#865 VR for Good: ‘We Live in an Ocean of Air’ Location-Based Entertainment Experience from Marshmallow Laser Feast

Marshmallow Laser Feast is one of my favorite studios with projects like Into the Eyes of an Animal, Treehugger, Sweet Dreams, & We Live in An Ocean of Air. Most of their work has only shown at Film Festivals like Sundance or Tribeca, but last year they had a very successful run for We Live in An Ocean of Air at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Using existing cultural institutions like public art museum as a form of location-based entertainment is proving out to be a very successful business model. Especially as the type of social impact projects that typically debut on the film festival circuit are particularly well-suited for the demographics that visit art museums.

I had a chance to catch up with Marshmallow Laser Feast creative director Ersin Han Ersin in London in March 2019 after seeing the installation for We Live in An Ocean of Air.


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Music: Fatality

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.412] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR podcast. So I'm continuing on in my series of looking at the VR for Good movement, separated into four different parts. This is still part one, where I'm looking at the different economic models. So Marshmallow Laser Feast actually had a location-based entertainment experience called We Live in an Ocean and Air that was showing at the Saatchi Gallery in London at the beginning of 2019. So Marshmallow Lays a Feast has created some of the experiences that are my favorite that I've seen in VR so far. They have Into the Eyes of an Animal, which was at Sundance in 2016, which gave this point cloud representation of what the world would look like if you were like a dragonfly and really artistic and interesting type of experience trying to give you this umwelt of what it would be like to be another entity. Then they followed on to that, looking at tree hugger, which was at Tribeca 2017. So tree hugger, you were again, in this point cloud representation of trees, and they were trying to show the life cycle of carbon dioxide and oxygen. And they were like integrating all sorts of different haptic experiences as well as Smells and then they took that experience and they brought it out into a location based experience called we live in an ocean and air which premiered at the statue gallery at the beginning of 2019 and had like this five-month run very successful like sold-out run and so I wanted to look at the economic impact of that taking a social impact change like this trying to allow you to connect to nature in a different way give you this embodied experience and to show how a you know, the trees taking up this water and carbon dioxide and putting out oxygen and you're breathing that oxygen and there's this unending loop there. And in this experience, you actually get to see these fluid dynamic expressions of your breath and these point cloud representations. It's a social experience. It's got lots of smell diffused out and really just dialed in in terms of one of the best location based experiences that I've seen and highly successful. And so we'll be unpacking the evolution design of this piece as well as some of the economic impact of You know, what's it mean to put an experience out into a location-based experience as a way of picking a cultural hotspot and getting your piece out there, out into the world. So, that's what we're covering on today's episode of the Vistas in VR podcast. So, this interview with Ersan Han Ersan happened on Saturday, March 2nd, 2019, at the Statue Gallery in London, England. So, with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:02:34.237] Ersin Han Ersin: I'm Ersinn Andersson. I'm part of London-based collective Marshmallow Laser Feast. I'm one of the directors and creative director of the studio. We work in this intersection of art, science and technology. Probably one of the main line of inquiries and passion projects are revolving around nature or translating scientific information that deals with nature or biology. into experiences where one can actually alter their consciousness for a given time. And that's what I do.

[00:03:07.418] Kent Bye: Yeah, well, I saw Treehugger at Tribeca a couple of years ago. And talking to Barnaby, he was at that point saying, well, we're more interested in exploring what the limits of the technology are. And then fast forward a couple of years later, and that piece of Treehugger seems like it's evolved into we live in an ocean and air. And so maybe you can tell me a bit about that journey from where it was at Tribeca and then how it ended up here and what's happened with the experience since then.

[00:03:32.379] Ersin Han Ersin: Sure. So I'm going to start with the In the Eyes of the Animal, which was in 2015, and it was a piece that puts you in the sensory perception of four different animals and insects. And when we were doing that piece, we were involved with the understanding of Umwelt, Jacob Uxwell's theory of self-centered worlds. And while, when we were looking at it, we realized, oh, trees are actually alive. that led us to go to Sequoia National Park, Bristol Compine Forest, scan different trees to bring their stories. And Tree Hugger was a piece dealing in a relatively short period of time to produce, to launch. We had to drop some of the ideas that we wanted to include. One of them is this incredible symbiosis we have with plants, you know, animals and plants living in this black and white incredible coexisting, well actually we are probably more co-dependent but we are more dependent than they are, in a world and how do you translate that into an experience? And Treehugger stopped in a place where you witness something far larger than yourself. You see inner workings of a small ecosystem almost and you go up to canopy and you witness transpiration. But we never managed to bring the breath, the air, the oxygen that we share. We produce carbon dioxide, trees take that in, they give us oxygen back and this incredible symbiosis. And the other part was, although it was a four-people journey around a tactile representation of the sculptural tree, you were not actually connected. So you were going into an individual journey from the base of the tree to top. We live in an ocean of air. The whole point was, can we create a collective experience where one can see each other, but not in a way that's an avatar that you want to be, an avatar that you are in the most basic form. And it's not defined by you, it's like, what is our common thing? Like, when you take the eye color, the hair, and everything out, what are those most common things? That was one of the interesting testbeds for us. The blood circulation, is it the oxygen? And we managed to brought those in to create that journey. So, you know, on top of Treehugger, now we live in an ocean of air, obviously we are focusing on the oxygen cycles and the carbon dioxide. But beyond that, also going into this journey together in the form of blood and carbon dioxide and the breath itself. So probably this is the biggest progression from treehugger to here. And they are revolving around giant trees, but they have slight different narratives in that sense. And the most important part here is to reveal that invisible layer. You know, in the eyes of the animal, we explored a mosquito that sees CO2. What is it like to be a mosquito in a forest? You know, in the photosynthesis process, you see this incredible stream of carbon monoxide, oxygen just going around. You know, how can you put humans in that perception? So when you're standing right next to lots of ferns and mushrooms and this large tree, you see mushrooms are actually taking the oxygen like us. But the fur next to it is producing oxygen. So you've got this incredible connection between two as well as yourself. And I think we live in an ocean of areas exposing those invisible phenomena that our lives literally depend upon.

[00:07:09.017] Kent Bye: Yeah, having seen both experiences and the progression, there was much more of a haptic experience because you have an insulation of a tree and you're able to touch it and the smells at that point I think were almost like right up against my nose and it was like almost being very aggressively injected compared to the much more subtle smells that are here comparatively to that. But the biggest difference I'd say is being able to breathe and see the breath. I mean there's other people that I'm able to see the breath of other people but to see my hands and to see the blood flowing through my hands through the representation of the pulsing oxygen that was like connected to my heartbeat on top of being able to just breathe out and see that breath and the fluid dynamics of that to be able to play with it and to see how that same level of oxygen and carbon dioxide was being ingested and put out by the other trees and ferns around me that it just had this more visceral connection. I think I got that much more this time than I did the first time and so Yeah, it was this transcendent experience in terms of seeing interconnections of how me as an individual is connected to the larger ecosystem. And I think that in looking at VR as one of the big powers of VR, that connection to that, I call it kind of like the Yin archetypal journey where it's like you're dissolving your ego to see how you as an individual is connected to the larger whole. I think this as an experience does that probably better than any other experience that I've seen so far.

[00:08:37.827] Ersin Han Ersin: Thank you for saying that. I think the whole transcendental experience part of it is really important for us because meditation creates this altered state in your brain. It's not that very moment, but it's what happens afterwards, because it reflects on your perception of reality and changes your, not mood, but the profound understanding of what reality is. And apart from the environmental messaging that goes with the piece, the oxygen, carbon dioxide, we can't cut trees, we can't do deforestation, we have to be careful about those things, but beyond that, It's what you feel in the installation is important to me. But what's more important is when you take the headset off, when you go to nature next time, do you start seeing those particles? It's like, do you see the oxygen is coming from that fern and the mushroom is taking it? Do you see those inner workings, the sapwood is flowing through that tree? Because probably one reason that we are so careless is we don't see it. And how do you visualize and create almost a muscle memory towards other beings by just altering your perception or consciousness for that very moment? I think one other thing that progressed from Treehugger to Believe in an Ocean of Air was in Treehugger you are almost a floating consciousness. You are wearing those trackers, you're self-sensed by the environment, but you don't see yourself. So you are observing a journey, a drop of water, you know, circulating, starting from roots to the top. Here you have a body, but in a really abstract sense. And you are still who you are as a human being, but somehow transformed into the most basic form of what that is. I think that that is powerful. And again, you know, going back to what matters at the end of the day is, would you really see that oxygen coming out of your mouth next time when you take the headset off? That question, if you can get close to that, we would probably count ourselves this piece successful. Let's progress to the next one.

[00:10:47.059] Kent Bye: Yeah, well, I had a chance to do it twice just now. And the first time, I was much more focused on playing with the air, interacting with things, walking around, really exploring the space. And then you actually went out, and I was waiting. And then I had a chance to do it again. And the second time I did it, I was much more focused on trying to just take in the entire patterns of all the ecosystem and to just focus on my breath. And there was something really powerful of being able to see that visual depiction of my breath. Because you know meditation you're supposed to focus on your breath, but when you see the visual depiction of it in such a compelling way, to me it just felt like this is a natural meditative experience that was going to amplify your meditative experience. And I was just reading through the guest book and seeing how the variety of different reactions, but a number of people that were just really focusing on that meditative experience in the second time today, I was just focusing on trying to see the larger gestalt of all the different patterns And to me, there was so much richness of the complexity of those patterns that there's almost an overwhelm for people, especially if it's their first VR experience ever. But you're able to pay attention to so much that if there's any one comment that I saw over and over again, it's just that people wanted to spend more time in there and to really just take it all in. It's just so much information that you're trying to synthesize in that moment. But to me, there's just so many different dimensions and levels that I could see how There's a little bit of something for everyone in there.

[00:12:15.906] Ersin Han Ersin: It's really interesting, our long-time collaborator Natan Sinigalya, who implemented the real flute simulation alongside the WeWeWeWe team, managed to pull this off as a full-fetched simulation. And that's why when you sit down and when you just focus on one square meter of soil, nothing happens twice. Nothing is actually animated. It's all running based on the simulation. And when you see the richness of motion in such detail, then you can focus on your breath even more. And that is giving you this headspace of it's safe, but it's beyond just being safe. You know, like embarking on a journey for the first time in VR is quite overwhelming in general. And the most common comment at the end, everyone feels far more relaxed. So, working with Dr. Alan Watkins, he runs a lab around emotions and looking into pulse and respiration to identify what emotions are and he's got this theory of 20,000 emotions we have and we have one word for each and language is the main barrier for us to express ourselves. and how do you get a better vocabulary to express yourself, therefore we know ourselves better. And working with him to analyze and understand by looking at the data that we collected with the guests who gave their consent, looking at this anonymous data to see what is the emerging pattern. We don't have answers yet but I'm really excited for this part because one interesting thing in the production of this piece which started with Treehugger Because we have those multi-sensory elements and I'm coming from a visual background and you've got composition, you've got color, you've got textures and then you've got sound if you are working with moving image but now we've got the sense and there are tactile elements, we've got the wind and the heat and have those things come together to empower each other and how do you create a cross-model amplified moments within this narrative. It's quite interesting and we are constantly learning and exploring but where I'm going with that is we created this emotional landscape as the main timeline and the storyboard of the piece. It's not like, oh, this happens that moment. It's more like we want them to feel fear when they first go into this place because it's uncanny. You don't know where you are. It's a dark forest. And how do you amplify this moment? And working with the feelies for the scent and the heat, all the multi-sensory elements, looking into how can you induce fear? Not like we don't want them to be terrified, but an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach is necessary for you to feel connected afterwards. So looking into that narrative of emotions and coming to a place at the end, can you feel euphoric, happy and safe? And what does that do in terms of emotions in your body? And how can we actually provide that? Is it the color? Is it the sound? And currently everything is kind of trying to create that very emotion for that given time. And I'm really excited to see with Ellen Watkins' research Are we successful? Are those emotions that we gather through real biofeedback, breathing or the respiration and the heart rate, is corresponding to what we've done in terms of the storyboard, the narrative? And if it is, oh, we've got a formula. Now we can play with those. And as an artist, this is incredible. Now it's not color, texture, but it's perception. So as an artist, we have this ability of forming and molding perception. and taking people into a journey far beyond what visuals or sonic elements say. So this is a really interesting part for me to learn from this piece, hopefully to reflect on the following one.

[00:16:11.881] Kent Bye: Yeah, and maybe you can tell me a bit about some of the reactions that you've been receiving here at this installation that's showing at the Saatchi Gallery here in London.

[00:16:19.525] Ersin Han Ersin: There are two most funniest moments. A nine-year-old visitor gave me five pounds as a tip after seeing the piece. that was hilarious it's just like five pounds must be really big for him and it was like the idea of I need to give something because I had so much joy from this. The other one was we had a 91 year old our oldest visitor and she came off the headset saying that was the best thing I've ever done and it was like so rewarding but the interesting thing is Treehugger in the Eyes of the Animal or all the other artwork we do Often you meet people in galleries or festivals and galleries and festivals have this particular type of culture consumers and the age range is always limited and you don't have this incredible diversity that we saw here. You know, we're talking about more than 10,000 people and you get to get reactions from every age, every background in a slightly different way. But the most common thing is this relaxation at the end. That's something I can't put a finger on yet. So it's really positive so far. But I'd like to take that beyond what they said on social media or on our guestbook or you know face to face to a place where we can actually deconstruct the narrative, what they felt, look at it from a scientific perspective and understand how those experiences affecting our emotional well-being, not just that very moment, but afterwards.

[00:17:55.495] Kent Bye: Well, I happen to be here in London for a symposium on the immersive architecture of the internet, and before I was coming I actually didn't know if this was going to be still playing, if it had been extended. There was a bit of a first run and then a second extended run, but I guess it's been extended now into May, which according to what I've heard is it's pretty much been sold out since after the first week, you have pretty much a nonstop flow of people. And so there's been a real buzz about this experience that's gotten out in London. And so maybe you can talk a bit about that journey for Marshmallow Laser Feast as you have this first public distribution showing of some of your work and to see the response you're getting and then to now have what you're looking forward to is like the even longer extension into May now.

[00:18:38.323] Ersin Han Ersin: Yeah, we were joking every now and again, can this be one of those West End shows that runs forever till it dies, like 20 years future? Obviously, technology won't be there by that time, but it is incredibly rewarding because although Saatchi Gallery has been so supportive since the beginning and they've been really willing to get behind this type of work. And for an institution this size or a contemporary art museum or a gallery, virtual reality is often kind of an accompanying piece to an actual piece. Whereas here we have an actual piece. It is a piece itself. which them supporting this in the beginning and then suggesting the extension is so important for us to establish a place in this cultural landscape what we are can deliver in those institutions. Those institutions are so important. It's the cultural hotspots. I do respect many different strands of where virtual reality and location-based entertainment is going. from shopping malls to the places that you wouldn't expect. But for us, I think the environmental aspects of these pieces are in the core. And how do you propagate those messages into larger masses from a cultural point of view? So it provides another learning on top of every other campaign messaging that's coming to you every day about the planet, the Anthropocene and the extinctions. and how can you create a positive messaging on top of that coming from a cultural hotspot almost like a lighthouse that adds on top where it provides the last tipping point. So in that respect I think what we will be doing for the future and currently all the conversations are going we haven't decided yet to take it to the States or keep it in Europe yet having you know non-stop conversations Our dream is obviously to take this road right after, go to the cities that we can actually meet with new audiences. But one dream is building a parallel stage at the same time, take this into schools. While you have an exhibition at the gallery in Saatchi, and that's ticking, but can we take it actually to a school and turn their gym into a forest? Therefore, you're cultivating that culture in two ways. One aspect, the education aspect is important and non-verbal education is even far more important than kinesthetic learning that comes with it. And can we tap into that world and provide almost a system You know, we're all facing the same issues with virtual reality. How do you fund it? How do you distribute it? How can you make a living from it? And I think, you know, creating an LBE that is successful, hopefully will provide a longevity in terms of the life of the work itself. But if you can create a place where we can duplicate the same system and go to those places at the same time as a model, and they obviously feed each other, one feeds financially and, you know, culturally, the other feeds the education part and giving an example for those kids. So I think there are a few things that's going on at the same time for us and hopefully by May we will announce where are the other locations after this. And hopefully by that time we can have this parallel units going around the schools.

[00:22:16.818] Kent Bye: Well, I remember having my first experience of Treehugger and then talking to Barney B. Steele about the different things that I was actually seeing. I remember learning about, oh, okay, I never even tried to even imagine these different cycles of water and sap. Oxygen and carbon dioxide and how all those are fitting to the experience But it sounds like from talking to the operators that you know You try to give a very little amount of information as you can you don't want to like tell people what they're about to see to let them Be in that mystery or to have them figure it out and then as they come out have a little bit of one-on-one interaction with them to let them debrief or ask any questions that they want and And that's really a learning opportunity for them to have this embodied experience, to have this embodied metaphor of what they're experiencing with these life cycles within the context of an ecosystem. And then for them to be able to ask questions and to learn in the moment.

[00:23:08.260] Ersin Han Ersin: So fostering that curiosity is, I think, super important. We've done a small experiment that we are also planning to extend with Bo Lotto. We used Treehugger as a testbed. We took three groups of students, age ranging between 12 and 15, 11 and 15, into three groups and they all were given a text about trees. They all read. And then one group went into Treehugger, the other group went into a room to watch a film about trees, and the third group went into a room, did nothing. And they all came out of their section to answer some questions. So, kinesthetic learning seems like we are still waiting for the actual results because they are assessing the data. So, it's positive in the sense that kinesthetic learning helps, but there are so many arguments around that. We've got so many data points based on the current education system. We don't have enough data points to assess whether kinesthetic learning is working or not, and what level, and what kind of complexity or abstraction you can have to actually convey the information without actually telling anything. So, developing that muscle memory, you know, looking into systems. But I suppose... At the end of it, that curiosity is something we've been witnessing throughout those pieces. In the eyes of the animal, we didn't tell anyone what animal they will be. And they came out of, was I a fish? And then you explain that Dragonfly sees 300 frames per second. And that is the magical moment. So in the context of installations, obviously this is possible. You can have this one-to-one conversation. We are still looking into different models, you know, doing those small experiments to understand what happens if you were to present this on a platform. Therefore, if you don't have that contextual kind of encounter with another human being explaining you, how do you get that information without actually turning this into a documentary? Because it's not the point. So, certain unknowns there, but it's really an interesting and promising path for us to learn and hopefully reflect on the following pieces.

[00:25:19.489] Kent Bye: Yeah, well just in talking to the operation manager, Jamie, he was just telling me how there would be people that would not even have a ticket that would be at the gallery but that come and sit on these benches here and to watch people go through this experience just because they would see these very visceral reactions of people oftentimes having their first VR experience and that within itself became a spectacle to be able to watch and observe and watch the dynamics of those human interactions without even actually going through the experience and to me that was such a testimony to the experience that you've created but also being in this context of a gallery space that would invite people to come see this as a work of art and so just to watch people go through this experience has in itself been a piece of art.

[00:26:05.926] Ersin Han Ersin: What we call this is Tears of Immersion, and it's coming from a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is there are, I think, Saatchi Gallery has one and a half million annual visitors. So that means sometimes, you know, 4,000 people a day going through those doors. And this is a public gallery, it's free to come and visit. not this piece particularly, but we had to have a place where we can accommodate more than the headsets we have. So we created this observation deck. But it also went beyond because the people who are in headsets immerse themselves in that world, and the image that they are in is in the background, creating this voyeuristic, beautiful stage that they are performing. And this is an incredible encounter for people who are not going into it, but they still have a performance that they are watching, and this is a video installation. It's a real-time running simulation in the background. You never see the same thing again and again. It's constantly changing and shifting. So, allowing people to understand, and I often use this, there was this blog, I don't know if you remember, whitemanlookingatvr.tumblr.com, I think. That was lots of people, a man, a middle-aged man, open mouth, looking at things that you don't know what that is. And it's difficult, it's a challenge that VR often doesn't translate what's going on in headset. So how do you communicate? what's in the headset outside without making it super explicit but creating this installation in a space where one can actually sit, watch and gather. And also you mentioned we've got sense in the room and we have a soundscape designed to be in this room. You know some parts from the actual installation but it goes beyond that and it kind of adds on top of in-headset experience as well as for the audience who are watching from outside. So we are actually sitting in an installation room all together. It's an art piece itself. And some people are going into a journey beyond just this theory of immersion, basically.

[00:28:19.452] Kent Bye: Great. So for you, what are some of the either open problems you're trying to solve or open questions that you're trying to answer?

[00:28:27.683] Ersin Han Ersin: Well, you know, some of them are more understanding this emotional correspondence. I think it's going to be a journey that we will be studying forever, I suppose, because humans are too complex and emotions are far more complex than, you know, small descriptions on a paper. That's one thing we want to get an understanding of how those emotional landscapes being formed and informed by this immersive mediums or the environments that you create. Therefore you can formulate and improve. That's one main challenge and have multi-sensory storytelling can add on top or foster different things in that very hot spot. The other part is, from an operational point of view, what is the best way of onboarding? What is the best way of taking people out? And how do you remain the information that you gathered, whether you are told or you just experienced something? afterwards and does this stay with you for your life because at the end of the day you know one part of it is about the environment and it's so important that you take something with you out there and it stays with you just beyond the experience And, you know, improving that part is really an important challenge. And there are other technical challenges. For instance, what would be a better avatar? Again, maybe the same simplicity, but do we reveal the vessels? And do you see the hearts of someone? And what does that mean? And those are like little visual, emotional, you know, multi-sensory explorations. Hopefully we will be looking into it for the next piece.

[00:30:05.606] Kent Bye: Great. And finally, what do you think the ultimate potential of VR is and what it might be able to enable?

[00:30:14.400] Ersin Han Ersin: The better we understand virtual reality, actually we get better at reality. And altering that consciousness for that very moment is actually improving your, or potentially it can improve your perception of reality, so your normal life. So I think the works of VR that are tapping into that world are so important that I hold quite dear to myself, but also I think the full potential of VR is an incredible window and opportunity for us to understand reality better.

[00:30:50.010] Kent Bye: Great. Is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say to the immersive community?

[00:30:54.954] Ersin Han Ersin: I think I've said everything. That was great. Thank you so much for coming down and experiencing a few times. That was great. Awesome. Great.

[00:31:03.540] Kent Bye: Well, thank you so much. Thank you. So that was Ersan Han Ersan. He's part of the London-based collective called Marshmallow Laserfeast, and he's the creative director of the studio. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that, first of all, Well, it was an amazing experience. I really loved what Marshmallow Laser Feast is doing. Just to be able to take these different laser scans and to create these point cloud representations, but to give yourself a sense of embodiment and be able to actually see your breath, they have this special way of detecting your breath as you're breathing in and out. And just an amazing, masterful job of creating these fluid dynamic situations. I could just sit there all day just watching my breath in this experience. you know, the way that they try to connect you to the larger ecosystem, the larger environment, very immersive, you could see other people within the experience as well. And so it's a social dimension. I think the other interesting thing about this experience is that the people who are going through it become these performers, you know, they have this big area, which has projection mapped in the background. And then you can just come up into this gallery, the free gallery, the statue gallery that's in London, and you could just watch other people go through this experience. And it's amazing to see people take off the VR headset and you have some sense of what they're seeing, but not really until you actually do it. And just to see their faces and their expressions becomes like a whole spectacle within itself. And I really loved what they were doing with the docents as well, because the docents were helping you get into the experience. And then as you were coming out, they're there to help answer any questions and to really talk about the experience a little bit more, because as people go into the experience, they have all these questions about specific things, you know, and I myself went through it and asked a number of different questions after I came out of it. And I can imagine that people that also go through it, they get very excited and want to share different parts of their own experience or to ask different questions. So the other thing is that using location-based entertainment as a distribution platform to be able to get specific experiences out there. It pains me the fact that a lot of the work that Marshmallow Looser Feast has done isn't out in the broader area for lots of people to be able to experience it. Hopefully they'll be able to release some of their experiences soon, but just the fact that they're able to go to the statue gallery and pretty much sell out for the entire time, that creates this demand for people that want to have these immersive experiences. Saatchi Gallery otherwise is a free gallery, and so they're able to sell a number of these different tickets. And I know that the Saatchi Gallery has had a number of different other virtual reality experiences, and so they're in some ways becoming a little bit of this cultural hotspot within London. So becomes this issue of how do you bring about change in the world? And I think because the distribution mechanisms aren't fully fleshed out, you do have the capability to go to an institution like such a gallery or some other art institution and start to create an experience that's going to get out there and have people that are already in the mindset of looking at art and appreciating things in a very specific context. I think that was the other thing that was interesting to see is, you know, I go to a lot of film festivals where people are coming in and seeing these pieces, but this is a whole other art context. And people are, I guess, primed to have these types of experiences. Ersan Ahan Ersan was talking a little bit about how usually as a visual artist, you're looking at stuff like contrast and texture and lighting, but now all of a sudden you're adding what he calls the feelies, the different haptics, the senses and the smell. All these things that are essentially modulating perception more directly, you're modulating the perceptual senses. And so as an artist, they're starting to play with that a little bit more. Instead of having the smell injected directly into your face, like they had at Tribeca in 2017, they had a little bit more of diffusers that were creating more of a subtle context. I've seen other experiences. The cosmos within us had actually smelled docents that had these little smell sticks. having people that were holding those sticks up to people's noses because, you know, once you put a smell into a space, it's really hard to take it out. And so the cosmos within us, they solve that by having these smell docents who are putting up these sticks up to people's noses and then kind of putting them away to be able to control the smells that are in there a little bit better, but still lots of different ways in which they're exploring the different ways to integrate with your senses and the experiences. And I'm excited to see where they take this next. I know that they were pitching a project and they're actually one of the winners at the Impact Reality Summit. I think they won about $10,000 for their next project. And I hope that it gets funded and that we get to see it sooner rather than later. A lot of the work that they do at Marshmallow Laser Feast is trying to use virtual reality to have this synthetic experience, but it's trying to allow you to have a deeper understanding of the world around you. I don't know, I talked to other people like Mandy Rose who, had a specific experience with tree hugger and then she said you know she reckoned that that changed her relationship to trees and it's trying to break down these internal processes that are invisible and then if you can see it and visualize it then you can have a deeper connection and see how a lot of the process is actually connected to how we're able to actually breathe so just to see that it's a part of the ecosystem and that you know we rely upon all these different aspects of nature and that a lot of times if we don't see that or recognize it, then we can actually destroy the earth. And so I think a big part of what they're trying to do is to just tell that larger story. And I just love their aesthetic and I love their approach. And I just hope that, you know, there's some people that are out there listening and to just, you know, throw all the money at Marshmallow Laserfuse so that we can continue to produce these different types of experiences, especially after settling down on this location-based entertainment as a way to actually have this return on investment and to get the projects properly funded and produced so that they can continue to create these amazing pieces of work. So, that's all that I have for today, and I just wanted to thank you for listening to 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 become a member and donate today at patreon.com slash voicesofvr. Thanks for listening.

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