During the three days from March 12th to 14th, which is in the middle of the action of SXSW2023, “XR Experience” was held, where one could experience contents centered on Virtual Reality video works. About 30 booths are lined up in the dark atmosphere of the exhibition hall, and it was so popular that people line up every day, well before the doors open at 11:00. Unfortunately, there are many contents that I could not experience because the reservations for the day were filled up quickly. Let’s pick up some of the most popular contents and introduce them.
The biggest topic of this year’s XR Experience is this “Symbiosis”. The space suit-like experiential device with multiple red cords connected together created a strange atmosphere. The theme is a world 200 years from now when human beings can no longer live due to climate change, and you can experience the sensations of new life forms that share physical senses such as smell and touch. There were some problems with the equipment due to too many wires, so it seemed that the experience was not going well, but it is a booth that makes people want to experience it by all means.
A conference session with the theme of “XR & Metaverse” was also held at the Fairmont Hotel, which was the venue for this year’s exhibition, and it was a place where XR creators and others gathered. The creators of this work also participated in a conference session titled ” The Art of Sensory XR feat. Polymorf & IDFA DocLab.” In addition to VR video and audio, we were discussing technology that reproduces whole-body sensations such as smell, temperature, and texture, and feeds back experiences on the Metaverse as bodily sensations. In this way, there are many sessions where creators exhibiting their works at the exhibition will be on stage, and SXSW is also attractive because you can hear the technical stories behind the content.
I thought it was a VR healing content that you can experience while lying on your bed, but the content is a game where you operate a rocket, solve puzzles, and defeat monsters. By playing while lying down, you can enjoy the mysterious feeling of recreating the world you imagined in your head when you were young. It is very interesting to be able to experience the feeling of self-awareness such as age and gender changing due to the immersive feeling of VR.
Amaze VR , which announced Megan Thee Stallion’s virtual concert at SXSW last year , is making a comeback this year with content featuring Kpop. An entertainment work where you can experience a virtual concert where avatars “ae” corresponding to each member of the four-member Kpop group “aespa” appear and perform in front of you.
At this year’s Music Showcase, a Kpop group called Billlie appeared and became a hot topic.
An interactive video work viewed on the screen of a smartphone. The in-camera constantly captures your own face, and AI facial recognition technology reads changes in facial expressions and changes the story. It depicts a warning message for the surveillance technology in smartphones. In this way, XR Experience also picks up ideas for new video expressions and storytelling methods, not just VR.
Let’s go with XR Experience
There were many strange (weird) experience works gathered at XR Experience this year as well. It can be said that this is a very SXSW-like choice. All the works will be on this list , but again it will be an experience only on site. Furthermore, as was the case last year, the number of people who can experience viewing with VR headsets at one time is limited, so it was a pity that we were not able to accommodate a large number of visitors. I hope that future technological advancements will free us from these physical restrictions. Furthermore, if you can have this experience even if you are not at the venue, you can say that it embodies the XR Experience.