A Journey to the New Frontier (Sundance 2020) pt. 1

Digitas

A Journey to the New Frontier (Sundance 2020) pt. 1

Keith Soljacich

As my Lyft pulled up to the snowy mountain town of Park City, Utah, my driver’s parting words would linger in the back of my mind over the next 48 hours.

“Have a good time doing…whatever it is you’re going to do!?!” 

That’s usually the reaction when you describe the Sundance New Frontier program.  A growing exhibition at Sundance, New Frontier has evolved in to one of the premier showcases for XR and spatial computing creators in the industry.  Housed at venues across Park City, these 8-14 minute immersive experiences are a window in to the minds of artists who use AR & VR to submerge you in to their brilliant transmedia storytelling.  At New Frontier, you don’t sit back and watch, you step up and participate and no two personal experiences are the same.

Memorable Experiences

Much like Disney World, it’s impossible to see everything at New Frontier in one weekend.  So I combined a little planning with a little luck to see a varied mix of experiences.  It became evident that experiences were seeking to provide the sense of real presence through a clear artistic vision.  They share a commonality where VR and AR technology has evolved to include hand and full body tracking that vastly improves upon the locked in and seated experiences of the mid 2010’s.  Once you are immersed in the world of the creator, the distractions of the real world that used to distract from reality, now melt away in your mind.  They differed in their artistic visions, in a good way.  XR gives creators an infinite and open canvas that is only limited by your imagination.  Each experience allowed me to step inside the manifestation of their vision, like roaming the halls of the museum of modern art, each turn provided a new revelation.

Brands far and wide have the potential to adapt many of the technologies shared at New Frontier; it is an appropriate name given what the technology represents—a new frontier for how brands connect with people.  That’s what Digitas is all about—and it’s why I am so intrigued to share this with you.  My mind wandered about how the brands we work with could use this technology.  As you read this series, I’ll share some thoughts about how and where brands can use these new forms of technology to curate experiences that have yet to be recognized.

In my next piece, I’ll address “The Great Hack.” Yes, I’ll keep you guessing.

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