As we are entering 2023, we at SKYE Studio wanted to share with you some of the 2022 Best and Favorite Immersive Activations we thought deserved a round of applause! Some of these creations are really pushing the boundaries in terms of technology use, storytelling, content as well as topics. Part concert, part theatre, part exhibit or even video games, they all depict an exciting journey into the unknown and illustrate how creativity can manifest at its best:
Skinny Ape — Gorillaz & Google
“The concert uses a new location-based Google AR tool announced at the company’s developer conference earlier this year, which leans on Google Maps data and GPS coordinates to overlay persistent AR into the real world. The actual location-based experience is meant to blend parts of the actual landscape into the performance, in what sounds a bit like a real-life version of Travis Scott’s Fortnite performance a few years back.” — CNET
Theater of the Mind — David Byrne & Mala Gaonkar
“Fake grass, funerals, drunk goggles and virtual reality headsets are a few of the things theater-goers can expect to see when they step into David Byrne’s new immersive production.
Best known as the frontman of the Talking Heads, Byrne debuted Theater of the Mind this week at Denver’s Center for the Performing Arts’ Off Center. During the 75-minute play, which he co-created with writer Mala Gaonkar, audiences embark on a journey through seven rooms inside a 15,000-square-foot industrial space. Each room represents a stage of Byrne’s life.” — Smithsonian Magazine
Speed of Dark — Particle Ink
“Would you believe that there’s a dimension that exists halfway between our 3D world and the 2D world inhabited by illustrated and animated characters? After a run through Particle Ink: Speed of Dark, you will. The story of Speed of Dark is archetypal enough: a creator and his wife, grieving over a loss, find their world turned upside down after he finds a magical book and uses a spell to try and fix things. It doesn’t go as planned, and soon the forces he’s unleashed take over their home. It takes a group effort, between the human characters, the audience, a puppet, and the animated figures known as Lumens to bring balance back between the forces of light and darkness both without and within.” — No Proscenium
Unlearning Language — Lauren McCarthy & Kyle McDonald
“What does language mean to us? As AI generated text proliferates and we are constantly detected and archived, can we imagine a future beyond persistent monitoring? Unlearning Language is an interactive installation and performance that uses machine learning to provoke us to find new understandings of language, undetectable to algorithms.” — Lauren McCarthy site
Okawari — Landia Egal, Amaury La Burthe
“Four users are invited to sit at one of the tables in the Okawari restaurant (both physical and virtual) to discover a wide variety of dishes, sides, and drinks from the Japanese izakaya gastronomy. The purpose of the experience stems directly from the interactions of the users during their meal. Each experience will be totally unique and will depend on the participants’ choices. Telling you more would influence the raison d’être of the experience… but we can’t wait to hear your reactions!” — Venice Film Festival site
Return at Night — Yiwen Hsu, NTUA Experimental Game Lab
“Return at Night” is a student graduation project made at National Taiwan University of Arts Department of Multimedia Animation Arts, with a team of one student. “Return at Night” is a virtual reality horror game, the content of the game is the fear of women returning home alone at night.” — creator Yiwen Hsu’s description of the game
You’re Only Human. Don’t Let That Stop You from Advancing Your Career. — The Pudding
“Our online selves are not always our real selves, especially when work is involved. Whether we’re selecting the right headshot for LinkedIn or attempting to sound clever to peers on Twitter, everything that’s already confusing and shifty about internet identity is buttoned up in a suit that doesn’t quite fit. And the worst part is that as you attempt to score that next job, the recruiter you’re trying to impress might just be an automated piece of software, using an algorithm to sort your awkward suit-self onto a spreadsheet.
But what if there were a way to fight back — at LinkedIn culture, at recruiting bots, at the pressure to be a so-called thought leader? That’s the vision of Deepwork by a publication called The Pudding. It’s a satirical but also functional website that offers working AI tools that will do anything from write a CV to generate a headshot to populate your Twitter feed with witticisms.” — Fast Company
Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration — Aconite
“Let’s part the veil. The Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration is the setting, and title, of a … thing, created by game company Aconite, helmed by Nadya Lev and Star St. Germain.I say “thing” because it’s not clear how best to describe what the pair have made. Calling it a video game summons up all the wrong impressions, but it’s hardly an experience or a toy, either. A larp (live-action roleplay) might be closer if it was live action, but it’s not: BMA is played in a Discord channel, the gamer-focused chat app standing in for the Bureau’s internal slack. St.Germain calls it a “Discord game”, which works well enough.” — Kopjes Kattenoppas
Exotopia Launch — Scott Kildall
“Exotopia is an experimental storytelling experience, which invites you to join imaginary voyages to study alien life on real exoplanets in our galaxy, using real scientific data from the SETI Institute to imagine where extraterrestrial life could actually exist.
Each voyage is crafted by a guest science fiction writer and includes multiple storylines for a constellation of characters. You may be a starship pilot, a science officer, or even a stowaway. Over the course of 30 days, you will get a daily update to your character’s story. Your character may achieve greatness, spark a mutiny, or die in space.
Key moments in your story get illustrated by NFTs, created by a featured artist. These include visual renderings of your original ticket, plot twists, and your completed story. These unique artworks are yours to keep, exchange, or sell on the NFT marketplace.” — Gray Area
A Forest for the Trees — Glenn Kaino
“This wilderness is part of Kaino’s “A Forest for the Trees,” an immersive new show he created and directed inside a 28,000-square-foot Boyle Heights warehouse. The ticketed experience, which speaks to Indigenous practices around land stewardship, ecological interconnectedness and preservation of the environment, leads visitors on an hourlong journey through an actual forest with 87 redwood trees. Most are tree remnants ethically sourced from a Northern California forest and repositioned inside the space, while others are cast replicas. The forest also includes handmade sculptures, animatronic robots, original music, and glimmering installations that alternately employ mirrors, light, water and shadows to create a range of visual trickery.” — Los Angeles Times