could we be doing this in our homes soon?

could we be doing this in our homes soon?

Virtual reality is taking the art world by storm. swiss painter Albert Oehlen recently debuted his new work ‘Basement Drawing’ at Art Basel. The interactive piece allows viewers to enter the reclusive artist’s studio as he creates a new design.

Oehlen worked with experts like John MacInnes and VIVE Arts to create his VR piece, a medium that might seem open to only the most established artists.

But in Volta XR, an extended reality (XR) platform – XR is an umbrella term that includes both virtual and augmented reality – the goal is to create a set of tools that anyone can use.

VR art for people

“If a brush cost half a million dollars, you wouldn’t really be optimizing creativity, but return on investment,” says Alex Kane, CEO of Volta XR.

Instead of bespoke XR experiences, Volta XR has a creative platform that allows users to design and manipulate elements to create their own XR experience.

Much like Microsoft Paint for XR, a user can input a camera feed, placing themselves within a digital environment that responds in real time to sound and motion.

It is the perfect tool to create a single generation video clip. Unsurprisingly, many of the creators started out in music. Various artists and events including Deadmau5, Glastonbury and Imogen Heap have already used Volta to create XR music videos and shows.

“If you look at the trajectory of live music, people’s expectations have shifted from musical virtuosity to spectacle,” says Kane.

“In 20 to 30 years, the direction I think is there will be a crossover between a music show and an art installation. Something you have to physically get into and it’s wrapped around you. It’s interactive, dynamic and constantly unique,” ​​adds Kane.

XR lap

Anyone trying the Volta software – XR lap

The importance of a version of the XR that is democratized so that it can be used by as many people as possible is what Kane is aiming for, believing it will open the way for greater creativity.

“We’re starting to see things with real artistic merit,” he says. “I think we need more people to have the tools on hand, because that’s when someone can do a weird little technique and something new can come out of it.”

“The only way for people to start doing things with artistic merit is to make more people have time to be weird about it. If you’re worried about spending a million dollars on a production studio’s budget, you’re going to play it safe,” he says.

Some of Kane’s favorite experiences since the release of Volta have been the times when an artist surprised him and his team by finding a strange way to use it that they never thought of.

“It’s really amazing. It’s kind of a proud father moment,” he says.

A future of VR art

As VR becomes more ubiquitous through fine art and publicly available production tools, it will increasingly change the way we as a species live with technology.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is busy creating technology to interact with entire virtual worlds. And they’re not the only ones, Microsoft, Nvidia, Unity, Roblox and Snap are all working on similar products for the future.


VIVE Art Lounge, Art Basel – LIVE Arts

Games like Second Life and World of Warcraft are how many people imagine virtual reality and metaverses in the future. But John MacInnes, who produced Oehlen’s Basement Drawing, suggests that virtual space will become part of our lives in a more integrated way that we may not even realize at first.

“When you’re talking on your iPhone on a train with a friend in a different country, that’s a virtual space,” he says. “It radically upsets our sense of space in a completely new way, but we take it for granted. But cell phones have been in common use for the last 25 years.”

“Likewise, augmented and virtual devices will change our reality. 150 years ago, most people lived their entire lives within 10 miles of where they were born,” he adds.

How VR art will shape our future, MacInnes cannot say. But what he is sure of is that it will become a perfectly part of our lives in a way we couldn’t imagine living without him.

“The next step for any technology is to become invisible. We use texting now and we take that for granted,” he says.

“I enjoy being an innovator within this space and I enjoy watching the spectacle of how these technologies evolve and propagate in the wider culture and how they are adopted and become invisible.”

“When a technology is important, we don’t think about it anymore,” he says.

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