#689: Ethnomusicology & New Music Rituals in VR

marlon-fuentesMarlon Fuentes is a ethnomusicologist who looks at the culture of how people relate to music through an anthropological lens. He’s an emerging technologist who is tracking how virtual reality provides new opportunities for new culture to develop around how people engage, participate in, and relate to music within the context of these immersive experiences. He previously produced 360 videos for Buzzfeed using their “Cultural Cartography” framework for producing engaging content, but he found that 360-degree videos required more participation from the Buzzfeed audience that was otherwise a pretty passive experience of consuming & sharing viral media. I had a chance to catch up with Fuentes at VRLA where he talked about some of the rituals that we have around consuming media, his ethnomusicologist take on cultural habits and emerging rituals in VR, the ritualistic & participatory aspects of memes, and communities that have hive high levels of commitment, engagement, and retention.


The Wave VR has been doing a lot of innovative experiments with creating new cultural and social experiences of music, and they’re featuring an intimate hologram concert in Imogen Heap’s home that’s debuting on Friday, August 31, 2018. Here’s the first episode of Verge’s Future of Music show that features the collaboration between Imogen and The Wave VR to create this immersive experience.

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

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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. One of my favorite things about the field of virtual reality is just that it's ultimately talking about human experience. And anybody that has something to say about the human experience has something to say about virtual reality, which is a lot of people. On today's episode, I talked to Marlon Fuentes. He's a ethnomusicologist. So he's looking at the anthropology of music, how people use music, their relationship to music, the rituals that they have around it. and it gives him a very specific insight into how virtual reality technologies are going to be used. During his day job he works for Tesseract SG as an account executive and they're basically replicating these different concert environments to be able to pre-visualize these different light shows and to give people a sense of what options are even available so that when they want to have a live event they would be able to have a virtual experience of that beforehand. And I think eventually we're going to potentially bypass this sort of live event aspect, although, you know, my sense is that that's never going to fully go away. But what virtual reality allows us to do is to do things that we could never do before. Just as an example, this Friday, the WaveVR is holding a concert with Imogene Heap. It's going to be in her living room. So they were able to do this photogrammetry of her home. They did this scatter company's depth kit capture of a hologram of her and then did all this digital manipulation of that so that you get to see this spatialized hologram of Imogen Heap in her home giving a concert. That's something that we could never do without virtual reality. It's just not feasible to get that many people into the intimacy of your own home. So there's going to be new things that we could never do before. So this is some of the things that Marlon is thinking about, just specifically, like, what are these new rituals and what are these new capabilities that the technology of virtuality is going to be able to enable? Now, in this conversation, it happened at VRLA, which was just on the heels of F8. there was a lot of talk about Facebook and kind of their mea culpa of the things that happened with Cambridge Analytica and saying, okay, we kind of screwed up here. Here are the things that we're going to do differently. And the big message that was coming through at F8 was we are going to use AI moderators to be able to basically create these safe online spaces. And so to me, it just felt like kind of like this dystopic technological utopianism that is relying too much on the capabilities of artificial intelligence to be able to moderate different aspects of our online culture that we have with each other. So there's this fundamental challenge right now that we have with what are the different economic behaviors and cultural behaviors and code of conducts and laws and sort of standards around these technologically mediated online environments to be able to actually create these spaces that we want to hang out in. And so it's this combination of technology and culture that is being both generated by the participants but also implemented by the people who are holding these different events. there's a to me what I see this concerning trend towards this over-reliance upon artificial intelligence technologies to be able to do things that are going to have these other trade-offs to our privacy to our ability to have free expression of free speech versus the real realities of trolls and civil attacks and having people come in and be disruptive and Harassing and all the essence of what it means to be a horrible human being online is going to be Amplified within these virtual reality environments. And so how as virtual reality creators Do we create the context and environments that we actually want to be in? But I think there's an element of culture and rituals that are going to be a potential solution to this, which is the fact that culture comes from people with stories and histories and myths and legends and jokes and rituals and rites and ceremonies and celebrations and who we say the heroes are, what the symbols are, all of these things that are adding up into culture. So it's a little bit more of a sociological and cultural view on things. And so we talk about that a little bit as well. So that's what we're going to be talking about on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. So this interview with Marlon happened on Saturday, May 5th, 2018 at VRLA in Los Angeles, California. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:04:29.730] Marlon Fuentes: My name is Marlon Fuentes. I'm an emerging technologist, creative technologist, whatever you want to call it. I'm a big fan of hackathons and making things and currently focused on working with immersive media.

[00:04:42.185] Kent Bye: Great. And so we were talking a little bit yesterday, and you mentioned the importance of rituals and ceremonies and VR. Maybe you could talk a bit about this anthropological lens that you've been looking at VR through.

[00:04:52.789] Marlon Fuentes: Sure. So I spent some time at BuzzFeed making 360 video content. And it was a very interesting experience. Obviously, BuzzFeed has a mega audience, very fun place to make media, and a very interesting lens that they see media through, which they call cultural cartography. But one thing that I did notice was that it's a very passive audience in terms of their media consumption. Being on the news feed and having the media just kind of wash over you, meme after meme, video after video. It's a very passive experience, right? It's kind of coming towards you. The most effort that you really have to do is click or at your friend's name and you've now participated, right? And one of the things that I noticed with our 360 content was that for that audience, it was a lot of work. when we talk to our friends and our colleagues that are in VR, that are working in VR, they're converted, right? They're willing to go that extra mile to consume the media. And so I got to thinking about what communities spend that extra time and that extra effort around their media. And I started thinking about rituals, started thinking about my great grandmother, who at the age of 100, I remember her watching mass on television every Sunday morning. And it was like, you know, don't mess with grandma. She's like in church right now. And I thought about, okay, well, for people that have a more intimate relationship with their media, where it's very important time, they set time aside to do it, they may have a certain chair that they sit in, you know, in the sports world, you know, people wear jerseys and yell at the television in their living rooms, so you can tell that the media has a very special role in their life. Then I started thinking about, you know, my girlfriend, she's really into ASMR, and will literally tell me, hey, you know, Marlon, I gotta, I'm gonna get off the phone now, because I'm gonna ASMR before I go to bed. Once I started digging into these different communities and I started seeing the size of these communities, you know, the millions of view counts on these YouTube ASMR videos, and I started to think about the retention levels of these videos, I started to think, you know, that is a great space, that is a great sandbox for creators that are working on media that does require that extra level of commitment to begin to think about how they can introduce immersive media to some of these different audiences, whether it's the

[00:07:13.158] Kent Bye: Virtual church going audience or the ASMR audience, etc Yeah, it's interesting to talk about rituals in terms of like usually, you know, we have birthday rituals For example where you know, it's a birthday party. There's this thing. Happy birthday There's the things you do or you go to church and there's like a certain ceremony that happens that's a ritual that people get into and there's this ritualistic component of a community and culture that we do and sometimes there may be things that we don't consider to be rituals like going to the soccer game and putting on your tribe's outfit and uniform and cheering and sort of like the different pacing of the different quarters and the baseball the seventh inning stretch and like the you know these different things that we do that We don't think of them as always rituals, but they have a very ritualistic component and I'm just curious like from you Do you have a anthropological background or like how do you like describe these like what what is the key? Uniform thing of these rituals across all you know human experience sure so for

[00:08:11.548] Marlon Fuentes: My background is in ethnomusicology so I can say that I am an ethnomusicologist. I graduated from UCLA and so a lot of what we studied was people's relationship to music. Whether their social life affected their music making or how the music making affected their social life. outside of music. And so thinking through that lens, you know, we can begin to see how different media events or different moments of spectating media can, you know, influence outside of the event itself. Take, for example, sports games, you know, and hooliganism, right? A lot of what happens outside of the stadium has a direct correlation to what happens inside of the stadium. And this isn't just, you know, for the live experience, but also for all the people that are watching at the bars. And so I think that, you know, we can begin to track and observe and to document these different type of phenomenon when we begin to see that level of commitment. You know, what are rituals, right? Well, oftentimes they come with, you know, these different, you know, let's use the word sacraments, right? Let's take the Super Bowl, for example. What are the sort of sacred foods of the Super Bowl, right? guacamole, you know, beers, you know, etc. And so we begin to kind of catalog these things and look at them and, you know, at the very least consider how a technology or how a type of media, a format of media that requires so much commitment, you know, hey, we're asking people to put a headset on their face, we're asking people to, you know, go through the trouble of, you know, running a certain type of computer, etc. how we might be able to tap into these different audiences and create additional value for them. Another great example, we were talking to some folks here at VRLA that are focused on making music-related content. Well, music fans are some of the most committed to their media. In the offline world, they will sleep on the street to get a ticket to a performance. They will wait to buy a particular album. for those of us that are collecting records, you know, digging in the crates, waking up early and going to a swap meet to go purchase our records. Higher level of commitment to our media. And so, looking at these different audiences, I know that, you know, Mixmaster Mike and, you know, Jonathan Winbush out there making some really cool immersive hip-hop related content. I think that these are great audiences to look and cater some of these immersive media formats to because they already have a higher level of a commitment to their media. And the way that I see it, they are, in many ways, rituals.

[00:10:39.738] Kent Bye: Interesting, yeah. Just thinking about, you know, when you go see a movie in a movie theater there's a certain ritual that you do to kind of get you into the process of being able to suspend your disbelief of having the lights sort of slowly dim down and then they have the trailers and then they have all this sort of, you know, before they have the trailers they have all this sort of ads and other stuff that's there but then the trailers start and then, you know, the lights go down and then you have this sort of title sequence that we're all familiar with and then eventually the film begins. Now you're in story mode, and I think it's that process that I feel like, you know, virtual reality, as you start to get into a VR experience, I think those rituals are still being developed, whether or not you're going to be embodied. Do you have an avatar? Do you have a mirror? Can you get a process by which you get, like, embodied into that body representation? And then, you know, so I think that is something that is starting to still be developed. But one other thing that I wanted to bring up in terms of ritual was this process by which Facebook is trying to create safe online spaces and also Generally, how do we deal with harassment online? I think there's a couple of approaches one is that it's like there's some people who believe that it's possible to create a technological architecture that is going to basically solve the harassment problem and I think for me i don't believe that's possible i believe that it's going to be some combination of culture and technology there's going to be some type of like creating a culture in a community and through rituals and ceremonies and other things that we have to do from a sociological and anthropological perspective which is an antithesis to the idea that you could technologically engineer culture independent of human behavior that you would somehow have AI moderated content where you'd be able to monitor the content. And if you have some sort of subjective AI that's been encoded to be able to discern what is acceptable and not acceptable and have some process by which humans are completely out of the loop and being able to moderate and create safe spaces. And I think that's the risk of that technological utopianism is that, you know, we create AI overlords that are moderating our free speech without much replications for how we are being able to have a say as to whether or not that was actually legitimate free speech or, you know, something that is beyond the bounds of free speech. And so I see that the antidote, though, is this more sociological, cultural development. And so I'm just curious to hear your thoughts about this combination of both technological development and the architecture of the technology, but also the role of humans of being able to participate and create their own rituals there.

[00:13:04.205] Marlon Fuentes: Yeah, well, this kind of reminds me of A Clockwork Orange, right, where this was really about free will and whether or not we can sort of be forced into better behaviors or acceptable behaviors. Well, in that film, it didn't really work out right the way that they thought it would. But ultimately, you know, I think what's interesting is, you know, perhaps incentivizing good behaviors. I look to the behavioral economists, Richard Thaler out at University of Chicago, the folks that are in charge of you know, understanding why people make certain decisions and how to nudge behaviors, to kind of quote his book. But I also think about communities that have already experienced this sort of cyber life, right? Thinking back to the space pope, the self-proclaimed one of the biggest popes in the world, he's in Second Life, and he talked about how communities, online communities, deal with trolls and how, to a certain extent, you've got to just toughen up. And secondly, how the community really swarms a troll and just kind of buries them. And so I think that idea of responsibility, and not only responsibility for yourself, but also for looking out for other people the same way a bystander, a good Samaritan should if they see something bad happening on the street, I think will be something that audiences and users of virtual reality And, you know, different types of immersive media will have to begin to understand is sort of their role in policing and, you know, monitoring their online communities and nudging for better behaviors. And whatever those better behaviors may be could differ around cultures.

[00:14:35.510] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I think that's the key, is that the antidote to this technologically mediated of AI creating these safe spaces, it's kind of like the responsibility of everybody that's there to create a culture and a community such that when there's bad actors, there's sort of a cultural pressure that gives that troll a bad experience. Or it doesn't somehow be satisfying, or there's a certain amount of resilience to that. And I think that at small scales, that's great. I feel like that's feasible. I think the issue is that once you get at the scale of something like Twitter, then then you have automated bots and people, IPs, like, you know, banning people is difficult because you can spoof the IP, so it's like, I think it's like, it gets to be difficult to be able to, like, really control and mediate that unless you start to be at the level of some of these companies to be able to find the unique signature of somebody's computer and then start to ban them at that level where you're like, you've identified them and you're targeting them and they're bad, but then I don't know, I just feel like this kind of goes down this road where if someone's a teenager and they do something bad then later on in their whole entire life they're sort of separated from this digital world that is going to slowly be merging with this real world and that like what are the truth and reconciliation processes like what's the inclusive future that we want to have with restorative justice and but yet at the same time being able to protect people so it's like this challenge of like whether or not we feel like we want to be protected and by losing our freedoms or Find a ways to preserve those freedoms, but also increase our individual responsibilities to be able to do some like self policing

[00:16:01.092] Marlon Fuentes: Yeah, well, you know, John Paul Sartre talks about how if we believe in freedom, we have to believe in responsibility, right? Through the process of acculturation, you know, people learn what the social norm is. In traditional cultures and in smaller cities, you may grow up where your neighbors are sort of your second parents. You know, if you do something bad, your parents are going to find out because somebody in the, let's just use the word village, told your family, right? These are stories that I would hear my father tell me about how he grew up in a small town and how the community sort of participated in his upbringing. I think that's something that we should kind of look to in the digital world, how that might play out. But when it comes to AI or bots, trolling people, I think that's where we can draw a line. I think that's where we can draw a line and leaders can draw a line and say, policy makers can draw a line and say, hey, if you're not an actual human, then you don't have a right to Sort of free expression in a way And I think that for the humans behind, you know, the avatar or whatever I think they can be held more accountable to some of these different behaviors, but it will be interesting to see what social norms are, you know, we hear Mark Zuckerberg talk about behaviors, you know good behaviors that they you know would like to see on Facebook and I think that I It's definitely a cultural perspective to a certain extent, but ultimately we have to decide collectively what we're willing to accept. More than anything, if we're going to be on these platforms, then understand that there are certain expectations on these platforms. I think that's something that we will just have to begin to accept.

[00:17:40.123] Kent Bye: How do you see this evolving with the cultivation of rituals from your background in ethnomusicology, like the process of how people experience music in virtual worlds? What type of things, based upon what you see happening in the real world, do you expect to also be replicated in the virtual reality?

[00:17:58.738] Marlon Fuentes: Well, you know, I think one of the things that's very interesting about music experience and music consumption in the real world is that many times, and these are things that differ across cultures, in the offline world, in some cultures it's acceptable to take additional experiential agents, let's say, to enjoy the music, to participate in the music. I'm not sure what that means for the virtual space, but that is definitely an aspect of the musical experience that may be acceptable in one culture and seen as obscene and unacceptable in another culture. For example, in different indigenous cultures, taking psychedelic substances and participating in musical performances is not only acceptable, but it's actually kind of a part of the process of achieving a certain level of musical ecstasy. But for other cultures, that's absolutely obscene. And so I think that, you know, in the virtual space, I think these rituals are going to be created, right? Let's take, for example, in heavy metal music, you have the mosh pit, right? How are you going to express this music and these emotions from the music in the virtual space? In a lot of African cultures, for example, or in Qawwali music, Sufi music in Pakistan, it is very normal to see an audience member walk up to the musician and throw money at them, dollars, put it on their forehead. How are we going to be manifesting those rituals, those musical rituals in the virtual world? Are we going to throw tokens? Bitcoin at the artist. One of the exciting things about entering this space is that these rituals are yet to be created.

[00:19:37.168] Kent Bye: I will say that High Fidelity has the High Fidelity coin and I gave a lecture at one of the Friday meetings and it was kind of a Q&A with myself and Philip Rosedale and people had the ability to like throw these cryptocurrencies, the High Fidelity coin at me and it was like these lines coming at me it was like this energy hitting my body and it was like this metaphoric expression of like you are speaking and for your speaking you are getting paid to speak it was probably one of the most satisfying experiences I had in virtual reality because it was like I saw a vision of the future where I was like okay I could be an educator can be a presenter I can talk Actually sustain a living of this but it to have a visual representation of that was like this this great feedback loop So I can imagine that that's already happened. But these little nuances of the rituals I think there's gonna be like as you were talking I was like thinking about the mosh like how would you replicate the mosh pit because you don't have colliders and you Walk through people but we can have haptic vests. And so what does it look like to like punch other people? you know with haptic vests, you know is all of a sudden gonna be like a a different mode of really using your fists, because that's the method. Or is it going to be body colliding? But body colliding, then if you do that, you're going to actually go through the person. So actually using your hands would make more sense. And so it's sort of like these new rituals of boxing. But I think the sensory experience of that could actually be very enjoyable as you're listening to the music.

[00:21:01.500] Marlon Fuentes: I think one of the cool things that I saw in Ready Player One was the depiction of the nightclub. You know, I've been a DJ for most of my life and, you know, played for many audiences. And that scene really kind of blew my mind, this sort of circular, cylindrical dance floor, right, where you can dance, you know, up and down this thing. I think this is really, again, going to be the exciting thing about manifesting and experiencing cultural performances in virtual realities. You know, what feels right? You know, what are people going to start doing? I mean, how did the mosh pit begin? You know, how did these rituals even start, right? Did somebody just decide to do it and then other people thought that was a good idea and they started going along with it? And I think ultimately when people feel free to express themselves, when they have the agency to do so, you will begin to see new rituals emerge. We've already started seeing that with a lot of the viral frames in different types of media, you know. Damn Daniel, somebody just did that and it became a meme, you know. I think in a way memes are kind of ritualistic in a way as well, right, as people begin to remix different memes and make it their own.

[00:22:11.901] Kent Bye: I see memes as a culture that's being produced by the people. It's like there's things that are coming from a Corporation or company or so very architected and authored, you know And yet memes are sort of emergent from an event that happens and then there's a sort of a cultural meaning that's put on top of it and there's the meaning structures of the words of the reinterpretation or the recontextualization that happens that I is coming from people. So in Ready Player One, for example, in 2045, their depiction is that most of the culture is coming from these big intellectual property entities. But I expect that at some point, that maybe by that time, people will be less consumers of those memes and those characters, but they'll be actively creating their own characters, or maybe they'll be more emergent. There'll be a little bit more of a diffusion of different representations and identities that are coming from this meme culture. And I think we've already started to see that with VRChat, you know, the Knuckles meme sort of like took off and it was like maybe the first generated meme from within virtual reality that really sort of across the chasm into the mainstream consciousness. There's obviously lots of issues with that meme and whatnot, but the point is that there's a user-generated aspect of people creating their own culture, and yeah, I expect to see a lot more of that.

[00:23:24.393] Marlon Fuentes: I think that one of the things that I've seen is very successful are creative tools. We have more photographers now than we did 50 years ago, thanks to Instagram. And I think that ultimately people are creative. A lot of the workshops that I've done with corporate executives, creativity, just getting people to communicate an idea in process I think has been one of the most challenging things, but at the same time brings us back to this idea that we're all creative. And I think that the more creative tools that are out there for people to use, the more they will be creating these different memes, these different new types of media. A lot of the success of BuzzFeed, for example, comes from observing and really paying attention to what everyday people, for example, Tasty, you know, somebody cutting watermelons a certain way that makes it really easy making a video of themselves, uploading it and getting tons and tons of views suddenly becomes a format for a video. And perhaps that's how we'll continue creating new types of media, new memes, new formats, new frames. But ultimately, I think the creative tools that are available for people to use will begin to show that.

[00:24:37.727] Kent Bye: And finally, what do you think is kind of the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?

[00:24:45.429] Marlon Fuentes: In the future, I definitely see VR and immersive media playing a large role in education. I think that my vision of the future is really a world where immersive media plays a very supplementary role to the role that real life experiences play. In school, I could see VR being a tool used in a larger curriculum, I see that education goes to a level where there's a lot more synthesis happening from the student. You know, in the past, you know, you can kind of go through school, get straight A's, do the extra credit, memorize everything, score well on the multiple choice test, but can you have a conversation with a stranger on a bus about a topic that affects everyone. I think that's sort of where I hope VR and a lot of these immersive medias play a role is in giving people the opportunity to really experience the material that they're studying. I do, however, push back on this idea of it being a silver bullet, the ultimate empathy machine. I tend to disagree with that. I think that real experiences, how you're raised, your predispositions are ultimately going to determine your level of empathy. And I think that there have been experiments such as, like, Scared Straight, for example. Scared Straight was a, you know, PBS special in the 70s where these kids were brought in, you know, these juvenile delinquents were brought into the prisons and scared straight by these convicts, you know, and these, I think that was very, very immersive. That created change. That created transformation, perhaps, in these individuals. Can immersive media do the same? We'll see. But I think as long as you know that you are in a headset in the comfort of your space, I think that you will still have that sort of wall between you and what is being portrayed. Can it influence you? I think so. But ultimately, I think real life experiences and predispositions will determine your level of empathy. So I see it as a supplement. I see it as something that has to go hand in hand with real life experiences. And human interaction, you know, I think that's something that, you know, things like trust, things like mentorship, I think those are things that are not going to go away. And so my hope is that emerging technologies that we're seeing today don't take away from our humanity, don't alienate us from nature, but again, help us live happier, healthier, and longer.

[00:27:11.076] Kent Bye: And is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say?

[00:27:15.684] Marlon Fuentes: I think that we have to keep our expectations in check when it comes to the outcome of, you know, immersive media. The Iñárritu exhibit, for example, right now, Carne y Arena, you know, my compatriot Alejandro Iñárritu, you know, this is a very powerful experience. I did it myself and I thought that it was fantastic, right? But in having conversations with people that experienced it, I did notice that Whether or not you can relate to that experience, whether or not you were raised in a home that was compassionate, that valued helping others, I think ultimately that sort of determined what action you might take after viewing that experience. I think that really keeping expectations in check about what immersive media can do and what the limits of it are, where we really do need the intervention of a human being, where we do need the intervention of a real-life experience, I think is really, really important because the last thing I want to see is for virtual reality or any type of immersive media to be sort of overinflated with expectations and for people to have this sort of like naivete about what it can actually do.

[00:28:30.265] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Thank you. So that was Marlon Fuentes. He's an emergent technologist and he's an account executive for Tesseract SG. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that first of all, Marlon was working at BuzzFeed and creating 360 degree video content and it was surprising to me to hear that the BuzzFeed audience was fairly passive because I think of these different surveys that people are taking they're going through the process of doing these surveys but he said that there's a little bit of this washing over that happens with this type of media which is that you just kind of get lost into you know scrolling on social media and it's kind of a distraction from what you are really wanting to be focusing on. But there's something about these types of media that people are still really engaged in. And so BuzzFeed has this whole cultural cartography system that they've been able to implement. And there's like a TED Talk from BuzzFeed's Dao Nguyen, who walks through some of the different aspects. So they're able to basically create this taxonomy of different aspects for what makes content go viral. Is it humorous? Does it make you laugh? Does it have a way for you to express your identity, saying, this is me? Does it have a way for you to cultivate community and to be able to help you connect to other people? Does it allow you to do something functional, like it helps you to learn something or do something practical that you need to do in the world? Or does it allow you to tap into some sort of dimension of your emotion and make you feel some very specific thing? And so BuzzFeed has created this cultural cartography of all these different aspects of what media is going to resonate with people, and they kind of create this equation to be able to predict whether or not a content's gonna really resonate with people. So they're really data driven that way to be able to actually, you know, generate this type of content. And with all that still, it was still surprising to me to see that the 360 video content was asking them to be participating a little bit too much. Now, over the long trajectory of virtual reality, I think this is a larger trend that we are in this a little bit of this consumptive phase where we're just letting the media wash over us. But that we are going to have these different dimensions of media that are demanding a little bit higher levels of participation from people. Like just for as an example, you're listening to this podcast right now, which tells me that you're a little bit more engaged and invested into diving deeper than skimming articles online. You want to perhaps do a little bit more of a deeper dive into some of these concepts and ideas. and to be able to actually apply them to either as a experiential designer, VR creator, or somehow participate in a larger evolving ecosystem of immersive technologies and special computing with virtual and augmented reality. So overall, I see that we're shifting from the information age into the experiential age, where everybody is going to be demanding much more participation within their experiences that they have. And so what was interesting was to hear Marlon talk about these different communities online, whether it's ASMR or these fans, these music fans who are so dedicated to the artists that they're supporting that they will, you know, spend the night on the sidewalk waiting for tickets to be able to for sure see them in concert when they're coming through town. So music fans are some of the most committed fans that are out there. And so what types of behaviors are we going to start to see within virtual reality? What are the new interactions that are even made possible with this new technology? As Lauren Celestig has said, there's these four different regulators to our society, including the technology and architecture and code that goes along with that, the cultures around it, the laws, as well as the markets. And so with a new technology is basically changing all of the other aspects, there's going to be new economies, there's going to be new culture that's going to be able to evolve around that. And there's going to be new rules to be able to actually moderate and control all of this. And how do you actually do that? And in some ways, there's this tension for how much is coming from the culture and how much is being mediated by those technologies. But there are going to be new things that are going to be possible that we've never been able to do before within the context of these music concerts. And I think the way VR is doing some of the most innovative experiments when it comes to that, and they've been able to raise a number of venture capital funds and do all these really amazing concerts and Shows that are really focusing on this group collaborative social VR experience of music online and a lot of ways a lot of the types of experiences that I've seen in the way VR are also really focused on you having your own experience within the context of these shows but some of the stuff they've done with ready player one and these different kind of almost like music videos, or you have this experience of like a light show, but it's a spatial light show, and it's like spatial storytelling that is being matched to the music. And this upcoming concert with Imogene Heap that's happening this Friday on August 31st, it's gonna be you going into the home of Imogene Heap and basically watching a concert in her home with a hologram of her as she's flipping in and out of reality through the diffusion of these particles using the technology of the Scatter VR's depth kit. So you're going to have this intimate connection to, in a lot of ways, Imogen's projection of her own consciousness with how she's created these different environments within her own home. And you're going to be able to have an experience of some virtual representation of the projection of her consciousness. And I think that that's what I find so fascinating, interesting, is that we're going to be able to have these intimate explorations of people's wavelengths and worldviews and and resonances with these symbolic representations of these different objects within these virtualized environments. And so what does that even enable? Just as there's the mosh pit, which in some ways is this emergent behavior of people acting out different aspects of their primal, urges to be able to come up with boundaries and fight with each other in different ways, but it's a visceral emotion of this conflict. And that just the same, I think we're going to have new ways of being able to have these symbolic representations of these different aspects of our human nature within the context of these virtualized environments. And I think music and these music shows is going to be a great way to be able to explore some of these different dynamics. Dan Deacon is somebody that comes to mind when I think about someone who's an electronic performance artist who's able to create all these really interesting social dynamics within people, playing all these various different social games and breaking people up into these different tribes and having these different dance offs and different things. It's these different rituals and ceremonies that he does within the context of his music show that makes it such a visceral experience. And this is something that I think is in our DNA. It goes back to these, music and song and dance rituals that we've been doing as tribes for millennia. And so it's just a part of our culture that has always been there. But what are the ways that we're going to be able to actually formalize them and being able to, you know, have these different group experiences within these ritualistic contexts? And what does the affordances of virtual reality really allow us to do that we've never been able to do before? And I think that's some of the open questions that the way VR is experimenting with. And I think a lot of other musicians like Bjork is also going to be creating her own fully immersive virtual reality concert, but also experience as well. And there's been lots of 360 videos that have been really starting to push this as well. But adding the social VR dimension adds this community aspect and group ritual dimension that I think is really fascinating. So, that's all I have for today, and I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast, and if you enjoyed 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 your donations in order to continue to bring you this coverage. So, you can become a member and donate today at patreon.com slash voicesofvr. Thanks for listening.

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