November 20, 2019
Introducing Spatial interviews

With our Fall Update, we introduced a new way to learn more about the amazing artists pushing the envelope of virtual reality (VR) art. Spatial Interviews are similar to audio tours or podcasts, except in the MOR, these are captured moments you can walk around in and experience like you were there. In addition to a guided tour of Sean Tann's Complex Chaos, we now have two new Spatial Interviews in the MOR, one with VR artist John Orion Young and the other with sound designer, Em Halberstadt.

Complex Chaos (2018) by Sean Tann

A major consideration when designing new features for the MOR is making sure we lean towards the strengths of the medium. For the past few months, we've been exploring potential ways to provide more of a background to the pieces we feature in the museum. Since reading text in VR isn't nearly as fun as it sounds, we felt it would be interesting to integrate or even build upon the information on the museum labels by tying them more into the spatial experience.

Spatial Interview with John Orion Young beside See These Ice Creams (2018)

So what's the benefit of having the interviews in VR? A huge one is context. In the interview with John Orion Young, for instance, you're not watching a flat video recording, rather, you're standing in the same space with him and his art as it happens. Similarly, the Complex Chaos tour features Colin Northway talking about the technical implementation of the piece while guiding visitors through the room. In this way, the artists can refer to certain aspects of their artwork or the environment they're in, unlocking more opportunities for commentary and immersion. We're experimenting with different formats as well, with Em Halberstadt's interview being a volumetric video recording as opposed to an in-avatar recording within the MOR. This format allows visitors to actually see the artists, inclusive of their likeness and mannerisms.

Visitor viewing Em Halberstadt’s volumetric Spatial Interview beside  Capsule (2017)
Visitor viewing Em Halberstadt’s volumetric Spatial Interview beside Capsule (2017)

To trigger these experiences, pick up any phone you see in the MOR and hold it to your ear, the interview should start immediately. Since they are recorded, you can view the spatial interviews at any time, so there's no need to worry about time zones. There are many directions we'd love to take this feature, but right now, we're excited to hear what you think about it. Don't hesitate to reach out on Twitter, Discord, or Instagram—wherever you feel comfortable—with any comments, questions, or suggestions.

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