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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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XENIA is a music video about dreaming of a better internet

xenia1
XENIA is a music video about dreaming of a better internet

Videogames promise everything. Embody a character. Own a space. Make a puzzle. “Shoot for the moon. Shoot the moons.”

That sense of irrepressible freedom pulses under the surface of Toronto-based producer Graham Kartna’s latest album, Shoot The Moons. His record, dabbling in lo-fi midi, is probably what comes out when you toss a midi and a Game Boy in the microwave, and then promptly drown it underwater. It’s distorted, chaotic, but overall bubbly and palatial. It shifts and sways, it beeps and bops, dragging you along with its submerged-sounding, retro-electronic whims. One of its tracks, the dizzying “Xenia” has even birthed a virtual reality music video—one made entirely in the space of VR itself.

Take me to faux-Minecraft land.
Take me to faux-Minecraft land.

The music video for “Xenia” was made by artist Troy Duguid all within Tilt Brush, the renowned art application for the HTC Vive. In the video, you follow a generic 3D avatar as he dives into his Aphex Twin-reminiscent Facebook feed. He enters the internet, and thus a world of technicolored wonder. Once inside, the avatar builds things in something that can only be described as a Minecraft clone. He later builds a puzzle, and meets a caterpillar. He finds the missing piece to the puzzle to his heart, with love at first sight. The avatar finds himself cozy and happy by its end, reaching a hand once more through the Facebook feed to invite you in to see the Tilt Brush magic for yourself.

like tossing a midi and a Game Boy in the microwave

Shoot The Moons makes an earnest declaration in its Bandcamp description—think liner notes, if liner notes were digital. “Shoot for the moon. Shoot the moons.” Don’t just set a goal for yourself, shatter that goddamn goal. Overcome it. Don’t just consume the internet, go into the internet. Marry the internet. And, of course, dream of a better internet. 

Want to see XENIA up close and personal? You can download the playable version on itch.io, or just watch it below. (Whatever is easiest for you, I guess.) Oh, and you can check out Graham Kartna’s Shoot the Moons here.

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