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Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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Android Jones makes psychedelic art more accessible in VR

flowmotion
Android Jones makes psychedelic art more accessible in VR

One of the most promising ventures for VR is that of art. Whether it’s a fully immersive, non-interactive experience created solely for exploring within a 360-degree world, or art literally created within it, VR gives artists an entirely new realm beyond our immediate one to illustrate. Google’s HTC Vive-bound Tilt Brush is probably the most well-known application for creating VR art. Coupled with a recent exhibition with the animation studio Titmouse, Tilt Brush has proven itself as a sandbox for artists and non-artists alike. But it’s not the only one.

Digital artist Andrew “Android” Jones is embarking on a new set of VR-narrowed experiments. One is a sandbox and music-visualizing environment entitled FlowMotion (developed in collaboration with designers Scott Hedstrom and Anson Phong). It’s much akin to Tilt Brush, but different in how it interacts with the environment the player creates in. The other is a more portable effort: the opportunity to experience Jones’s 360-degree journey SAMSKARA through his own digital psychedelia, but this time through mobile VR headsets rather than projected onto a massive dome encompassing the viewer.

The art takes on a life of its own

What sets FlowMotion apart from Tilt Brush is its unpredictability. Instead of painting concrete 3D images, as one would do in Tilt Brush, FlowMotion finds solidarity in its ephemeral patterns. Where Tilt Brush’s works stay mostly still, FlowMotion’s pulsate and move continuously, making the art take on a life of its own. And while Tilt Brush is mostly a home for experienced artists or wildly imaginative individuals, FlowMotion finds a home in the opposite. It’s accessible, and it doesn’t require meticulous skill or even a bountiful imagination. Simply waving the HTC Vive controller around to create abstract art is enough and dazzling to watch as it moves in tune with the music playing. In essence, FlowMotion encompasses the fleetingness of Snapchat, rather than the crystallization of Instagram.

flowmotion

Android Jones’ personal art diversifies beyond this next step into the virtual world. He’s created a multitude of psychedelic, eclectic works, in addition to even crafting dizzying visuals for live performances (such as working with Tipper at the Infrasound Music Festival, and The Grateful Dead on their Fare Thee Well tour). Jones’s work passes beyond our immediate perspective, and dives into a psychedelic world unlike the one in which we inhabit. In VR, it’s only necessary to explore what isn’t our everyday reality, and have the ability to create art in new, intuitive ways. FlowMotion might just be the next best place to explore that.

FlowMotion is currently in in development being in it alpha stage.

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