Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sundance Institute hold New Frontier Conference in Philly

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By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

The Sundance Institute is the arm of the Sundance Film Festival which invests and nurtures collaborations between artists, filmmakers, gamers, programmers, scientists, technologists and innovators to explore new forms of storytelling using new media and tech. For this one day Lab in Philadelphia, Sundance Institute invited several panelists to come and explain their work to us and what they’re trying to accomplish, most of the programs are societal in nature...

Hyphen Labs Ashley Baccus Clark explains NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism

For instance, Ashley Baccus-Clark (molecular biologist with Hyphen-Labs) was there to introduce the world of NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, an art installation and virtual reality experience meant to address modern-day problems for women of color. The VR is set up like a beauty salon called a neurocosmetology lab where everyone entering the space becomes an African American woman. You’re fitted with a trans-cranial stimulation device which they call Octavia Electrodes (named after Black Sci-Fi writer Octavia Butler) trans-cranial simulators are a real thing, it’s a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. However, they’re sometimes difficult to use on women of color because of the texture and styles of our hair. So in this VR world, the Octavia Electrodes are made like a set of braid extensions, which then allows access to this digital multiverse. From there, I’m still a little unclear on all the issues which get brought up during the simulation, because I only had time to go through a very small part of the virtual reality experience before we were called back in for the next speaker; but I know they’re in the process of developing some products not just for the VR world, but for real life too, like earrings that act as body-cams and a visor which reflect back to the person to which you're conversing, facial expressions of the energy that person is giving off.

For more info on the NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism Project check out the embed below of Ashley's talk. 

I got a longer time to play with Google’s Virtual Reality platform call Tilt Brush where you can create art through shapes, colors and brush palettes. It’s like you’re painting in space, but it surrounds you, like you are inside the painting. It’s trippy and fun and I could see losing hours of time inside it.

Le Anne Lindsay Editor of Tinsel & Tine first Virtual Reality Experience Google Tilt Brush

I do however, have an issue with Virtual Reality - because you can’t see what anyone is doing in the real world, you feel kinda of vulnerable; not to mention, you look really goofy manning the controls. But mainly, I was worried about my stuff as I had to leave my purse, phone, Nikon camera on the floor near the platform; I mean you hope the Sundance person working the booth will look out for your stuff, and we were a relatively small group, but it was a thought that kept crossing my mind.  I'm sure when these VR worlds become something we all go and do for entertainment like going to the movies or playing miniature golf, there will be private rooms for each platform and lockers for your belongings. Although, I recently saw VR kiosks at the King of Prussia mall. I didn't have time to stop and really see what they were all about, but it was out in the open.

The below embed is of panelist Yasmin Elayat, new media artist, designer and creative technologist. Her work pushes the boundaries of immersive and collaborative storytelling experiences, like her piece 18 Days in Egypt, a collaborative web-documentary project about the Egyptian Revolution.

Maori Holmes and BAYETE ROSS SMITH at Sundance Institute New Frontier Day

The other thing that was cool and fun, was an app they had us all use during the conference call Slido. It’s a web based app you access on your phone or laptop, so you don’t have to download anything. Sundance Institute also projected it onto the big screen so the moderator could ask us questions and rather than having to raise your hand to answer and someone having to bring a mic around the room, you just wrote your answers on the Slido app on your phone, and it showed up on the projected screen. Then at times, they would conduct polls and you could see the poll graphs calculate in real time. And after each panelist finished their presentation, we asked questions via Slido, and everyone could vote on each other’s questions, the questions with the most votes would rise to the top and be the ones the panelist would answer. It’s really the perfect way to conduct this kinda of conference and to encourage engagement.


Check out the below Facebook Photo Album with captions and bios of other
panelist and attendees.  (Feel free to tag yourself, if you see yourself).

In summation: Sundance #NewFrontier Labs travel around the country inviting about 100 artists, filmmakers, actors, press in each city to inspire the use of tech in the future of storytelling. It is funded by the Knight Foundation so we were treated to catered breakfast, lunch and a reception!

The Sundance Institute New Frontier Day Lab presents some of the newest and most innovative forms of communication architecture through which we share our stories and create the world around us. Multimedia and transmedia, virtual and augmented reality, immersive and digitally connected experiences, speculative imagination and new technologies all provide unique ways of presenting narrative.

I noticed some of the themes of the day were: having the technology to make cool stuff is useless, unless you figure out how to use it to tell good stories. The need to include many different voices and diversification of thought to make concepts workable and valuable. Problems of accessibility, bringing the work to the audience you’d like to reach, inspire and educate.

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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