MUTEK_IMG and the VR Salon — guest post by Jon Husband

I had the great pleasure of co-organizing the 1st edition of the VR Salon within MUTEK_IMG on Oct 1–2. I asked my friend Jon Husband, the catalyst of the wirearchy concept to attend and he shares his thoughts below.

The Phi Centre in Vieux Montréal was recently (October 2 and 3) the venue of an exciting, stimulating and very well-organized meeting place for exploring the ideas, technological advances and creative developments and uses of the rapidly growing field of virtual reality (VR).
Grasping conceptually the promise of virtual reality brought down to the level of the individual experiencing immersive 3D virtual reality is not news. Its development has been barrelling down the technological and digital innovation pipeline for some time now.

What is news is how far it has come in a few short years, how deeply and comprehensively its uses have been considered beyond pure entertainment / gaming, and how impressive some of the current and emerging examples are in their technical wizardry and connectedness to human cognition, psychology and emotion.
The symposium was very well attended by a range of diverse people with diverse interests — researchers, VCs and potential investors in VR, entrepreneurs and senior people in digital agencies, government-agency linchpins regarding the financing and green-lighting of potential projects, academics, artists and other creatives, futurists — in short the gamut of people seeking to understand where all the activity is going and might take us.
Some key VR pioneers and stars offered up their thoughtful and exciting takes on what it all means. Areas explored were (I wasn’t able to take everything in, too much good stuff) : — The Playable City — Exploring landscapes through the eyes of various animals — Digital culture strategies for Quebec — Interactive exploration of public spaces — The future of mapping — Art and science in a bio-political era — Alternative networks for the 21st century — Hacker ethics

- Creative composing for virtual reality — Industry perspectives direct from industry leaders .. and more All in all, it was an eye-opening and hugely stimulating 4-day event that will, I think, do much to stimulate, generate and sustain an ongoing intense interest in the accelerating developments in the domain of virtual reality and its presence in Montréal and the province of Québec. Congratulations to Frederic Guarino and to the MUTEK team and to the volunteers and sponsors he and his colleagues put together to bring this landmark event to the Montréal community.

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