Nonny de La Pena has been called the "godmother of Virtual Reality." You will get a sense of why in this Ted Talk where she describes and demonstrates some of her work. She is currently completing a degree through the MAP program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where I have been lucky enough to have her as a student in my classes.
As we shift out attention from Black Panther to Ready Player 1, we are reaching out to folks in our network who are working on the cutting edge of the kinds of technologies and technological practices that film represents -- virtual reality, world building, and games-based learning. As with our other interviews, we use the film as a springboard for large discussions.
This past week, Colin MacClay, my co-host, went to the movies with De La Pena, and then both raced back to record the episode. The donut quality is a bit off --they ended up recording their impressions using the voice memo functions on their cellphones and Sean Myers,, our gifted producer, was able to knit the sound back together again.
In this far-reaching discussion, the two talk about the strengths and the limits in how the film represents the virtual world, the ethical potentials of virtual reality, the most likely directions that the interface will take, and how we can use virtual reality to enhance rather than escape from the current state of the world. La Pena often speaks as the conscience of the virtual reality realm that she has helped to promote through her artistic and documentary practice,, and here, we hear the depth of her passion and insight about this emerging realm. Enjoy!