So, I'm like back from my long dark tea-time of the soul.

There are so many angles from which I could attempt to somehow encapsulate what makes a VRTO event and the sort of people and their ideas that find it.

I am going to use a couple of techniques - one of which is by way of quotes from the book Finite and Infinite Games, which Jaron Lanier himself recommended to me in 1992.

Let us begin:

“Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.”
― James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games
FIVARS Festival Summer Preview + SubPac + Igloo Vision + 8K spherical CG artwork by J-Walt of Lucid Dreamscapes and Audri Phillips of Robot Prayers at VRTO 2018 - photo by Christian Bobak

Part 1.
VRTO was designed to assert that art is important. Culture is important. Experimentation is important. Subversion and skepticism are important. Philosophy and creativity, collaboration and open minds and hearts can create enormous fonts of positive energy. 

  • In year one we focused on defining a code of ethics for humanistic augmentation and the concern with how they are understood, adopted and exacted

[L to R] Ana Serrano (Canadian Film Centre), Danielle Perszyk (Oscillations), Glenn Cantave (Movers & Shakers), Maryam Sabour, Nyla Innuksuk on a panel "Are VR/AR ready for CHANGE?" photo by Christian Bobak

  • In year two we acknowledged and listened to our progenitors, the pioneers, our elders, attempting to extrapolate decades of existing research and experience upon which foundation we might continue to build. 
  • In year three we looked towards possible futures, distant horizons, terra incognita, mysticism and esoterica, new paradigms, and the exhuming of ancient practices that may find new expressions.

VRTO is only successful if it proves to be salt-peter, Occam's razor, and a portal. If it becomes de rigeur, it is will cede. We will burn it to the ground to enrich the soil that remains.

VFX Heaven: Dave Cardwell of SPINVFX (King Kong, Lord of the Rings, The Expanse) and Steve "Spaz" Williams (Jurassic Park, The Abyss, Terminator 2, The Mask, Spawn) meet for the first time at VRTO 2018 to talk about the future of  CG and immersive tech.

Part 2.
We start from where we are. What we are given. But that is not the end, only the beginning. The rest is up to us to create.

I am a Taurus, and learned, early on that would mean I am obstinate, exceedingly deliberate in my decision-making processes and, once made, would persist on a path until reaching the horizon. To counter this, I named my company Constant Change, after the paradoxical cliche.

On the one hand, we can assure ourselves that the present is unceasingly mutable, and on the other that this unrelenting ocean of tides - ebb and flow - can provide the solace and comfort of familiarity, once we can accept it, and surrender the illusion of permanence or dominion over anything.

“Only that which can change can continue.”
― James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games

Part 3.
The show is not the product. It is the catalyst. It takes minimum 365 days + years to build a VRTO schedule. It is a cauldron. The real product emerges in the days, weeks, months and years that follow. This is what to track, and no attendance numbers or exhibitor count or media circulation that I may include here will paint an honest picture in contrast to those effects. Seek them out. I will help to catalog them in the coming weeks.

“Gardeners slaughter no animals. They kill nothing. Fruits, seeds, vegetables, nuts, grains, grasses, roots, flowers, herbs, berries-all are collected when they have ripened, and when their collection is in the interest of the garden's heightened and continued vitality. Harvesting respects a source, leaves it unexploited, suffers it to be as it is.”
― James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility

No one here should believe themselves to be in competition. We are the end of days, and paradoxically, there is no limit to the abundance of thought, imagination and resourcefulness we can deploy to solve problems, improve quality of life and foster goodness around the world, not just among humans but all creatures and entities. Help each other. Support everyone who wants to play in this wonderful field. (Well, except Nazis. FUCK Nazis.)

{​L to R]: Rodrigo Contreras (Trade & Investment Commissioner, Mexico), Irena Cronin (Transformation Group), Ryan Andal (Secret Location), John Bolton (Globacore), Councillor Michael Thompson, Stefan Grambart, Charlie Fink, Stepen Shew (Battleverse), Joanna Popper (HP), Tom Emrich (SuperVentures), me!, Nathan Weir (FORREC), Helen Papagiannis, Sergio Ramirez and Joss Monzon (Virtualware and NMerso), Andrew MacDonald (CreamVR) - photo by Christian Bobak

Here are some treasures, coming out of the event:


Podcast Episodes From VRTO2018 by Kent Bye - Voices of VR

Official Session Videos from VRTO2018

and I am VERY excited to launch the follow 1-hour talk between me and Paul Darvasi and Steve Gaynor - one of my bucket list moments caught on film.

Because infinite players prepare themselves to be surprised by the future, they play in complete openness. It is not an openness as in candor, but an openness as in vulnerability. It is not a matter of exposing one's unchanging identity, the true self that has always been, but a way of exposing one's ceaseless growth, the dynamic self that has yet to be.
― James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility

I am very grateful to our sponsors and exhibitors and speakers. To the sponsors: without your support we can't do this. Please keep supporting our work. Yes, this means you.

Special thanks to Ryerson Faculty of Communication and Design for having hosted us at their venue these past two years.

remain steadfast. do what you love. and don't get caught by the dazzling charades.

And now, these carefully selected VR/AR news stories from the week, just for you:

If you have a groundbreaking news story you'd like to see in the next issues of the VRTO newsletter, VR/AR related material you'd like to advertise, sponsor, present on a topic, have some feedback or want to list an Event at the VRTO Event Calendar, please email me at

FIVARS 2018 Submissions are now open! Submit your Immersive narrative work via the portal at WithoutABox. Thank you to for this featured interview about FIVARS 2018 and its philosophy!

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