Tuesday, October 5th, 2021, 12pm Pacific on Zoom
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A Klee painting named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History (1940)
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality together known as XR or Extended Reality is poised to change the world and what it means to be human. As with Social Media and the advent of the Smart Phone, XR technologies and the seeming inevitability of the Metaverse connected by existing infrastructure and Low Earth Orbit Satellites are set to affect change on a massive scale and in a more compressed time scale.
In these technologically mediated XRs, vast quantities of high-quality bio and psychometric data can be captured and algorithms focused on altering cognition and behavior are plausible. There is an inherent tension between our drive to deepen our ability to connect, learn and evolve towards our best individual and collective selves, and the significant financial rewards and effects of accelerating surveillance capitalism inherent in XR Technology.
Given these financial rewards and the ability to affect the very nature of the system that is Humanity, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sony, and many other corporate entities are investing considerable resources to develop and deploy XR technologies and applications across the private and military sectors.
Join fellow Parteckians in an audience-mediated dialogue with VR Entrepreneur Mihai Streza of Wondder and Transdisciplinary Media Artist, Pravin Pillay of ImagineXR! Together with the help of Rochelle Fairfield, we will explore the market, technological and social drivers propelling the development and adoption of XR technologies that are set to accelerate humanity on its (d)evolutionary path.
Prav's creative practice explores and integrates collaborators, concepts, and tropes from a span of disciplines including organizational development, ecology, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, semiotics, systems theory, computer science, engineering, and the neurosciences.
For several years, Prav was a co-facilitator of Media That Matters - a gathering of media change makers at Hollyhock - a leading educational facility on the west coast of Canada - and more recently served as the Artist and Community Strategist in Residence with R.A.V.E.N. (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs), a sessional instructor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and also an Executive in Residence with VIATEC - a technology incubator in Victoria, BC.He has given key-note talks on a range of subjects and appeared on expert panels across several disciplines at universities, conferences, and private educational institutions including Esalen in California.
Prav holds a B. Arts and Science from McMaster University, a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, an MBA from McGill University, an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan, as well as a permaculture certification from Seven Ravens Farm on Salt Spring Island. During his MFA, Prav sought to understand the nature of systems-based artworks and collaborated with engineers in Human-Computer interaction to conduct art-science experiments that played at the intersection of art, artificial intelligence, and robotics.
ImagineXR! is a recently hatched creative studio initiative through which Prav and his colleagues intend to deploy immersive technology to inquire into the quixotic and perplexing experience of being human.
Mihai Streza, CEO and founder of wondder launched the company in 2019 with the aim of building a portfolio of VR experiences for HR and B2B training, taking it to the next level. Mihai is a computer scientist and serial founder with many years of experience in strategy consulting and early stage investing, with companies such as Roland Berger, Accenture and AQAL Capital. His firststartup, eRockIT GmbH, was chosen in 2012 by Wirtschaftswoche as one of the five sustainability startups you should know:
Rochelle is a generalist, having been led by curiosity, passion and opportunity to work in various roles in settings as diverse as the commercial fishing sector, academia, technology ethics, Zen and human consciousness development. Roles include deck-hand, skipper, president of the prawn fisherman’s association, project manager-facilitator, agile scrum adaptor, on-the-spot developmental coach, strategic planner, integral practitioner, and researcher. She has authored articles on power and gender, gleaned from experience transforming multi-stakeholder conflict in the commercial fishing industry and coaching women leaders in social services in Vancouver’s downtown east-side. Rochelle participated then mentored in Pacific Integral’s Generating Transformative Change program, and is a long-time Zen student of Diane Musho Hamilton. Along the way she completed an MA in Integral Theory and certification with Integral Coaching Canada. How people work together to accomplish something decent, beautiful and worthwhile, is currently the focus of her interest, practice, work and care.