Art Collective Supported By George R.R. Martin Gets Into VR

by Charles Singletary • January 15th, 2017

Art is powerful. With so many ways to express the human imagination through creative skill, it is encouraging to see VR become an impactful canvas for creators. Meow Wolf is an art collective and production company with the goal to exhibit art that appeals to all types of people of all ages and interests. They also have an incredibly popular benefactor known for shaping worlds (and destroying them): George R.R. Martin.

Martin created the book series “The Song of Ice and Fire” upon which the “Game of Thrones” television show is based. He purchased, leased out for 10 years, and added $2.5 million in renovations for the space that Meow Wolf occupies in New Mexico, as detailed on NPR. That space, which is their first physical location, is a 20,000 square foot home for artistic expression across many disciplines called the House of Eternal Return, and their next major upgrade is creating an R&D team that will open the door for VR works.

In the trailer teasing Meow Wolf’s new VR initiative, a few thoughts were shared on why they do what they do and how virtual reality will be integrated into their future projects.

“One thing we noticed about VR is that it faces a very similar problem that we find in the fine art industry,” a young man says. He goes on to express artists have previously made art for just a few people and that Meow Wolf wants to embrace people beyond the economically fortunate that art is usually reserved for.

“We’d like for VR, and our motive implementing it, to be as inclusive as possible,” a young woman declares in the video. “So, we’re in the process of developing a workflow that allows for everyone regardless of their technical aptitudes to be able to use the technology.”

This inclusive ideal is something that is permeating throughout the VR ecosystem, with inexpensive avenues available for people to create VR art and VR stories. Not only is VR opening doors for creating art, many are taking advantage of the immersive exploration of those creations, like Kevin Mack’s Blortasia and the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibit that includes VR and AR installations.

For their VR initiative, Meow Wolf wants to find PC-based solutions with haptic feedback while also embracing mobile-based content and filling in space in their physical location.

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