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Virtual Futures PsychFi: Turn On, Boot Up, Jack In

Last night we dropped acid... sort of...

No drugs were involved, just the melding of brain, perception and technology at PsychFi, a creative-tech virtual reality salon hosted by Virtual Futures and part of HackStock at London's coveted new gallery space: Lights of Soho, a neon-pop underground venue attracting a forward thinking creative crowd.
 

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"Turn on, tune in, drop out"

The technicolor koolaid phrase made famous by Timothy Leary and known to all alternate reality seekers and Electric Acid Test enthusiasts. But fewer know that Leary updated the 60's slogan at the turn of the internet age into...

“Turn on, boot up, jack in.”

People have been saying this for a while, but the future is seriously upon us... and Virtual Futures is a catalyst in the virtual and augmented reality movement. Psychedelics have been replaced by Cyberdelics. Reality by the virtual; our minds able to transcend our very senses. The real world? So passé.
 
We left the real world behind... faaar behind... and booted up and jacked in... to the virtual space of PsychFi, Virtual Futures' partner in the #HackThePlanet experience, featuring mind blowing panelist discussions, the latest virtual tripping technologies and reality-distorting innovations that let you plug into an alternate dimension.
 

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"Inside the virtual realm, you lose complete contact with the real world, everywhere you look, you see some fantastical three-dimensional scene within a seemingly endless space, characters popping out at you, your body flying through space."–CM

PsychFi is the candyland for the creative-tech crowd... Virtual reality demonstrations at every nook and corner, everyone donning headsets–their minds floating into the virtual realm with their bodies grounded in the real one–and panelists giving us a glimpse into the future.

With panelists like Co-founder and Creative Director of body>data>space and Women Shift Digital, Ghislaine Boddington Bafta nominated PsychFi composer Simon Boswell; Head of Digital Development at National Theatre, Toby Coffey; founder of Sci-Fi London, Louis Savvy; visual artist and virtual reality research Michael Takeo Magruder; Spheres VR artist Carl Guyenette, and the director of the Learning Technology Research Centre, Carl H. Smith.... the lateral thinking fuelled conversions were out of this world to say the least... They spoke about the boundaries and application possibilities of cyberdelics to transform how we interact with the virtual world and our own. If virtual reality can ever be psychedelic in more than just the visual aesthetics. The gap between real and virtual mind altering substances and if cyberdelics can ever achieve the sensory melding, mind bending experience of psychedelic drugs. The role of the viewer's imagination in augmenting the experience, and a glimpse into the long term goals of virtual reality in offering us a new perspective on the reality we live in.

What became clear from the discussions is that Virtual Futures–and the rest of the world currently engaged in the VR race–are on the brink of a technological seismic shift of sorts. We're only at the beginning, and while the technology is still evolving and quite foreign to most, it will soon become a norm, and as omnipresent as phone apps with VR transforming our daily tech engagements.

Like an actual acid trip, virtual reality needs to be experienced to be understood, but we'll give it a go: Place a phone featuring the VR app inside the headset and drop out of the real world. It's as simple as that. You'll suddenly find yourself within a virtual space–literally–and one which is connected to a computer projecting your experience onto a screen (in a 2D representation), giving real world viewers a glimpse into your experience. Want a tutorial? Watch this.
 

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"The vehicle of drugs pumping through your veins has been replaced with the electric impulses fuelling the code and programs that bring us out of our own reality and into the brain-tricking algorithms that will make you trip without drugs."–CM

 
There were dozens of experiences to lose yourself in at Virtual Future's PsychFi that night... We fell down the rabbit hole, literally, and into Fabulous.Wonderland inspired by Lewis Caroll's iconic Alice ripe with trippy technicolored characters and a floating Cheshire cat.

Inside A New Jerusalem the text of Revelation was transformed into data code making for a psychedelic video game whirlwind into the architectural space and spirit of the prophesied city. The vehicle of drugs pumping through your veins has been replaced with the electric impulses fuelling the code and programs that bring us out of our own reality and into the brain-tricking algorithms that will make you trip without drugs.

And then we experienced the virtual reality meant to test your emotions and most appropriately named Meet The Family... in this film meets VR we found ourselves soaring through the air, encountering worlds and characters, our hearts racing as we entered into a secret-ridden dark room...

And Veins brought on the sensuality, as we were ripped out of the low lit Soho Lights space and into a bright space suspended in time as three women and four men, all naked, appeared, connected and shared their energy.

 

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Through Virtual Futures and PsychFi, we got a taste of the infinite possibilities that exist within the virtual realm. You lose complete contact with the real world, everywhere you look, you see some fantastical three-dimensional scene within a seemingly endless space, characters popping out at you, your body flying through space. Like entering inside a video game, but so much better. Anything is possible. It can be a bit disorienting at first and we felt a tad vulnerable with that strange division of experiencing another world while your body is still standing in the real one–we're still VR rookies after all–but it was mind blowing and left us craving for more.

Some might not be ready, but they will, because take it from us: this is the future and it's going to transform the way we interact with the virtual world, and our own reality...
 
More to come with in depth interviews of key players at the forefront of the Creative Tech industries.
 
#Hackstock #HackThePlanet #VirtualFutures #PsychFi
 
 
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