Femis: Exploring Virtual Reality 360°

1 April 2017. Published by Benoît Labourdette.
Temps de lecture : 3 min  

A week of exploration of Virtual Reality by a group of Femis and CNSAD students, leaded by Benoît Labourdette. Experiments, creations, reflections ...

A philosophical and critical perspective, through playful explorations, to question the emergence of this new technology. This week was abundant and collaborative, it would take a long time to tell: writing, reading, film making, invention of diffusion devices, exploration of potential subjects with this technology, diversions... You can discover a selection of productions in this mini- site created for the occasion: www.benoitlabourdette.com/_docs/projets/2017/2017_femis_vr/static

Workshop note of intent

Reality and Virtual: two related opposing terms, which describe the next image reception technology desired by electronics manufacturers. Why should you name the films shot and broadcast in 360 °? To drag us into a simulacrum of reality, no doubt. But for what reason? For me art is the play of representation, it is the work of connivance between the work and the viewer, it is the deepening of the consciousness of the other and of oneself. The project that I perceive through this way of naming a technology seems to me to be completely anti-artistic. The concept of “virtual reality” does not therefore concern, in my opinion, artists, but sellers of lies, that is, capitalist merchants. And then, two opposed terms associated, it is a figure of well-known style: the oxymoron, meaning nonsense.

Let us explore the potentialities of the 360 ​​°, do not reject them, not to make it a Virtual Reality, but to invent Real Imagines!

Capturing the Public Restitution

The outcome of the workshop was presented publicly. How to propose a collective experience with this technology? Discover in pictures the ideas we have developed.

The mini-website

Workshop Presentation Text

Virtual reality
by Benoît Labourdette

Uses and diversions playful, political, technologies in vogue of the “VR”, to reintroduce critical spirit in a technology that does not yet philosophically question. 360 ° films, scenic experiences, installations ... invent, take a distance.

The image is now part of real life and presents, in particular with live video (Periscope, Facebook live...), it has become in less than ten years one of the ways of the incarnated existence of humans in their relations to one another. In this field, the image is intrinsically linked to the written text and the spoken word, text and image seeming to merge into a new “layer” that filters our relationship to the real.
For example, the term “virtual reality”, for 360 ° viewed / viewed images, is indicative of a simulacra project of reality, which is a political and commercial project above all. Today it is so rebellious by the professionals of the audiovisual sector as a future panacea of ​​the image, whereas its use is not yet existing, that it seems salutary to question this device by the philosophy and the acts. If no one does that, then we’re going to go collectively into a political wall.

To rephrase, the “VR” is thus the new fashion of professionals of the audiovisual and the media. The deployment of a technology without critical thinking marks the dawn of a loss of the sense of the devices of representation. Let us divert tools and working methods, amuse ourselves, challenge norms, shake our thoughts, and be aware of the political dimension of our work. Let’s make shows with installations, not just mock images of reality in helmets stuck in the eyes of obedient humans and enclosed in their bubbles.

As part of this workshop, as I have done with mobile phones for 11 years, the challenge is not to have a “professional” practice in the technical sense of the term, but to explore, with tools for the general public spaces of creativity that do not offer professional tools, much heavier and charged with stakes (even if only financial ones). So play with their technical “flaws” especially as signs of poetic and political material.

As each phone is different and produces a different picture bill, each small RV camera produces an image type, and also device, different. These light methods, if taken seriously, lead to other postures and therefore other types of artistic projects, and it is precisely the purpose of this inter-school week to “shift”, take a step aside, to explore, discover, imagine, other territories. Films projected in helmets, but also in theaters, or in the form of installations or “spectacle” ... Rethink in depth, with new technologies, our “trades”.

Students who participated in the workshop “Exploring Virtual Reality 360 °”

  • Rafaël Torres Calderon
  • Lucas Le Postec
  • Agathe Reiland
  • Liviu Bora
  • Alexis Bertrand
  • Arnaud Rémy Girardin
  • Téo Sizun
  • Eliott Khayat
  • Edouard Pénaud
See also
The films called “VR” (Virtual Reality) are films, linear or interactive, shot with 360° cameras, which can be viewed either on screen by moving inside the image with the mouse or the finger, either with a helmet placed in front of the eyes while turning the head. The films you find here use or divert this production and broadcasting technology. Because a technology is not neutral and must be questioned. This is why I also gather here captures and restitutions of colloquiums, conferences, round tables, workshops... on the subject of Virtual Reality, to which I (...)