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“The more we learn about how media is created, the more we learn how to express ourselves in it, the more aware we’re going to be when we’re being manipulated by media, and that’s my hope. That a rising generation will be media savvy, and they’ll be able to distinguish true from false.”

Robert Tercek

Robert Tercek
The author, futurist, and digital media trailblazer offers his prescient forecasts for the future of the digital age. He shares his insights about the potential and perils of the metaverse, a place that he describes as an attempt at dematerializing the entire world.
Marc Simons
Adweek’s 2019 Experiential Executive of the Year talks about his pioneering work with Giant Spoon, the agency behind the legendary Westworld SXSW activation. Simons discusses how memorable experiences help to build brands.
How the Chicago Chef Iliana Regan Cooked Fan Fiction
// Eater

“In cooking culinary adaptations of other people’s [intellectual] properties, Regan became an author of new stories; she transformed her diners into characters within them—or, viewed from another angle, authors of their own stories born of the stories Regan was retelling,” writes Rachel Kreiter in this amazingly reported longform story about the writer/chef Iliana Regan. Her restaurants, including Elizabeth in Chicago, are known for their culinary manifestations of story worlds like Game of Thrones and Twin Peaks. Kreiter positions Regan’s work in a larger phenomenon: story worlds are expanding to new dimensions that give agency and empower multisensory experiences for the people formerly known as the audience.
AI and the Limits of Language
// Noema Magazine

There has been great writing this month about the rapid advancements of AI like LaMDA, DALLE-2, and Midjourney — including Kevin Roose’s call to action about AI progress and Steve Lohr’s chronicle of the dream of fusing AI with common sense. In this essay, Meta’s Chief AI Scientist, Yann LeCun, and post-doc Jacob Browning offer an eloquently argued and very realist take: an AI trained on words and sentences alone will never approximate human intelligence. They argue that much of our knowledge is nuanced, experiential, non-verbal, and embodied. “Abandoning the view that all knowledge is linguistic permits us to realize how much of our knowledge is nonlinguistic.” Their writing calms the nerves about AI’s advancement while offering a valuable understanding of human communication.
A Philosophy of Games That Is Really a Philosophy of Life
// The Ezra Klein Show

This conversation between Ezra Klein and philosopher C. Thi Nguyen is worth a listen. The podcast unpacks Nguyen’s understanding of games, which he has written as: “Games are the art form that work in the medium of agency. A game designer doesn’t just create a world—they create who we are in that world.” Nguyen emphasizes the value of games as the crystallization of doing. But he warns against the dangers of gamification. Point systems have become prevalent in so many non-game aspects of modern life—from classroom GPAs to Twitter retweets—that center the outcomes and can distract from the joys of the process. Nguyen and Klein’s dialogue advocates for purposeful game design that focuses on the richness and beauty in the act of playing.
The Age of Algorithmic Anxiety
// The New Yorker
It’s no secret that algorithms are structuring our decision-making and impacting our desires. But people are losing patience with “the algorithm” and its powerful anxiety-inducing prevalence in our lives. This New Yorker piece chronicles the complaints and conspiracies against the algorithm—which “has become a metaphor for the ultimate digital Other, a representation of all of our uneasiness with online life.” Kyle Chayka interviews people who feel passive online, struggling to regain control of their attention in the crowded chaos of platforms and publishers today. Brands and storytellers are challenged to create digital user experiences that enable authentic user control and organic discovery.

 Yasmin Elayat and the Scatter team’s magical-realist VR experience The Changing Same explores America’s history of racial injustice. This month it was nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Interactive Media.

 XR leader and former HP executive Joanna Popper has been appointed CAA‘s first Chief Metaverse Officer.

 FoST performer Lin-Manuel Miranda is partnering with Prizeo on Ham4Choice, a fundraising effort to support organizations providing abortion access and other reproductive
health services. Ham4Choice asks fans to donate funds from August 9 to September 22.

 Vimeo, led by CEO and FoST community member Anjali Sud, launched a monthly video magazine called Video Matters. The magazine compiles the best videos from the platform and leverages Vimeo’s new interactive video capabilities. 
 Campfire Creative Director Steve Coulson created a stunning 40-page digital comic called Summer Island—all of the artwork was generated by the Midjourney AI. 

 Yannick Trapman-O’Brien, creator of The Telelibrary, will be exhibiting his new project, Undersigned—a psychological thriller for an audience of one—at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival from September 11 to September 19.

 WeTransfer’s Annie Malarkey announced the recipients of the Creative Hubs Grant. The program benefits 10 nonprofit creative institutions in American cities, from the only bilingual theater community organization in Tennessee to an Arts Leadership Academy for homeless youth in Atlanta. 

 Media.Monks metaverse exec Catherine D. Henry was selected to Campaign's 40 over 40 list for 2022. The award honors executives for their noteworthy contributions across 
advertising, marketing, media, technology, and communications.

Below, find a list of some of the storytelling experiences and events we recommend this month. Shoot us an email if you come across anything that should be included next month!

Explore the Official Selection of Venice Immersive 2022
The 2022 Venice Immersive selection is composed of a total of forty-four projects (seven 360 videos, twenty Standup VR projects, eleven Installations, five VR worlds on VRChat, and one Special Screening Event). The festival offers a virtual experience in VRChat for those who cannot visit the Immersive Island in person, which includes 30 virtual worlds to be explored by attendees.

Play the Heresy: 1897 Escape Room in Brooklyn
Doors of Divergence’s elaborate new escape room has earned rave reviews (H/T No Proscenium) for its stunning set design and intricate gameplay. “Alchemy. Astronomy. White Magic. The Order of the Three Keys is the most powerful organization you’ve never heard of—until now. Join their ranks and investigate the heretical experiments of Edmond Cavanaugh—a man whose actions reverberate though time itself.”

Attend Gray Area’s Art and Technology Festival in SF
Gray Area, the nonprofit arts organization, partners with the McLuhan Institute this year to explore artistic practice as an important sensing agent in a world of rapidly evolving media and technology. This year’s festival participants coalesce across concerns around the future of climate and ecological systems, algorithmic complexity and control, and the surface areas between technology and identity.

Experience Lykke Li’s Alt-Pop World at The Broad Museum 
Swedish indie pop sensation Lykke Li will perform her first museum piece—an audio-visual immersive experience of her new album EYEYE—at 7pm on September 1 at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles. After the debut performance, the multisensory exhibition will remain on view through the weekend.

Search for the Secret Scenes of Ricky and Morty Season 6
The new “Wormageddon” project is described as an “immersive experience” and global treasure hunt, with fans of the show being tasked with finding 14 scenes that bridge the events of the end of season five and season six in nine hidden locations. The spectacular custom scenes will unfold nearly every day until #WORMAGEDDON concludes with the season six global premiere of Rick and Morty starting on Sunday, September 4 at 11:00 p.m.
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