VR is for everyone – and it's coming soon to an arts venue near you
It was great to be contacted last week by Catherine Allen, a BAFTA-winning immersive media specialist and founder of Limina Immersive. She approached tpr media to promote an exciting VR-only arts festival, Limina VR Weekender, which is taking place at Picturehouse Central this weekend (1&2 December 2018).
Catherine's company, Limina Immersive, curates VR-only festivals at arts centres and cinemas throughout the UK, introducing the wider public to VR and unlocking this new medium's creative possibilities.
Highlights include I Saw The Future (Arte, François Vautier) in which Arthur C. Clarke, the co-writer of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, reveals his vision of the future (it's scary how much he got right!) and Grenfell: Our Home (Parable, 59 Productions, Channel 4), an intimate portrait through the voices of its residents.
If predictions are correct, there is a high likelihood that within our lifetimes, VR will sit alongside mainstream cultural pastimes such as theatre, radio, books, film & television. By 2020, the VR content market is forecast to take $14 billion in revenue – $1 billion more than the US movie industry currently takes at the box office (Statista).
Catherine Allen, CEO of Limina Immersive says, "VR is an incredible emerging art form in its own right, and it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. There are a lot of people who have notions of VR being techy, macho, futuristic and sci fi, so they assume that it is not for them. I hope to challenge these assumptions and open our audiences' senses to an emerging new world of creative potential."
With the potential to overtake Hollywood, the VR industry can and must avoid some of the pitfalls of related industries, one key issue being gender balance. Catherine Allen is battling this head on by running events aimed at both men and women and curating content that will appeal to a female audience. So far, attendance at Limina events is 50:50 men & women, which is encouraging. Because it's new, there is the opportunity to create a healthy, dynamic and inclusive VR industry from scratch, but this will take effort.
Limina VR Weekender is being delivered in partnership with Royal Holloway, University of London, StoryFutures and AHRC Creative Clusters. To find out more, read Catherine's blog on Broadcast and watch her TEDx Talk here