VRLA 2018 presented Mezo, a 20-foot tall temple welcomes its audience into a world that is synchronized with LED panels, lasers, multi-sensory smells, dancers, and an AR experience.
The Fox Magazine team had the pleasure of attending VRLA 2018 Expo on May 4th – 5th. We spoke with Christian Falstrup, Co-Founder of VRLA and Creative Director of Mezo. Christian and his team gave us an insight into their world and the highly technologically advanced art installation of Mezo.
Embarking on this journey was an unforgettable transcendental experience.
Photography by Maya Dondonyan
We asked Christian what he advises to people who are looking to get into the VR industry, and he believes that VR will change the world as we know it, for a few different reasons:
With a mixed-reality headset, we were able to grow virtual bioluminescent trees outside the temple – adding on to the practice of world making. The trees’ colors were synchronized with the temple’s cycle of creation, destruction, and rebirth. The AR implementation conveys Mezo’s story in a way that is participatory and forms a collaborative interaction with its audience – one in which they become story wanderers entering a new age where there is no longer a separation between performers and audience. AR blurs the line between Mezo and its public.
The sonic adventure gave us the opportunity to sink into the music emotionally. The team used cinematic and theatrical types of chord progressions that implemented Mayan and Aztec sounds. The pairing of the visual images displayed in the LED panels and spatial music transported us into a new world, one in which the Mayan and Aztec cultures weren’t colonized and continued to evolve.
The team paired with LACMA to advice them on Azteca dance styles. Adding dancers to the mix was one of the most fundamental art forms in this project. The choreography was purely expressive and interpretive of the different moods of each part of the narrative cycle. The dancers had jaguar paint over them, which served as a metaphor of the mystic animal that traverses to different dimensions. The dancers were able to respond and transport us into Mezo’s futuristic world.
Mezo gave us the message of hope. It’s about the cycle of creation, destruction, and rebirth. We feel like we are in a divided society and there are a lot of things happening; people are speaking out in different communities on different subjects. Everything that happens to society and individually is part of evolution, development, and building a better world. Even though it may seem like we can be divided, this division is the fruit of evolution.
“Technological advances expand beyond VR. One thing that is really important about emerging technology industries is that you cannot have one without all the others. The best advice I’d give is to not only focus on the technology. Content drives innovation – focus on designing the worlds and creating stories. Detach from the technology because you might not need VR to convey a story. Don’t force VR because of the glamour of it. That’s why I really liked creating Mezo; it was atypical for a VR Expo – there were a lot of other pieces to the world beyond the AR. You can’t just ask someone to come into your booth and try your VR experience – don’t put as much priority on the technology; you can’t force it.”
Follow his journey!