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!

Museum of Other Realities: A Brief Introduction

The Museum of Other Realities (MOR for short) is a new social virtual reality platform I first heard about in a presentation by Dr. Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, which launched in the Early Access program on Steam yesterday for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows MR headset users.

In an official blogpost, the company describes the purpose of MOR:

The MOR is a virtual art museum filled with mind-bending VR art. As an immersive multiplayer art showcase in VR, the MOR encourages visitors to view and interact with art in new ways , whether that means diving into a painting or touching the art, causing it to change shape. VR, as a creative tool, is still pretty young and yet artists are already breaking new ground and creating amazing work with it.

We realized that the same ‘newness’ that gives artists the opportunity to experiment, however, also means that it can be difficult for them to get their work seen by a wider audience as intended, so we set out to address this with the MOR.

Art by Danny Bittman in the MOR

The product has been in development over the past couple of years, holding invite-only exhibitions about once a month. UploadVR reported:

“I began building the MOR because people started making all these strange but very compelling VR experiences,” [MOR developer Colin] Northway wrote. “I found myself even more drawn to these weird art projects than I am to games. I started working on a few strange experiences myself but it’s so hard to get people into them, you’ll see it on twitter but if it’s a small experience people won’t take the effort to download it and try it. So I decided to start working on a way for people to experience all these wonderful things creators are making in VR and that’s the MOR.”

There are some talented artists exploring what they can do creatively with a game engine like Unity — and the immersive quality of VR — while others are producing increasingly complex works with VR-based art tools like Tilt Brush, Medium and Quill. Among the creators bringing their work to the MOR are artists like Liz Edwards, Danny Bittman and Isaac Cohen. What was once artwork experienced in the solitary confines of a universe built for one, at the MOR becomes a social phenomenon commented upon and shared by an entire community.

Unlike other social VR apps, MOR is not free; there is a one-time cost of US$19.99 (CDN$22.79). In their blogpost, the company explains why:

In addition to providing a space for artists to share their work, one of our main goals has always been to support the artists we feature. To this end, exposure, on its own, isn’t sufficient crypto-currency. We charge for the MOR because promoting the artists is equally as important as paying them for their work. We intend to continue supporting artists and the team responsible for making this museum a ‘reality’. This is especially significant because the MOR is an ongoing experience with amazing new art being added on a regular basis.

The current state of the Early Access version is described as:

The Early Access version is a smaller, streamlined edition of the Museum, usually for demoing at festivals and conferences. Even though it doesn’t have all the artwork and features we’d like to showcase (yet), the mechanics are in place for an immersive experience featuring amazing art. Over the next few months, we’ll build upon the experience, expanding not only the Museum’s architecture but also the variety of artwork we feature and the ways in which players can interact with them. 

Here are a couple of snaphots I took of a few of the exhibits. There’s not a lot to see yet, but what is there is already quite compelling. Many of the artworks are animated, and in one case, your avatar’s presence and movement within a dark gallery generates fractal art.

There’s a brief promotional video of the project up on YouTube:

The company has ambitious future plans to expand the features and content of MOR. You can follow the progress of the Museum of Other Realities project via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook,or you can join their Discord server. And I have added MOR to my comprehensive list of social VR platforms and virtual worlds.