IDIA Lab is the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts at Ball State University, a public coeducational research university in Muncie, Indiana. In 2011, IDIA Lab built a large-scale recreation of the 1915 Panama – Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, within the virtual world called Blue Mars. Unfortunately, Blue Mars never took off as a successful virtual world, and in 2017 IDIA Lab was granted rights to Blue Mars’ virtual world technology from Avatar Reality, the company behind Blue Mars. IDIA Lab then decided to move its stunning historical recreation of the San Francisco Panama – Pacific Exposition over to Sansar, where you can visit it here.
Expect to do a lot of walking (or teleporting)…. it’s a delightful summer day and the birds are chirping…. and the experience is HUGE! There are teleporters scattered around the site that promise to take you quickly to various areas, but I discovered that they did not work. I tried several times to use one and failed each time. Oh well.
However, there is still much to see here. The architecture is on a monumental scale, befitting the world’s fair celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal, but also San Francisco’s recovery from the devastating earthquake of 1906. I understand that some of the architecture you see here was later torn down, so it now only exists in its virtual state.
IDIA Lab: 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair is an example of how a virtual experience can be repurposed and republished as the technology of virtual worlds evolves. I originally enjoyed it tremendously when it was in Blue Mars, and I’m so glad it’s here in Sansar.
Pop Loves Scotch is described by its creator, Steve, as “a VR poem, for Jon’s father and my own”. Jon is the American spoken-word poet Jon Goode, and Steve uses Jon’s moving narrative of living with his alcoholic father to devastating effect in an absolutely outstanding Sansar art experience, easily one of my favourite works so far this week.
Memories are evoked by unsettling dioramas scattered across a twisted landscape of fences and guns. A couple argues, surrounded by a swirl of black women in fluorescent red hair. A boy runs into a living room where a father stares blankly at a television. A young man lies on the floor after being assaulted by his father, who challenges his other son to a silent stare-down. The figures are several times larger than the size of the avatar spectator and painted in a vibrant patchwork of abstract colours. And through it all, Jon Goode recounts, over and over again, the rhythmic tale of how much his father loved scotch.
Go see this one. It’s an amazing example of the immersive power of virtual reality in art.
I first visited this enchanting experience, created by Nya Alchemi, yesterday evening. I landed under a covered terrace, surrounded by starry purple night skies and bridges lit by Japanese lanterns. The sound of tinkling chimes filled the air. A huge pale moon hung low in the sky:
You walk, and it soon becomes apparent that you are located on one of a myriad of rocky islands floating mid-air, like in the movie Avatar. To navigate between islands, you must use Sansar’s teleport feature to jump from one to the other (as the pictogram sign below indicates). If you are in a VR headset, you use the index trigger on either hand controller to teleport. If you are not in a VR headset (i.e., you are using Sansar in desktop mode), you press the CTRL button and use the mouse to select exactly where you want to teleport to, and then click the left mouse button while still holding the CTRL key to complete the teleport. Once you get the knack, it’s easy!
After hopping from island to island, you land up following a tunnel cut into the rock, and within that tunnel… well, I won’t spoil it for you. You go explore Wandering Isles. Enjoy the sushi 🙂 and see if you can locate the black cat!
Today I was part of a team of people who went into one of the most exciting new experiences in Sansar, the NASA Apollo Museum and Moonscape. The purpose of this visit was to allow Draxtor Despres to film a promotional video for Sansar. This new virtual exhibit hall, which was created by a company named LOOT Interactive, was first presented at The Art Of VR event at Sotheby’s in New York in June. It is now open to the public via Sansar.
At the entrance, visitors can watch a full-length movie outlining the U.S. space race to the Moon, trace the path of the Apollo 11 astronauts, and explore lifesize models of the Saturn V rocket, Command Module and the Lunar Module. You can even teleport to the surface of the Moon!
The Apollo Moon Museum is Sansar Newsblog’s Pick of the Day, please drop by for a visit. You can easily find it in the Sansar Atlas, it’s listed right near the top, or you can just use this URL to get there directly: https://atlas.sansar.com/experiences/lootinteractive/nasa-apollo-museum