Ben Lumsden (Unreal Engine/Epic Games)
As we live through the Covid-19 pandemic our sense of the physical and the digital is changing. So much screen time produces an impression of space, but one that is entangled with the ways in which we co-create and stage the spaces of everyday life. These are hybrid but also increasingly, 'smart'. Meanwhile, automated actors operate alongside us and organise our interactions and spaces.
This seminar on (un)real digital futures is part of an arts-based research project named 'Actors on a new stage', which draws on Annja Neumann’s research in the area of the theatricalisation of public spaces. Our speaker, Ben Lumsden, brings experience from working for Unreal Engine as the lead for media and entertainment at Epic Games. He will discuss the current state of real-time immersive experiences and the convergence of different media platforms using gaming technology. The future of entertainment, he argues, will include a new version of the 'metaverse' concept drawn from science fiction.
The talk is followed by a discussion with our speaker and a panel of academics and artists, each of whom will critically contextualise the metaverse idea. In the third part of the seminar, we will open to floor to questions from participants and potential actors in the metaverse.
The seminar will be chaired by CDH Research Fellow and dramaturg Annja Neumann.
Caroline Bassett: Director, Cambridge Digital Humanities
Cary Parker: Digital Artist & Filmmaker for Round World Films, Cambridge
Jonnie Penn: Research Fellow in AI History, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
Kirk Woolford: Immersive Media Practitioner & Researcher in Creative Technologies, Anglia Ruskin University