This weekend Watershed and the
University of Bristol Smart Internet Lab have been collaborating on Layered
Realities, which is a showcase of 5G technologies. We’ve invited artists in to
shape and provoke and kind of tell us what the future of these technologies might be. Our Dancing Shadows uses 5G technology by placing multiple players inside the same VR experience using the mobile network, which as far as we know hasn’t been done before. So that’s very exciting to be working in a new medium like that. We have seven people who have a VR experience, but what we do is, we place the other people’s VR experience into that world so we’ve got
kind of a social VR experience happening outdoors, delivering a whole load of data
to the public watching and then a whole load of data to the players who are in VR. This is the world’s first urban 5G testbed. 5G is going to change our lives in many ways. Trillions of machines connected to the network –
it’s going to bring us an Internet of everything: people and machines
communicating all the time. It is the Smart Internet Lab at the University of
Bristol that is developing the technology, the solution and actually
designing and deploying the infrastructure on Bristol’s Millennium Square. Watershed believes that everybody should be involved in designing our future and increasingly that means: what is the technology that we’re going to be using. So we try to get artists and creatives to kind of invent that future
to think about possible uses, but I think also to invite the public in to
experience them so that they also can have questions and can understand what might be rolled out for them in the future. I think it’s really important to have
the fellowship program as part of the showcase so it’s not just about the
technology but it’s about people’s thoughts about the technology. The
Fellowship program is a way of having people reflect about the technology and
to think about what difference it will make to our lives. So my hopes for 5G are that it will allow us to realise some of the impossible ideas that we’ve had as artists. that technology hasn’t allowed us to achieve before now. The live and the virtual can be brought together seamlessly. Billennium Square is a walk through time. Audience members will be guided around this square and they will be given smartphones and on those smartphones they will be able to see potential futures using augmented reality. Working with 5G the audience will see the futures they imagine layered over the reality of today. It’s the first time with this work we get to experiment with multi-channel sound and a spatialised soundscape where each audience member will be playing a different part of the soundtrack out of the device they’re holding. I started projection here about ten years ago. I since did many many projects in many places and I’m really thrilled to be back. I love using the video projector as a light source, not necessarily to project a video but to use the light as a medium and space
as a canvas. We will use this layer of water as a projection surface so we’ll
basically have light floating in the air and I’m gonna project some stars, some
constellations and I’m going to explore the idea between technology, art and
connection between people. Layered Realities was a great success despite the snow. We had more people coming and experiencing cutting-edge
technologies than we could’ve asked for and we’ve got loads of ideas of what we
can do with it in the future. you

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