Simon Wilkinson, artist from Circa69 based in London, is travelling to Montreal to participate in the Virtual Reality Salon at the second edition of MUTEK_IMG, a forum on current practices in digital creation. Here he discusses his anticipation for the event and his forecast for the development of virtual reality in the future.

What are you looking forward to your participation at MUTEK_IMG?

I'm looking forward to running the demo of The Cube at the PHI Centre during MUTEK_IMG, talking with people about the show I am currently developing and finding out what everyone else is doing with Virtual Reality. I am interested to see whether there are others creating live multi-sensory and transmedia works for the Virtual Reality Salon at MUTEK_IMG.

What excites you at the moment?

At the moment I am excited about developing new ways to deliver Virtual Reality experiences to larger audiences with a greater degree of live multi-sensory content. I am particularly enjoying the fact that the use of VR is bringing a broader diversity of audiences to my work and that the inclusion of layered transmedia content is helping to keep a considerable percentage of them engaged with the narrative and subtext of the work for prolonged periods of time.

What is the latest digital invention that blew your mind?

The most profound and exciting new technology for me is 360 video and in particular, the fact that small, affordable consumer variants of the technology will be available within the next few months. I am particularly interested in how 360 video is going to affect the way news stories and world events are communicated, how social networking will incorporate 360 video and, of course, what artists use it for.

How can immersive technologies improve or advance performance art?

The emergence of VR technology has enabled me to give audiences a greater degree of agency within my work, but also importantly, it has attracted a much broader diversity of audiences to take part. I would say that the increasing affordability of VR and 360 video tech plus Unity3D and Unreal games engines becoming free to use is going to mean that artists, creators and enthusiasts are going to quickly establish new ways to combine the tech with live performance.

In your opinion, what does the future hold for us?

In the past, whenever new mediums have emerged, it has taken creators a while to unshackle them from traditional forms and to establish where its strengths lie in delivering stories and performances in profound new ways. I believe this is going to happen very quickly and that once affordable consumer (non-gaming) laptops and home PCs are powerful enough to use the technology, then we're going to witness a massive take up of Virtual Reality for home use.

Simon Wilkinson participated in the VR SALON The Creative Track: Keynote and Case Studies on Friday on October 2 as part of MUTEK_IMG.
The Cube was also presented at the Phi Centre in Montreal in October, 2015.

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