Raspberry Dream Land: A Brief Introduction

Raspberry Dream Land is an invite-only artist platform which is accessible via desktop and VR devices. According to its “soft launch” announcement:

Raspberry Dream Labs is bringing to the world its brainchild –– the social WebXR event platform for progressive arts & entertainment – Raspberry Dream Land! A mecca of electronic music and alternative nights, creative hub and multisensory playroom opens its doors with an invite-only soft launch event in all major regions worldwide.

Our platform celebrates the solarpunk future coming into existence by uniting art, technology, sustainability and cyber-sexuality. Lose your avatar on the dance circuit to the live deep techno tunes, join the Central Plaza stage for the artists and brand talks, discover community generated 3D worlds, and experience the one-of-a-kind ‘Sense Magick’ Cyber-Tantra Ritual in the Underworld, the erotic playspace of the Future.

There’s not a whole lot of detail on the website so far, but the project has already attracted a number of artists:

Some of the artists associated with Raspberry Dream Land

There’s also a statement from the founder:

From multisensory academic VR study, 25+ IRL and VR events to [the] world’s 1st Burning Man in VR – over the past two years at Raspberry Dream Labs we explored how the potential of technologies-of-today can redefine self-expression, social entertainment and intimate connections.

While the interests in our events kept growing, we faced censorship from existing VR platforms which made us realize that while there is growing interest from users across the globe, there is no such platform that caters to these needs.

We are excited about our mission and the societal impact of what RD Land is going to unlock.

—Angelina Aleksandrovich, Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Raspberry Dream Labs

If Raspberry Dream Land intrigues you and you want to learn more, you can visit their website, join their Discord server, or follow the project on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The platform is currently invite-only, but if you want to add your name to the waiting list, you can do so here.

New Art City: A Brief Introduction

New Art City is a virtual world platform created by students at San José State University (SJSU) in San Jose, California, which is intended to be a virtual gallery and exhibition toolkit for online art exhibitions. As SJSU’s Jon Oakes told me, “It’s like [Mozilla] Hubs, but for artists.”

According to the project’s website:

New Art City is a virtual exhibition platform for new media art with a focus on co-presence and experiencing digital art together. Shows are real-time multiplayer and accessed using a web browser on computer or mobile device, with no need to register, install extra software or enter any personal information. Using built-in tools to manage artworks and room layouts, curators and organizers can create a show and hold a virtual exhibition online. Participants can attend virtual openings together, chat and see each other moving around the space while experiencing digital art in its native format.

In its mission statement, New Art City’s curation and product design prioritize those who are disadvantaged by structural injustice. An inclusive and redistributive community is as important to this project as the toolkit itself, and the platform seeks to support artists who face barriers in the traditional art world, promoting and amplifying works by queer artists and artists of colour.

Galleries are accessible via the New Art City website, and run inside your web browser (Chrome is the preferred browser). New Art City is not yet compatible with VR headsets, but the creators have built it in a way where this will be possible in the future.

Examples of galleries in New Art City

There are already dozens of exhibits available for you to visit. New Art City is currently in private beta, and access to exhibitors is granted on an invite-only basis. They are planning to launch open signups soon, but in the meantime you may submit a proposal for access here.

Sotheby’s Sets Up Shop in Decentraland

The current boom in NFT art has led to new partnerships between bricks-and-mortar art galleries and brokers and blockchain-based platforms, such as Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium Space, where such art can easily be displayed and admired.

Venerable art auction house Sotheby’s has just announced via Twitter that they have set up a digital replica of its London galleries in the blockchain-based virtual world of Decentraland, as part of Natively Digital, an inaugural curated sale of Non-Fungible Token (NFT) artworks (along with a discussion room on Clubhouse today):

Artnet News reports (this site is paywalled so use the incognito mode of your web browser to see this article):

Sotheby’s virtual gallery is a twin of its New Bond Street outpost, complete with five ground-level galleries—but instead of London’s tony Mayfair enclave, it is located in Decentraland’s prime art hub, known as the Voltaire Art District (map coordinates: 52,83).

A virtual version of Sotheby’s avuncular London commissionaire Hans Lomulder…welcomes visitors at the gallery entrance, top hat and all. 

The Observer website reports:

The NFTs that will be for sale include both the work of early, pioneering crypto artists in the field and more recent blockbuster stars; some of the names represented in the sale are Rhea Myers, Lethabo Huma, and Larva Labs. Recently, Christie’s scored a huge win with the $16.9 million sale of 9 Cryptopunks NFTs manufactured by Larva Labs, so that listing in particular is likely to score comparable dividends for Sotheby’s.

The rare face-masked alien CryptoPunk in Gallery 1 has a starting bid of US$480,000! Obviously, this is art that lies way, waaay outside my payscale!

If you want to visit the virtual Sotheby’s in Decentraland, read my step-by-step guide on how to get started, then type /goto 52,83 into chat (note that you should also be able to visit Decentraland as a guest, without setting up an account). Enjoy the art!

Catch the Cannes XR Marché du Film Festival in the Museum of Other Realities, Only Until July 3rd!

Have you ever wanted to strut and pose on the red carpet for the paparazzi* at the world-famous Cannes Film Festival?

Photo by Joel Ryan/AP/Shutterstock: Model Bella Hadid pose for photographers upon arrival at the screening of the film La Fille Inconnue (The Unkown Girl) at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France La Fille Inconnue Red Carpet, Cannes, France – 18 May 2016 (Source)

Well, this week, you can! The Museum of Other Realities (MOR), a social VR platform devoted to art and media, is hosting the Cannes XR festival, which (like so many other real-world events) has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to MOR’s Steam page:

We’re excited to partner with Marché du Film, Tribeca, Kaleidoscope, and Veer VR for a groundbreaking online event, Cannes XR Virtual. With a curated program keen on covering the full ground of immersive technologies and artwork, in connection with the art of storytelling and the film industry, this virtual event is dedicated to immersive entertainment.

Virtual reality has been linked to new technology and evolving modes of stories telling, the Cannes XR Virtual is known to serve as a meeting point for a futuristic, collective imagination. Professionals from the filmmaking industry, XR artists, producers, tech companies, and (location-based and online) distributors are known, and likely, to attend this event.

The virtual event will pan over 3 days, between June 24th and June 26th, 2020. Cannes XR Virtual aims to be a genuine growth accelerator for the XR ecosystem, fostering ties between XR players internationally, helping them to promote and develop their activities in collaboration with the film industry.

In this reimagined edition of the festival, Cannes XR Virtual will be presented in different formats on several platforms:

• All VR content will be available through the Museum of Other Realities within a new architectural design conceived for the festival. Several XR works and Cannes XR events will also be experienced in 3D, with social events, showcases, and networking possibilities giving center stage to inspiring tech leaders and artists to share their insights on VR as a new technological frontier and its impact on the global film industry.

• Cannes XR Virtual 2D live video stream: Conferences and pitching sessions/projects presentation will be accessible on the Marché du Film Online platform, and the websites of our partners, Kaleidoscope and Tribeca Film Festival.

• Curated in association with Kaleidoscope, the Cannes XR Development Showcase will announce 23 of the leading latest virtual and augmented reality titles currently in-development to be pitched and showcased.

• VeeR 360 Cinema: This program dedicated to 360 VR films encourages creators to push the limits of immersive storytelling. The selected films will be showcased in the inaugural VeeR 360 Cinema during Cannes XR Virtual

• 12 selections from the 2020 Tribeca Virtual Arcade are scheduled to make an exclusive debut. The line-up is curated by Tribeca Immersive’s 2020 programming and includes World Premieres which were intended to debut earlier this year, before the postponement of the 19th Tribeca Festival.

• Selected international directors, artists, and creators will be considered for the inaugural Positron Visionary Award at the 2020 Cannes XR Virtual.

• A network of Location-Based Entertainment (LBE) partners in several major cities in the U.S., China, and France will offer access to Cannes XR Virtual to journalists and guests who do not have a VR headset.

While visitors will experience the events live from June 24 to 26, they can be accessed anytime in the MoR up until July 3. Free access for attendees!

I popped in this morning to take a few snapshots to share with you, before work. This is definitely a do-not-miss VR experience! Be sure to visit the tutorial room first to learn how to properly navigate:

To take these snapshots, all I had to do is hold up my hands as if I were making a frame, and press the trigger! Very intuitive.

There is a handy map at the entrance to the sprawling virtual exhibition, next to a booth where you can customize your avatar, which will allow to you teleport to any part of the festival:

You can even see where both you and other avatars are currently located on the map!

The art installations on display run the gamut from whimsical to menacing. Many incorporate motion and animation. Sculptures bend, twist, and morph; colours shift. Schools of virtual fish and strange sea creatures win through the air. This is the cutting edge of immersive art. In some cases, you can even shrink down to tiny size and walk around inside the artwork!

Other pieces of art, created by artists using tools such as Medium, are static.

If you have a higher-end VR headset tethered to a gaming computer with a good graphics card (i.e., PC VR, as opposed to standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Quest), then I would strongly encourage you to purchase the Museum of Other Realities app from Steam, the Oculus Store, or Viveport, and explore this wonderful virtual exhibition! MOR is not a free VR app, but in my opinion it is worth the cost.

Please note that to see some of the films and media, you will need to separately download DLCs, which will require a significant amount of hard drive space!

Kent Bye of the Voices of VR podcast has posted an excellent, informative Twitter thread with his impressions of the Cannes XR festival, with recommendations on what to see and experience! He says:

Two ways to download MuseumOR content (free for next 3 days). #1.) If you have 65GB of space, then I’d recommend downloading the beta: Right click on MOR > Properties > Betas > “cannesallfiles” > Close > Install. Takes 1-8 hours depending on download speed.

If you don’t have 65GB of free space, or want in faster, there’s Download buttons in world. Navigate to MuseumOR Auditorium > Go to Cannes Space > Find & click Download > Find the Add to Wishlist Button > Exit MOR > In Steam, go to Store > Wishlist > find 4 MOR Watch Now DLCs

Cannes XR is a mind-expanding experience with virtual art, film, and media, and it is simply one of the best VR experiences that I have had all year! Highly recommended.

*Although there is plenty of red carpet throughout this exhibition, I’m afraid there are no paparazzi included in this experience 😉 but don’t let that stop you! Get your friends to come with you, and you can take pictures of each other!