, you know, and see things a little bit closer. But really the true interaction is how they've created this sound versus visual transition as you'll hear something behind you and go and look for it. And then the story progresses behind you. You don't even know it's happening, you know, and it will change for everyone because everybody's going to focus in different areas. Everybody's going to turn at different rates. Like I found it like mad genius as I was like, as I saw it and was really excited not only to be able to exhibit it, but also whenever they exhibited it here, the way they over the course of the exhibition, built a wall of these hands. They had one of the artists here, Danny, and they would draw out pieces and components from the film, and then they'd cut them up, and then they'd stick them to the wall. And so the scene grew, just like as it does in the piece. It was very secretly meta. I loved it.

[00:41:28.122] Kent Bye: They had mentioned that to me at the top, but I was so focused on trying to see all the things and talk to all the people that I missed that progression. I hope that's documented somewhere and that people can take a look at it. A couple other ones, there's Spring Odyssey, Shib the Metaverse, and Mrs. Benz. Mrs. Benz is one that I really appreciated the environmental design of that piece. The story is also really compelling, one that I had never really heard of, but just the exquisite nature of doing this environmental design to tell that story.

[00:41:53.595] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, exquisite. That's that was what caught me also is it was absolutely beautiful like just Detailed and also like in a really good like you said telling a story I'd never heard a new story in a interesting gamified way That doesn't always work, but worked really beautifully here with just purely due to all the detail of the work It was just gorgeous

[00:42:17.222] Kent Bye: Yeah. And the Spring Odyssey in terms of like using augmented reality to look at like our relationship to the earth in terms of like what happens when there's radio activity to certain plants and sort of blowing it up and having a narrative as you walk around it. Yeah. I feel like for most part, I'm still very much more interested in virtual reality storytelling, but I think there is a place for augmented reality storytelling. And as you're moving around a place and getting some sense of like, your body having a relationship to these virtual objects in a way that they're blowing up and trying to highlight, I guess, the ways in which, you know, there's a whole installation that was on the side that I really appreciated that was like grounding me back into the physical reality of how the radioactivity was modulating different aspects of these plants. And in the virtual experience, you can see it more in a spatialized sense and more of a virtual context, but more of a spatial context as well. So, yeah, love to hear any thoughts there.

[00:43:08.332] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah I've struggled over the years with having certain AR projects really truly draw me in and so for the longest time we've only played a handful of AR projects each year you know because I struggle personally to connect through them right but with this one yeah like you were saying I found it so interesting both the like there's this minimalist physical sculpture that grounds the piece initially right and then really like builds in in a beautifully again kind of minimalistic way but telling such a important and engaging story that you may not have thought of in this way and so I'm found it very like graphically beautiful but without trying to do too much. So many I find AR projects just try to do too much and that's kind of one of the places I struggle is I feel like forced interaction which happens I feel like a lot and so this is very the progression of the story is very natural and grounded to a beautiful small little sculpture I found just kind of lovely.

[00:44:11.185] Kent Bye: Lewis, agreed. I think one of the last ones that maybe we'll talk about here in this moment is SHIB, the metaverse. I'm personally not a huge fan of cryptocurrency in general, but in terms of seeing it interact, mostly because there's a lot of crypto space that have co-opted the term of the metaverse without actually doing anything what I would consider to be anything metaverse-y-like, but to actually have an immersive experience that had a nice little meditative experience on one hand, and then the other open-world exploration of a world that had these coins that you're going around and collecting and got me to look around this space. I'm still relatively skeptical when it comes to cryptocurrencies in general. I felt like it was a nice short and sweet little experience. Certainly it'd be one of the ones that people could at least get in and see if they wanted to see it was something, but also have a little meditative element. Something that was a little bit surprising, but still I have personally a little bit more skepticism as to how this whole buying and selling of these virtual plots of land is going to play out.

[00:45:09.491] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, so that was the thing that caught me is that it is, like you said, so many different like crypto companies have been like, oh, we're the metaverse or whatever that is, you know, and the SHIB is one of the few that actually launched a metaverse space. what you would think of as not anything at first, but then actually have followed through and built an immersive environment within their Metaverse platform. I thought it was really awesome and an honor to be able to showcase that first space that they built on their blockchain. Like you said, it's this really meditative space that they built at first, but also, there is functionality in how it interacts with the coin, which is really interesting concept kind of moving forward for to create an actual like I don't want to say material or solid or physical like this is wrong, but an actual connection with the coin and the metaverse in a real way.

[00:46:09.577] Kent Bye: Yeah, a couple of just other ones to give a shout out to. I saw Once a Glacier at IFA doc lab and did an interview with the creator there and just this exploration of, for me, the juxtaposition between the glacier at the beginning and the glacier at the end and using the spatial medium to explore that change over time and then also the rockets by pillow with lucas risotto and just the sort of humor aspect of that piece that feel like both the sort of gaming interaction but also laying down which i thought was somewhat unique and different and this kind of like humorous element that we won't dive much more into but it literally made me laugh out loud which is kind of rare when i watch these immersive experiences

[00:46:48.830] Blake Kammerdiener: Yeah, Lucas is a talent like purely like he's just a talent and this is very it's like whimsical and there's so much room for expansion in both say the rocket story or anything else in this concept of being able to lay in bed and relax and Be in a new space right and I don't know like Lucas's art is Just so beautiful and so touching, you know and so many different ways and this is just such a beautiful whimsical piece Absolutely.

[00:47:18.944] Kent Bye: Yeah So any other final thoughts on the selection of anything you we didn't touch on or things you want to just highlight

[00:47:26.537] Blake Kammerdiener: I don't know. I just, I guess I'll just wrap it up with like, I felt like it was an extremely strong year in terms of innovation and storytelling, like you said, utilizing other like haptics or smell and exploring story, art, music. and the melding of immersion in such a beautiful way. Like, I cannot tell you how, like, from the very moment we announced our lineup, everybody was just like, instantly like, what an amazing lineup, what an amazing lineup. And I'm just like, for me, it's like, it's not about me. It's about these projects. And it's about these artists who are really like pushing through and really doing the thing that they love to the fullest and to the complete. to tell their story in the way that it needs to be told, or show their art in the way that it needs to be told, or explore a new way that, say, like, with music, like, there's such a traditional, like, aspect of music and how it's done, and to really, like, dive into this immersive medium and be able to, like, meld their art with that. I just found it such a beautiful and wonderful experience this year, and I'm thankful to every artist that came out. I'm thankful to all of our audience that came out. It was a really, really wonderful year.

[00:48:40.432] Kent Bye: Awesome, and I guess as we have the question I always also like to ask everybody is what do you think the ultimate potential of virtual reality and immersive storytelling and the future of music might be and what it might be able to enable?

[00:48:54.383] Blake Kammerdiener: Oh, I heard a really interesting thing. It's going to be like, it will be in everyone's hand when you can do your mundane tasks with it, right? Which I found really funny. But whenever you do that, once it does go wide, if you will, in whatever format that is, I'm excited to see how the artists move and evolve their mediums and their art to whichever format that takes. One of the things I have found most interesting about the immersive community in general is it's the creatives who have been taking and bending and evolving the tech. to show their art and tell their stories in the way that it needs to be told. And so to see this like technology that is being formed and shaped by the artist is what excites me the most. And I'm excited to see what they do with it in the next five years. I don't know.

[00:49:46.598] Kent Bye: Awesome. Is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say to the broader Immersive community?

[00:49:51.181] Blake Kammerdiener: Come to South by Southwest. It is a ton of fun, and you will be inspired, hopefully, just as I am every year.

[00:50:00.807] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, as always, I had a great time here seeing all the different experiences and being able to talk to so many of the different creators. And yeah, I'm just really excited to see where the artists continue to take the medium. On one hand, I hope that Meta would at some point realize what's happening with indie developers and immersive storytellers and find additional ways to bring broader support to the distribution channels and everything else. But I think you're doing a great job at least highlighting what's happening in the space and all those other sort of how this continues to propagate out into other aspects of the industry is problems yet to be solved fully. But for me, it's always inspiring to see what is possible with the medium and what artists are doing. And it's always great to have an opportunity for them to show their work and to get the feedback that they do at a place like this. So, yeah, thanks again for doing all the work to curate this show and yeah, and for sitting down to help unpack it all.

[00:50:50.133] Blake Kammerdiener: Absolutely. It's my pleasure. Thanks so much.

[00:50:52.428] Kent Bye: So that was Blake Kamadiner. He's the Senior Manager from Film and TV and XR Programming at South by Southwest and also curates all the different immersive art and curates all the different immersive panels at South by Southwest. So I found different takeaways about this interview is that first of all, overall, my experience at South by Southwest was just absolutely amazing to be able to see all the different art and all the pieces and to be able to talk to all these different artists and creators I ended up doing. 24 interviews with different people totaling over 20 hours of conversations. And yeah, there's even more conversations that I covered that wasn't covered here because there are certain projects that were being shown at South by Southwest that I've already previously covered, including the wristband platform, which launched last year at South by Southwest. And then at Venice Film Festival, I covered eggscape from the main square, Mrs. Ben's stay alive, my son. And then afterwards there was an immersive doc that was released. called You Destroy, We Create, which is an immersive 360 video about the war on culture in Ukraine by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And then at the IFA DocLab, I covered Once a Glacier, Symbiosis, and Impressive Repetitive Beats, which was the winner of the IFA DocLab Award for Immersive Nonfiction. And still for me is one of the most amazing immersive storytelling experiences that I've seen in quite a long time. Quite a visceral integration of all these different dimensions of documentary storytelling, embodied experiences, and yeah, just really a transportive and engaging and immersive piece that I highly, highly, highly recommend folks try to check out if you do get a chance of seeing A Pursuit of Repetitive Beats. The Symbiosis has all these unique explorations of haptic experiences, and yeah, tried to, the best I could, try to cover as many of the different experiences as I can. There's always going to be a certain incompleteness of how I can, like, feasibly chat with everybody, but I did the best I could to be as comprehensive as I could, but also cover different dimensions of what's happening in the larger XR industry. So, you know the thing that Blake is saying is that it's really this intersection of folks that are coming together from the technology Fields from arts and culture and film and immersive art as well as the music and all that fusion that's happening With all the folks that are at South by Southwest and I'd see just generally it's probably like the immersive festival That's the closest to pop culture, you know The type of experiences like a maze VR makes sense to launch at South by Southwest not only because it's a music experience but also because You have this location based transition for a piece that shows there at South by Southwest to then show at other places as well So you kind of see these different immersive art pieces are gonna be launched out into different distribution channels Whether it's like the Phi Center or other museums around the country, you know Portland had a whole exhibition of symbiosis at the Portland Art Museum Center for untold tomorrows That's here in Portland, Oregon where I happen to be based but there's more and more I think places and opportunities for immersive art exhibition and Estrella had a chance to talk with Danielle to go and cover what's happening in the forms of distribution on that front. And yeah, other conversations like with Jesse Cohn to talk about the pieces that are here and the process of getting press coverage for immersive artwork like this. And yeah, just overall had an amazing time at South by Southwest. And yeah, looking forward to getting the series out there for folks to kind of digest all the different innovations with all these different confluence of what's happening in XR. And I think, you know, the thing that I'm stuck with is like at 11 a.m. you'd have hundreds of people rush in and get scheduled in for these variety of different experiences. And I would love to see like a hybrid approach where people could potentially stand in line and wait list and just be able to pop in still. And to have like a little bit of more of a hybrid approach But I mean it is difficult when you have things where there are very fixed time frames Extended number of slots. Yeah, there's not gonna be a lot of people that are gonna be able to see everything You know, like in pursuit of repetitive beats has like eight people per hour I think they showed like five different screenings per day. So it's like 40 different people so 160 people are able to see this experience altogether over the course of a The conference and so yeah, that's just and there's thousands of people that are trying to come and see everything So there's not always going to be availability for stuff like that So yeah Tribeca is the next immersive festival and then Venice after that and then hope to be able to make it out to both of those and see all the rest of you at these festivals and Lots of continued innovations and oh, I guess I also gave this whole talk about the ultimate potential of virtual reality Promises and perils I'm still waiting to get access to the footage and yeah, hopefully either make that available on YouTube channel either as a podcast episode or maybe even put it behind my patreon paywall because I you know Just I guess one final shout out is that you know all this stuff that I do is majority supported by patreon and I I Yeah, so if you enjoy this coverage and find value of it, then I could really use the support to be able to help allow me to continue to not only document and archive what's happening in this immersive industry, but also to travel to all these different places. You know, all this cost to go to these places is not cheap. Sometimes I have my travel and accommodations covered. That didn't happen this year at Southwest Southwest. So if you appreciate the type of coverage here, then please do consider becoming a member of the Patreon. So Anyway, that's all I have for today and I just wanted to thank you for listening to this episode and maybe potentially many different episodes from this whole 24-episode series of different experiences and folks that are in the XR industry. Yeah, I had an amazing time and hope to at least help to tell some of the stories and document some of the different experiences that are happening here at the SXSW. Yeah, thanks again for joining me on the Voices of VR podcast, and if you enjoy the podcast, then please do spread the word, tell your friends, and consider becoming a member of the Patreon. This is a listener-supported podcast, and so I do rely upon donations from people like yourself in order to continue to bring you this coverage. So you can donate and become a member today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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