Our Digital Art Director, Natasa Lucic, recently visited Madrid. While in the Spanish capital, she came across a virtual reality (VR) instalment at the Spanish phone provider Telephonica. This is her short diary of how residents of Madrid are enjoying VR in exhibitions and a major sporting event.
I love going to Madrid, it is a fun-loving and welcoming city; not reputed for digital technology advances. As a Digital Arts Enthusiast, I was thrilled to learn about the VR exhibition organised by Foundation Telefonica. The Virtual Reality Space has two sections, one describing the history of virtual reality and another where the visitor can get a hands-on VR experience. Fear not if history does not sound too appealing, on the contrary, it represents a nice intro for what to expect once you step into the magic world of extended reality.
Once you get into the experiential area, almost every VR technology is available and visitors can experience everything from basic mobile applications to more complex ones such as Glove One, where you can touch and interact with content or with platforms such as Wizdish, which allow users to navigate through a virtual space.
Further on there is an exhibit called The dancer of the future. From Isadora Duncan to Josephine Baker dedicated to seven female dancers and choreographers of the 20th century, who revolutionised dance, broke all conventions and liberated the female dancers’ body from the rigid canon of the Romantic ballet. It is even more powerful than it sounds once you step into an area filled with holograms of the famous dancers who move with grace, power, elegance, and passion that is almost palpable. It felt so real, it gave me goosebumps. The dancers are feel real, even though they have long since passed away. I could realize every little girl’s dance dream as my dance moves were recreated by the computer on the big screen. I was not exactly a ballerina, but it was great to watch.
The third exhibition I would like to highlight is Digital Nature by Jennifer Steinkamp, which has little to do with VR technology itself, but the creations, especially the animation of trees and flowers, are wonderful. It is a highly sensorial experience that transports you into an enchanting world of five mesmerizing video installations.
As romantic and poetic my experience sounds so far, I had a visit to the specialised Zero latency playroom that only confirmed that VR is still dominated by the gaming industry. Under full VR equipment, you can select one of the four games that (unfortunately) are reduced to the same purpose – killing zombies or other enemies. Wearing VR glasses does not diminish the sense of reality or the fear you feel when these monsters invade.
Tennis aficionados around the world must know that Madrid is also the home of Madrid Open which this year got a VR boost. The organizers’ film all matches with special cameras so that owners of VR sets can enjoy 8K resolution and experience games like never before. Basically, that means that you can see the ball swish right past you as Rafa Nadal smashes another top-spin winner.
All this highlights the very concept of Virtual Reality – creating an immersive and sensorial user-experience (UX). More and more companies turning to VR content with the idea of incorporating their services or at least providing ultimate user-experience.
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