PXR2020 Conference

Produced by Single Thread Theatre Co. in association with Electric Company Theatre

Presented Oct 2, 3, 9, 10, 2020 AltSpace VR

Development Stage:
 - Community Engagement
 - Conference Presentation

Summary of Project:

(PXR2020) is a Virtual Reality Symposium for Canadian artists and XR technologists, exploring creation and performance in XR. An opportunity for creators and digital content creators to come together to share discoveries and build partnerships for future collaborations, PXR2020 features a series of presentations, discussions and showcases by artists, technologists and innovators in a virtual environment. Canadian theatre artists will examine virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality (collectively known as XR) in the creation of live performance, developing and sharing strategies with industry leaders and XR Programmers. 

Toasterlab is presenting a livestream of the symposium Performance and XR 2020 (PXR2020) on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv from Friday 2 October to Saturday 10 October 2020.

Description of User Experience:

The symposium occurs over four sessions in Virtual Reality, and includes a Keynote presentation by Yelena Rachitsky, Executive Producer at Oculus Experience, and Futurenote presentation by interdisciplinary artist Casey Koyczan. With virtual presentations, conversations and workshops by industry leaders and creators, PXR2020 aims to foster creative experimentation with these emerging mediums in dialogue with the IT sector. We are hosting the symposium on a VR chat application called AltSpaceVR. You can download and access AltSpaceVR directly through a VR headset or play it in “2D” mode on your laptop or desktop computer.

Identified “Best Practices” for Mixed Reality Production:

  • Use established systems and infrastructure where you can to avoid major logistical problems.
  • If what you are doing is extremely novel, it may be necessary to build some things yourself. For this project, a ticketing platform had to be built using Jotform, so that applicants could apply to get a VR headset before purchasing their tickets.
  • For conferences, hardware-agnostic worlds are ideal. Attendance numbers will be severely limited if people cannot attend using a certain kind of computer or VR headset.
  • Spend money on people before spending money on things. Conferences are a lot of work, and people running them will likely be doing the equivalent of multiple jobs. Their payment should reflect that, or staff should be increased. While sending out headsets was a positive action that this conference took, they could have spent more on the conference staff if they had not spent so much money on the headsets.
  • VR-based conferences and events will really take off when capacity can increase. The development of capacity-testing software, and capacity-testing networks of people will be very important. A capacity-testing network would be a way of organizing VR event planners and artists to spend a short amount of time logging into someone else’s event space in order to help them test the capacity of that space.
  • Hands-on participatory workshops are better received in VR than PowerPoint presentations. The medium of VR demands participation!
  • It was noted that AltSpace VR has an excellent communications team. The PXR organizers were given updates and explanations as they became relevant.
  • AltSpace VR gives the ability to host “Events” — this can be leveraged as a way to test capacity. AltSpace’s established community would likely be receptive to a capacity-testing “Event.”