On August 29th and 30th at AREA15 Las Vegas, Epic Immersive welcomed immersive industry luminaries from Secret Cinema, Marshmallow Laser Feast, David Byrne’s Theater of the Mind, Broadway, Swamp Motel, Meow Wolf, Delusion, Mycotoo, AREA15, Boomtown Fair, Les Enfants Terribles, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and more. As well as international guests from companies in China, India, Singapore, Russia, and Europe.
Epic Immersive is an immersive experience agency that has created 14-acre fictional cities and underground wonderlands. Companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook have commissioned Epic Immersive experiences.
The 2-day event included speakers Mycotoo’s Fri Forjindam, Fifth Wall Forum’s Stephanie Riggs, AREA15’s Michael Beneville, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Nataki Garrett, and the team behind VR theatre experience Welcome to Respite (Tribeca Film Festival 2021 Official Selection), with many more.
Alt Ethos caught up with Steve Boyle, co-founder of Epic Immersive (co-created with Kimberly Flynn) to discuss event curation, announcements, and exciting future plans.
The Alt Ethos team really enjoyed The Immersive Industry Homecoming Summit. What was your process for curating the speakers; how did you go about choosing them?
We (Steve Boyle and Kimberly Flynn) worked together to identify the most compelling movers-and-shakers from the global immersive scene across a number of genres and mediums. It was of supreme importance to us that we threw a truly global event, and that our speaker roster reflected the incredible diversity of our field, highlighting femme and BIPOC creators.
We noticed that there were some announcements made at the event from the speakers. Can you please share some of those?
Two big ones come to mind: Stephanie Riggs announced the creation of Odeon Theatrical, a new platform that delivers AR content for live theatre, and Kim Adams announced the return of Adventure Lab.
What was the moment that surprised you the most at the event? Or a “wow” moment that comes to mind?
Steve: The wow moment for me was really just being there — those first moments especially when the energy is so high and the anticipation is there and we’ve really, truly come together for the first time in 18 months, with tons of safety precautions in place, and we’ve made it together safely. That was an amazing moment I’ll never forget.
Kim: Wow moments for me were in all the excitement and enthusiasm throughout the entire process from the speakers to our attendees, the positivity, excitement, support and joy from everyone involved and from everyone that attended was really magical. It was wonderful to feel the community excited to be sharing an experience again after such a long break.
Any shout-outs you would like to share?
Huge, huge thanks to projectionist and technical director Jacob Vorperian, and our tech wiz Christie Casey.
What are the future plans for The Immersive Industry Homecoming Summit?
Stay tuned! We’ll definitely be back in Vegas, and you’re going to want to be a part of a whole circuit of events we are planning in 2022.
What’s next for Epic Immersive?
A return to large-scale immersive experiences in 2022. Once again, stay tuned for big announcements!
We thank Steve Boyle for taking the time to chat with us and appreciate all of the effort that the Epic Immersive team, speakers, and collaborators put forth to make this Summit such a special event. Bringing together a group of visionaries, technologists, and storytellers is no small feat. Alt Ethos enjoyed the projection mapping within the space, the deep conversation from the speakers, the diversity of the group, and the pace of the presentations. We learned deeply about different companies and artists doing cutting-edge immersive work. Also, let’s not forget about the unique container that the summit took place in. If you’re ever in Las Vegas make sure to visit Area15.
AREA15 is an immersive playground, all rolled into a vast and vibrant space. Throw an axe, wander through a bamboo volcano, race on a zip line, or explore other mesmerizing realms. From the futuristic to the thrill-seeking, there’s an experience for everyone here.
Epic Immersive creates story-driven immersive experiences with explorable, 360-degree worlds. From ticketed experiences to corporate events to marketing activations, they deliver epic, unforgettable journeys.
Meow Wolf’s biggest attraction yet has finally come to Denver. But that’s by no means the whole story. For years, Denver has been preparing for Meow Wolf’s arrival in ways that are impacting not just the city but the entire region – and very likely beyond.
Millennials across the globe increasingly value experiences over material possessions.
For a while now, Denver has been the number one choice of those among them wanting to move to a new city in the US, and a third of Denver residents are now millennials (CNBC). City government took notice, and laid plans to stay ahead of the curve with a multi-year community-generated cultural plan designed to fully integrate arts, culture and creativity into daily life, work and play. These ingredients of Denver’s special sauce are part planned, part serendipitous – and that recipe is the reason Meow Wolf and Alt Ethos CEO and Founder Ethan Bach (who had worked together in Santa Fe on helping to elect a new mayor and in Denver for the Meow Wolf announcement party) recognized the potential and established their primary operations in Denver.
Years in the making, the Meow Wolf Effect is still unfolding.
Early predictions were for 1.5M visitors per annum, but the surge of advance ticket sales suggests there may well be a lot more. Whatever the number, this massive new influx of visitors will have major implications for the creative economy (“Is Meow Wolf good for artists? Overall, yes” – Denver Post), the tourist industry, and the culture at large. It will transform opportunities for growth in entertainment offerings, art sales, retail, and dining, which will have a ripple effect across the region. It’s never been just about the Meow Wolf site itself.
As Ethan says: “The Meow Wolf Effect is an intimate and intentional look into a cultural phenomenon sparking the creative economy in a way that I have not witnessed in my lifetime.
This is our moment of opportunity. If we keep harnessing our collective energy with strategic planning in order to make the best possible outcome, we can make a huge shift in the new economy.”
Alt Ethos is honored to be recognized by 303 Magazine as Denver Artists to Watch 2018. We started this company to band together and create art infused with creative technology that is bigger and better than we could have achieved on our own. Together we create engaging environments by transforming physical spaces into shared interactive experiences that meld various forms of light and sound into creative technology. Our goal is to create moments that disrupt, engage, and inspire that help to elevate museums, public places, events, and others. Please see our write-up below.
You can read the entire article here
Light displays are no longer exclusive to live concerts—they are being used to create ambiance, mood and improve engagement to many other facets of social interaction.Alt Ethos is a talented group of artists and computer programmers who spend their time “cultivating memorable experiences that disrupt and inspire.” Ranging in age from early 20s to mid-40s, Ethan Bach, Zac Layman, Eric Davis, Paul Elsberg and Amy Lynn Herman each bring their own set of unique skills to the group. “We are trying to create things that are memorable,” Elsberg explained. “Why create things that are memorable? So they can help people find meaning, they can sneak back up on them. I think of really good conversations months or years later and it resonates with me in a new way. And I think that the desire to create art or technology, but really an experience, is the same. It’s about creating a disruptive moment that gets you out of yourself and comes back to you over and over.”
These experiences Alt Ethos designs and curates come in the form of virtual reality programs, projection mapping, digital dome projection and temporary light displays. Each one is particular to the experience Alt Ethos wants to amplify or draw attention to, which makes their style hard to pin down. Much of their energy this coming year will be focused on digital dome projection, where they are casting images or videos onto a half-sphere ceiling [through] the nonprofit that founding member Bach started called Denver Arts and Technology Advancement, or DATA.
The marriage of technology and art comes more easily to the members of Alt Ethos than it does to most. That’s their biggest obstacle at the moment— convincing people that technological art can be just as reliable as the computers we keep in our pockets every day. What puts them on the path to success is their desire to provide education to those who are skeptical or wary, as well as their eye-catching and engaging installations. Just in the first month of this year, Alt Ethos provided unique experiences at two separate parties— the Meow Wolf artist mixer and Moxie’s Dark Fairytale event. Next month they will represent Colorado at a small business showcase in Washington D.C. and as soon as they return they’ll be working (through DATA) on their annual international artist-in-residency program for digital dome projection.
Their largest project so far this year will culminate in November in old town Fort Collins,, where they will continually project images and light onto an exterior mural. The mural artist will work with Alt Ethos to envision a collaborative design in the hopes that Alt Ethos’ projections may illuminate the mural in an enriching manner as well as light it up at night when mural art is not appreciated as much. “We want this to be a one-of-a-kind experience for people,” Layman commented, “and the challenge of making it permanent is part of the joy of doing it.”
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