I found 3 ways to approach Virtual Reality.
One can be afraid of it and refuse it.
One can find it without any interest.
One can jump on the occasion and look for interests that will be particular to it, that will make it unique and indispensable.
The 3rd way is not exploited at all – which leaves the public the choice between fear and disinterest.
I would love to see Altair exploit the third way.
In order to find ideas, I have positioned myself on the side of the audience.
This allowed me to identify several types of potential audiences: from those who are afraid to those who are completely outside of this technology.
From this research, I’ve identified five different feelings that Virtual Reality can provide.
Then, I refined my research – I went from the public hypothesis: individual to the public hypothesis: group.
This is what I came up with:
For a single person
VR experiences can be experienced from home – but for Altair this implies a specific server: I called it Altair Twin.
Level 1 – Novice: unattracted/frightened person: the VR proposal will be as quiet as possible. We’ll go and sit in the best virtual seat in the theatre – and we’ll be able to watch the show while sitting down in a very quiet place –
This option has, for me, no other interest than to offer unlimited tickets for the shows.
But it is such a minimal exploitation of VR that it is a bit of a pity. That’s all we have at the moment – and it’s pitiful.
Level 2 – Confirmed: for who is a bit used to VR. It means to “be in the place” of one of the performers on stage.
It becomes more interesting – and above all more impossible to live in reality. From this point on, VR fulfills its contract with the public: it allows us to see things that we cannot see.
Level 3 – Experienced: a person who is not afraid of VR helmet; who therefore agrees to participate in an “experience” where they will not be in a human point of view – they will have a vision that will change according to their placement on the stage. This will be to be more able to accept rapid changes of point of view (no seasick person, please ).
Level 4 – Heroic : a person who trusts the VR director with his eyes closed – who has access to all the rhythms and all the points of view – the objective is to shake you up.
Level 5 – Legendary : you like ultra-strong sensations ? Then you will be exactly in everything that goes very fast, very random and unpredictable on a stage. You will be a juggling club, a dancer’s pump buckle… all those places that nobody ever thinks of and that go very very very fast.
At that point, I was pretty happy with myself – but I missed the laughter.
So I imagined Level 6: Adept of Sheogorath. If you choose that, you’ll go straight into the world of madness, glibness and nonsense. Your only certainty is that you’ll be in Altair – at the time of the show – and you’ll have the sound. As for the rest… you’ll see.
I was almost happy with myself – but I was missing something.
The solution came to me when I heard the ultimate criticism of Virtual Reality: it isolates people.
So here I was, imagining VR for a group.
For a group
For two people > two special cases will easily arise: the lovers / the adult and the child.
For the lovers, it will be a question of preparing experiences in VR which lend themselves to the game of love: therefore everything which puts in scene two artists will be privileged.
It can only be about experiences in VR in legendary mode- putting two lovers side by side in VR in a theatre, do you know what I say to your lovers who do that?
Anyway. So I prefer at least a heroic VR experience for them, where they will be able to identify each other’s place by a visual signal – and where they will cross, meet, separate, according to the artists.
For adults and children, these will be confirmed fashionable VR experiences: we will go for a walk together in the “world of the stage”, using moving scenery elements. The aim is not to terrorize the child, the pace will be rather slow – we have to create magic.
For groups: as for lovers, I will stay in the VR in legendary/heroic modes – maybe would we be able to associate a participant in Sheogorath mode –
However, Altair will not prepare experiments from artist duets but from larger troupes.
And there it can become absolutely unique – while creating links with others: No. VR does not break sociability.
For the groups, there should be rooms in Altair’s premises dedicated to these experiences – which allows bringing “restive” audiences into the premises .
Of course, all this should be accessible via Altair Twin – with the usual precautions – there will always be some who will get hurt or break by chance and because of emotion the beautiful Ming vase of grandfather.
And as these ideas deserve to be explored, I also thought about the type of representation we could have under this famous helmet: in FPS type – in the first person, we don’t see each other / in TPS type – in the 3rd person, we “see” our avatar and we are much less stressed by what is going on.
So, according to each level of sensations, we can propose one mode or another.
The goal I set myself is then fulfilled:
virtual reality is used to propose points of view that cannot be obtained without it.
As a result, it becomes quite unavoidable.
It is not used to propose us a false life that we cannot obtain otherwise – but to propose us a point of view that we cannot see without it.
You will notice that I stopped at the posture of the spectator: I did not ask the spectators to do anything.
Obviously, if I start imagining actions to propose – it opens up a whole universe for me to explore.
But it is no longer really the theatre-spectator link.
At the same time, this is the kind of consideration that is totally indifferent to me.