TIFFxPOP: The Intersection of Art, Music and Virtual Reality


Virtual reality is really starting to take off in the public conscious as stable platforms in the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and the upcoming PlayStation VR become available at high end but still consumer accessible prices for home use. The maturation of the medium also provides an opportunity for exciting collaborations such as the TIFFxPOP series as The Verge and TIFF joined forces on a series of art installations in June, July and August at the TIFF Lightbox Theatre in downtown Toronto.


The expanded POP X on Saturday night featured a pair of keynote talks, starting with a panel on VR + Art moderated by Joseph Patel from the FADER and speakers Henry Faber, Adam Robezzoli and other distinguished guests (confession: I was scoping out the room to plan my experiences for part of the talk). Adam was excited to see new creators in VR that traditionally didn’t work in digital media and as a collorary, Joseph spoke about seeing a wide range of people who are engaging with VR in recent times.

The most memorable story came from Henry, when he spoke about a woman in a wheelchair who tried VR and was delighted when she looked down and didn’t see anything (rather than a wheelchair in the real world). She had an out of body experience that only those in her situation could relate to, which resulted in excitement in the virtual ability to walk up and down stairs and a story that really stood out in my mind.


The following talk focused on VR + Music with panelists Connor IllsleyJon Riera, Karen Vanderbourght and the return of moderator Joseph Patel. This panel spoke about the new challenges for creators to plan and capture musical performance in 3D; Joseph stressed that pre-production had to be on lock and that the crew had to think about not just what’s in front of you but also what’s around you. Jon spoke about filming OVO Fest with a RED VR rig and how he had never before experienced a representation of being on stage that was at as empowering in his career.

Using these techniques and tools to create a sense of discovery and the desire to explore is really important according to Connor which I emphatically agree with. Karen also emphasized that content is king, 360 will not make bad content better.


Coming up in POP 02 on July 15-17 will focus on VR + Empathy + Real World Storytelling and POP 03 shifts over to VR + Experimental Film on August 19-21 to conclude the series. For both entries, there will be a POP X version that includes keynote panel(s); we’ll have coverage of all 3 shows and much more in our new Virtual Reality category, be sure to keep your browser locked on Play With Pixels to learn more about this exciting new medium!

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