Denver experiential design studio takes home YIP award in experiential motion design for Greeley, Colorado Musical Hopscotch installation.
Denver, Colorado, November 5, 2019 On October 2nd, 2019, Denver Does Design hosted its inaugural Young Industry Professionals (YIP) Awards. The YIP Awards celebrate the achievements of young professionals in creative design fields. All award nominees and teams have less than 10 years of industry exposure, but are making great strides in innovation surrounding the Denver area. One such nominee and award winner, Alt Ethos, is proud to announce their recognition in the Motion category for an interactive public art display.
Alt Ethos is one of 13 YIP Award winners celebrated at the event this year. The interactive design company, founded by Ethan Bach, is made of several young designers who helped create their winning entry. Their Greeley Hopscotch project, which combined elements of motion and sound to provide an interactive hopscotch experience for Greeley-area residents, won the Alt Ethos team the award.
The Greeley Hopscotch project was nominated in the Motion category for Experience Awards at YIP. The Experience Awards were given to projects which offered interactive experiences to participants using creative design and technology elements. Other categories at the Awards included Everyday Use, Storytelling, Montage, and others based on projects’ creative and social impact and merit.
This Awards event not only spurred creative innovation from the local Denver young professionals community, but preceded a recent proclamation by the Fort Collins Mayor, Wade Troxell, to celebrate October 15th as Empowerment Through Creative Technology Day. Many of the projects presented at the YIP Awards featured creative and artistic design elements that further Denver and Fort Collins’ mission to be a hub of modern art and tech innovation.
Alt Ethos is one of many Denver-area organizations that celebrates empowerment and innovation through creative technology on a daily basis. Alt Ethos’ many community projects follow guiding principles to be inclusive, interactive, and novel in the ways they engage audiences through light, sound, and motion. As the YIP Award and other recognition of tech-centered industry growth emerge, the community goal to enhance the professional opportunity for creative arts and design will be met and exceeded.
Experiential design isn’t just a buzzword in marketing. Not only can it be effective for businesses trying to gain customers, there are many other creative uses for this artform. Experiential design is used in art shows, private events, and more recently, live music performances.
From Super Bowl concerts to experimental musicians, this practice is taking hold in the music industry for a variety of reasons. Live concerts aren’t just about the songs anymore. Concert-goers expect a full show, complete with visual entertainment and the opportunity to interact during the performance. While experiential design can be a major concert draw and build fans’ loyalty, it can be difficult to pull off for mobile designs. If you’re planning an experiential design for a concert or live performance, keep these three principles in mind:
Create elements that are on-brand and audience friendly
This should be somewhat obvious, but many designers focus on creating elements that “look cool,” yet are not on-theme with a brand’s message or persona. You must choose elements will add value to the live performance and will drive home the artist’s main message, persona, or theme of their tour. Album art or music videos can serve as great sources of inspiration.
Easy design and maintenance
Offering design elements that are easy to operate and maintain can solidify your relationship with an artist. If your equipment malfunctions or doesn’t operate as intended, no matter the reason, the artist will be disappointed and more likely to choose another partner for their next stage design. While you might have access to a tour technician, you still want to ensure the equipment is easy to use so that you can eliminate as much of the learning curve as possible.
Lightweight and durable
Custom fabricated lighting and set design pieces are some of the most difficult to create because they have to be mobile. You must choose your materials carefully to ensure they are easy enough for a roadie to transport, and durable enough so that if they are tossed around on the trailer, they won’t be permanently damaged. Using waterproof materials when possible is also a plus, making your equipment safe for outdoor concerts.
Just recently, AltEthos built a stage design for experimental electronic musician CloZee who draws on musical inspirations such as Tipper and Amon Tobin. CloZee incorporates intricate light and projection displays into her theatrical performances. We offered her several nature-inspired units using LEDs to cast changing light onto the stage.
Alt Ethos created several free-standing tree trunk units with muslin finish and placed an LED bar to shine through a frosted crack in the surface. The units contain a simple, detachable backboard for maintenance, and come in custom carrying cases for safety. You can view the finished design on our Instagram page.
We hope these interactive, colorful trees serve CloZee well on her 2018 tour, as using these three mobile design principles supported our stage design philosophy. For more information on how AltEthos does stage and experiential design, click here.
Virtual Reality is increasing in popularity with a projected 171 million users in 2018. Although VR has made some great strides, there are still plenty of areas of exploration and innovation to be examined. With these areas of research there are people dedicating their time on all fronts pushing the boundaries and bringing VR outside the box. It is this type of ethos that creates breakthroughs in using technology to connect people. This exploration last year took me to the ix symposium 2017 entitled Embodied Spaces where they focused on making virtual reality a broader full body experience.
Pushing the boundaries of VR The ix symposium put on by Société des Arts Technologiques gives a platform for innovators and creators to showcase how they are leading in areas of development of VR, dome, and other experiential uses of technology to embody the experiences. For the sake of this blog post, I will focus on VR.
VR, like many things excels in certain areas and lacks in others. The places where VR excels are in gaming, previsualization, helping reprogram tramas (such as PTSD), and demonstrating and proving concepts. Others are exploring uses for movies, artworks, virtual travel, and meditation. We are still trying to figure out this technology and see where it lands. Some have made it their mission.
Tolerance One of the main limitations of VR at this point is the problem of fatigue. I spoke to the researchers at eleVR whose focus in on the study and experiment of immersive reality with a focus on VR and AR. Their main areas study include exploring increasing time spent using the technology and to “understand how to expand computational interfaces beyond fingertip-focused to become body-conscious and thicken computational spaces from the flat land of screens to fully three-dimensional environments.”
One researcher in particular, M. Eifler, caught my attention. She had begun using VR years ago and was extremely vulnerable to motion sickness and fatigue. She spent the next few months building a yoga regimen for building tolerance for VR. She was able to build her tolerance from just 3 to 5 minutes to 5 to 6 hours. She would often spend a large portion of her work day in VR having meetings and working.
Movement In the search for movement solutions in VR, many people have been creating all types of contraptions to heighten the body mind experience. Movement should become a lot easier with new wireless VR headsets, but one still wants to be safely moving in real space while moving around the virtual environment.
One solution I tried at ix was the treadmill. There are several VR treadmills out there that offer safety for a single user experience. For my treadmill experience, I had to sign a waiver and there were a couple staff nearby watching to make sure I didn’t fall off. My favorite part in the game I was immersed in had me walk across a beam with images of nothing but clouds on either side. I quite literally began to wobble a bit as I tried to find my “balance” on the beam. Of course I knew I would not fall off, but part of my brain was convinced that I needed to balance on the imaginary beam otherwise I’d fall to my demise.
More recently, I sat in a robotic pod. My eyes covered with VR, sound coming from speakers in the pod located near my ears, and a joystick in either hand as I rode a roller coaster and shot at dragons that looked a lot like bats. The experience was 8 minutes long and as the pod moved up and down, left and right to mimic the visuals of the roller coaster. It was an intensified version of my previous VR experience. Admittedly, as a person who can proudly stand up while wearing VR and experiencing a roller coaster ride, and loves the thrill of jumping out of planes, I was on the verge of feeling sick from too much movement.
VR in a Dome By now you probably know that one of my favorite environments is a digital dome (See The Rise of the Digital Dome). The dome is a group virtual experience that breaks down a lot of the limitations of VR:
Average fatigue is 30 – 50 minutes instead of 3 – 5 minutes,
Movement is not a problem because you can see where you are going
There are recent developments in group interactions
But what if you combine the dome and VR?
ix touched on this phenomenon with demonstrations of navigating VR with an audience viewing the user experience. We also witnessed what it could be like to use VR to create 3d objects and design while being voyeurs in the dome.
Our team here at Alt Ethos has created VR experiences for a variety of applications including pure entertainment, new concept design walkthroughs, and dome previsualization. We look forward to developing content and experience solutions to help people with PTSD, meditation, and finding empathy for others.
Why ix? One of my favorite places on the planet is the Société des Arts Technologiques. For years I have admired their vision and dreamt of building an amazing facility for research and exploration of experiential media. Of course, ix is going to be one of my favorite conference. And maybe it’s because I spoke at the very first one in 2014 under the theme of “Valorization & Sharing”. SAT and its founders, Monique Savoie and Luc Courchesne, helped inspire me to start my two organizations, Alt Ethos and Denver Arts + Technology Advancement.
Montréal is amazing. It’s one of the most supportive cities for arts and technology. I’ve witnessed some of the most beautiful street art in Montréal including the 21 Balançoires or musical swings. And on a nice day one can go to the park and hang out people playing music, drinking beer and smoking weed just enjoying life.
I’m impressed with the symposium and what they deliver year after year. This year’s theme is The Conquest of Reality and runs May 29th through June 2nd. Each year I have attended has been one of the best times connecting with old people old friends and making new ones. And of course for me there’s the organizers and the founders of society and technology that I get to nerd out with and catch up one life. I know how hard they work and how hard they have worked in I’m following a similar journey working to establish something similar here in Denver.
If you are curious about trying VR, come join us at our open studio June 1 from 5pm to 11pm at Prism Workspaces 999 Vallejo Street #30, Denver CO.
If you have a VR project you would like to actualize, please contact us. We are happy to help. If you are interested in learning 360 content – check out MORPHOS 360 workshops.
It’s nearing summertime, and with the winter thaw, the warm air, and the summer sunshine comes the events season. Music festivals, corporate retreats, conventions, expositions, weddings, and parties parties parties. Logistically, it’s a cutthroat industry, with 32% increase in competition among event planners in 2017 (Eventbrite 3rd Annual Pulse Report). Invariably, organizers of these events are always looking for ways to stand out, seeking with dedicated hunger the latest and greatest entertainment that the world has to offer.
One medium for entertainment that is globally on the rise is that of the Digital Dome – an immersive domed environment that is projection mapped to display 360° visual content, usually accompanied with equally immersive audio systems. Akin to the ever-evolving Virtual Reality technology, where participants can slip into an altered reality of light and sound, the Digital Dome unlocks new potential for event organizers to captivate attendees with the all-encompassing content of their heart’s desire.
Want your 200 person audience (actually, domes can hold many more people than that – we’ll get to this later) to experience summiting the peaks of Mt. Everest, diving into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, or dancing on the surface of the moon? All of the above? Digital Domes make that possible.
Geodesic Dome Projection, Obscura Digital
May this blog post serve to evangelize this unique medium and educate those thirsting for the bleeding edge of events entertainment.
Evolving from the early days of your favorite neighborhood planetarium, Digital Domes have come to cater to many different types of uses beyond the realm of science and astronomy; from brand, launches to live concerts to video gaming and training simulations. With the rise of technology, possibilities are becoming limitless for the types of environments that Digital Domes can create.
Sizes of Digital Domes can vary from a few feet, perfect for a single person, to two hundred feet, capable of holding thousands of people. They can be permanent fixtures embedded into architectural designs, or temporary pop-ups perfect for trade shows and ephemeral events.
L’Hemisfèric, The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain. 110 meters long, and 55 meters tall.
With this new medium on the rise, artists and producers from many backgrounds and industries are experimenting with dome activations. Recently, major festivals in the music and entertainment industries have found major success with domes, including;
It’s clear: the Digital Dome is on the rise. The question now is how to get in the know with this new medium and start using it to your benefit. As an artist, a fan, or an event producer, there are more ways than ever to get up to speed on Digital Domes.
The following resources are recommendations for all those who are interested.
A website dedicated to fulldome shows, domes around the world, organizations, and events.
If you are an artist or fan in the Colorado Metro region, please join us at MORPHOS Digital Dome Programs including workshops, an artist in residency, and art show. For more information, please visit our sister nonprofit organization Denver Arts and Technology Advancement (DATA).
If you are an event producer who is interested in bringing a pop-up Digital Dome to your next event, you are interested in purchasing a dome, or would like some content development, don’t hesitate to contact us at Alt Ethos! We will be happy to assist you with any and all of your fulldome needs.
By now everyone in Denver is aware that Meow Wolf is coming to town. The overall reaction is one of anticipation as the famed immersive art experience from Santa Fe prepares for opening a 90,000 square foot experience in Denver in 2020. In this blog series, I will discuss such topics as the creative economy and how cities can best utilize this new form of entertainment. This overview will provide context as we explore how the Meow Wolf Effect will alter the ethos of Denver and perhaps a city near you.
The world is changing quickly as millennials and other generations alike hold increasing interest in experiences and Instagram over the purchase of material items. In 2016, Denver had the highest net annual migration of millennials of any metropolitan area in the United States (NYT). With an increasing millennial population and the fact that more than 75% of millennials “would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying something desirable” (Harris Group), how does a city like Denver keep up?
Denver is already leading the way in support of the creative economy with its Imagine 2020 Cultural Plan. Denver is actively striving for engagement in the arts that brings together local creative problem solvers. “Overwhelmingly, Denver residents believe that arts, culture and creativity contribute to the vitality of the city. Eighty-seven percent of Denver residents believe that arts, culture and creativity contribute to Denver’s economy, as reported in the scientific public survey conducted for the cultural plan. Additionally, 85 percent agree the sector attracts tourism. Eighty-one percent believe that arts, culture and creativity help develop active and unique neighborhoods.” – Imagine 2020. How does this all tie into the new addition of Meow Wolf to our community?
A few months ago I attended a talk at the Commons on B-Corp Certification to explore the option for Alt Ethos. Meow Wolf officially became a B-Corp late 2017 and CEO Vince Kadlubek was there speaking on the experience. According to the B-Corp website, “carrying the B-Corp status holds for-profit companies up [to] rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” With this kind of public declaration and actual certifiable commitment to transparency, a city and its counterparts would expect to work in collaboration with Meow Wolf to make the best experience for the city and its inhabitants.
So, how can local communities, cities, businesses, museums, and artists utilize this newfound momentum in Denver? In a world where we need more support for creative thinking to solve current global and local issues, how can we launch a statewide effort to harness this momentum? Here are a couple of concepts that come to mind:
Hire an Experiential Design Company to stay relevant and help transform your museum, event, or corporate lobby into an experience that captivates audiences. (Alt Ethos)
Create a driving tour between Denver and Santa Fe that outlines arts and cultural offerings in towns along I-25 and US 160. Towns such as Mancos and Trinidad are already boosting their creative and cultural districts. (DenverPost)
Create tourism packages that include an “art experience” inclusive of Meow Wolf. Purposefully creating tours around the city that have “Meow Wolf” type of art and experiences. (Santa Fe Example)
Support local artists by attending events and purchasing art.
Support local nonprofits. We recommend:
CBCA works to advance Colorado’s creative economy by connecting business and the arts. We accomplish our mission through year-round advocacy, research, training, and arts engagement efforts
Denver Arts + Technology Advancement (DATA) whose mission is Empowerment Through Creative Technology. Helping ensure that ALL people have access to digital literacy.
RedLine supports artists and builds community in Denver and offers arts education and engagement between artists and communities to create positive social change.
Think 360 Arts leads Colorado in cultivating and sustaining the arts as essential to all learning through creative experiences for students and teachers.
In a time when change is needed, most people’s imaginations need to be sparked. Cities are in need of a defibrillator shock to kickstart a creative economy revolution. Perhaps The Meow Wolf Effect is that spark that will help ignite that change. We can always hope for the best outcome and welcome any opportunities to create change, but the responsibility falls on our local community. Together we can help Denver to become a more progressive, expressive city that is recognized worldwide. Please register to join Alt Ethos on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 at the Commons on Champa at 5:30pm as we present Denver Vision: The Meow Wolf Effect and lead an open discussion on how Denver can galvanize The Meow Wolf Effect in hopes of setting an example for other cities.
For more information on this event, please contact us.
Alt Ethos recently worked with Meow Wolf, providing a projection mapped balloon sculpture at the Meow Wolf Denver Announcement Party. Ethan Bach, Alt Ethos founding CEO met the Meow Wolf crew approximately ten years ago while living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Through his participation in the local arts community and serving as the Digital Dome Director at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Ethan and the group regularly engaged in the community. Meow Wolf founders appropriated wood and other materials from Ethan’s garage for the building of the Due Return as many community members pitched in to support the local art group. Ethan also served on Javier for the Arts, an advisory committee for Javier Gonzales when he was running for Mayor, alongside Meow Wolf’s founding CEO Vince Kadlubek.
Alt Ethos is an experiential design studio that creates engaging experiences for events and permanent exhibitions. Alt Ethos creates engaging environments by transforming physical spaces into shared interactive experiences that meld various forms of light and sound into creative technology. We create moments that disrupt, engage, and inspire.
Meow Wolf is a Santa Fe, New Mexico based arts and entertainment group that established in 2008 as an art collective. They create immersive, interactive experiences to transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration. The company is composed of nearly 200 artists across all disciplines including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography and video production, virtual and augmented reality, music and audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming and performance, and more. Basically everything.
The views, information, and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of Alt Ethos and its employee.
We reserve the right to delete, edit, or alter in any manner we see fit blog entries or comments that we, in our sole discretion, deem to be obscene, offensive, defamatory, threatening, in violation of trademark, copyright or other laws, of an express commercial nature, or otherwise unacceptable.
Alt Ethos invites you to our first open house in our new office/production studio. Come celebrate with us at the Prism Workplaces facility-wide open house to take in the work of talented artists, designers, and creatives. We are grateful to be a part of this community as we continue to expand our organizations into new possibilities. The open house will be held on Friday, November 3, 2017 from 5:30pm to 11:30pm at Prism Workplaces 999 Vallejo Street, Denver Colorado. Alt Ethos is located through entrance 2 at space #30.
A sneak peek photo from moving weekend.
Meet the team and see a showcase of our work. Please click “Going” on the Facebook event page. We are delighted to share our new space with our sister nonprofit organization, Denver Arts + Technology Advancement (DATA).
I have listed some recent highlights of activity below:
Check out the new office!
Say hello to our new Project Manager, Amy Lynn Herman!
Creative Startups Accelerator. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Alt Ethos creates engaging environments that transform physical spaces into shared interactive experiences that meld various forms of creative technology into compelling stories. This creates moments that disrupt, engage, and inspire.