Imperfect VR


Imperfect VR is based on the idea that everyone can create their own Virtual Reality experiences.

A lot of current talk about VR is about technology and commercial opportunities. Some see it as a new art form. Others hope for applications that support healing or enhance socially desirable traits like empathy.  

Who owns VR?

For me, VR is primarily a playground to experiment with. Part of my curiosity is driven by the belief that VR is becoming an significant medium within the next couple of years. This raises questions: who owns VR? Who will be the ones that build these virtual worlds? A multi-billion industry? Some highly trained specialists? Or can it be you? Will you consume the medium from app stores or come together to create experiences yourself?

I developed the workshop to tackle this question head-on. In a few hours, you will create your own Imperfect VR experience with some lines of markup and code. The event is aimed at people who have absolutely no or little experience with computer programming. We start from absolute zero. Advanced participants get support to realize their ideas.

Normally you just need a (recent) smartphone and a laptop for the workshop. Cardboards will be provided. Be aware that not all devices work perfectly (some older smartphones don’t have a gyroscope which we need). This means your VR experience may be limited, but you will still be able to build the virtual world.

By the end of the session everyone will have constructed a VR world and will be given pointers for how to go on from there. We also discuss current politics of VR, perception, imperfection and watch a bit of Žižek.

We are not aiming for a perfect reality but will have fun in the virtual.

Imperfect VR is inspired by "Imperfect Cinema" by Allister Gall which in turn is inspired by the essay "For an imperfect cinema" by Julio García Espinosa.

The Imperfect VR repository on GitHub contains the files for the workshop and has further resources. The manifesto you see below is here. In the workshop, we use A-Frame, the web-based VR framework from Mozilla. All software we use is open source. The cardboard specification is open source, so it is possible to build them for yourself. We usually get cheap cardboards from places like eBay.

I have been running Imperfect VR Workshops at:

  1. BulletElectromagnetic Field, Guildford, UK (2016). Thanks to the wonderful EMF people for giving the project a start.

  2. BulletOff the Lip, Plymouth University, UK (2016). I gave the workshop as part of our group’s University event that featured a wide range of amazingly creative endeavors.

  3. BulletRoyal College of Art, London, UK. (2016). This workshop took place with the talented design students at RCA.

  4. BulletSpace art and technology, London, UK (2017). We had two packed days of 4-hour workshops with amazing participants.

  5. BulletFuture Imperfect Symposium, Plymouth University, UK (2017). Imperfect Cinema, Imperfect Orchestra, Imperfect VR.

  6. BulletDoomed Gallery, London. Great location. This workshop was part of Antiuniversity Now. London, UK (2017)

  7. Bullet7th Imperfect VR workshop at Vivid Projects. Amazing place. Birmingham, UK (2017)

  8. BulletA short workshop targeted at academics, given at the Games and Simulation enhanced Learning (GSeL) conference, Plymouth, UK (2017)

  9. BulletAmazing workshop with talented students at the Shanghai Maritime University, Shanghai, China (2017)

  10. BulletAnother workshop with great students at the Donghua University, Shanghai, China (2017)

  11. BulletBerlin! First workshop in Germany at the amazing Social Fiction Lab in Neukölln (2018)

  12. BulletLeipzig! Workshop at 35C3 as part of the Social Fiction Society. What started at EMF two years ago came back into the hacker community. A special event for me. (2018)

Imperfect VR Jams

What I am aiming at are two formats - jams and workshops. The workshops are geared towards beginners - starting without any assumption about your background or coding experience. The jams will be like game jams, people coming together for a day or a weekend and creating stuff together. Also hybrids with filmmaking, game jamming, and other is possible. Wherever you are, hit me up if you think about organizing a workshop or jam yourself.

The spirit of all this is captured in the manifesto:

meet me on twitter: @crcdng