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Imagination Part 6: Finale

How do we anticipate the future and what will be the role for artistic individuals in its shaping? What kind of creative canvases will the future offer us? How will technology, sciences and their fusion with arts impact our creative powers? How will imagination fit into this brave new world?

Being an outspoken individual I am often asked to project a vision of what I foresee in the near future, what lies ahead for media arts, or new media, or a creative palette of artistic expression? How do we anticipate the future and what will be the role for artistic individuals in its shaping? What kind of creative canvases will the future offer us? How will technology, sciences and their fusion with arts impact our creative powers? How will imagination fit into this brave new world?

I guaranty that there are as many answers to these questions as there are those individuals who are willing to risk sharing their answers to them. Hence I shall speak for myself and no one else. In recent years entertainment has become progressively more immersive and also, what is often referred to as 4D, aimed to impact us through all of our senses, make us experience it with our whole bodies. This is exciting! As interactivity is being injected into these experiences, the visitor, or the user, will progressively be empowered to play an active, creative role in own experience.

Interactivity will connect us, personalize our experience of a story, and eventually even allow us to shape its outcome. That, in turn, will inspire users’ imagination and creative opportunity. This will be fantastic, can’t wait. But, to me, there is much more to interactivity and immersive spaces and, better yet, their seamless fusion. What makes my mouth and mind water, what arouses my visions and turns my imagination on? I refer to it as my personal creative “Ode to Interactivity”.

Even through it is still in its infancy, it is exciting, inspiring and will rapidly become empowering. Interactivity infused with technology, science and artificial intelligence is about to alter the world.

Please understand that I am not thinking or talking here about internet, or the “world wide web”. Instead, I am raving about interactivity acting as our invisible and organically natural extension, our second nature, our new skin, our new way of being, of acting, living or relating to the world. By the “world” I mean the organic world we still live in, but also the virtual one we are venturing into and, progressively, spending more and more time in, accepting it as our new virtual reality.

In all of its initial, known forms, but more so in those yet to arise, interactivity is transforming all and everything, from the way we seek, use and interact with information, to the way we create or experience art, culture, entertainment, the way we play, learn, educate, communicate as well as socialize, to the way we travel, conduct businesses, do research, practice sciences, the ways we grow, live and advance. It even fuses our know reality with the virtual worlds we can create.

I anticipate interactivity becoming a non-verbal language of the future, one through which we will dialogue and relate to the world around us and do all within it, and I do mean ALL. As this powerful discipline and its allied technologies and sciences evolve, their progress will impact all the others, whether in arts, entertainment, science, education, engineering, transportation, space exploration, our lifestyle and all of the other disciplines, whether already known or not yet.

Interactivity is “IT”. It embodies a still uncharted, virgin and vaporous domain. And thus comes the potential for experimentation, exploration and distillation of its both current and its future features. Such prospects are amazing, mouth and mind watering. Approached correctly, by the nature of its definition, interactivity will interact with everything. It will act as an interdisciplinary agent, a new magic, invisible, invincible glue, and an amalgam fusing all creative, scientific and technological disciplines. It will ignite, shape and define innovation to all we touch, the way we do it and the way it will touch us back. It is truly a new frontier, a fabulous dare for imagination, ideation and innovation. I can’t think of a domain that will not contribute to this grand enterprise.

Interactivity is revolutionizing entertainment, art, games, theme park experiences, architectural, spatial, exhibit, furniture designs, the ways we play, robotics, education, storytelling, advertising, communication, making music, wearable technology, Internet, theatrical performance, all of it, whether presently in existence or, better yet, still to come. Everything around us will be infused with technology. In order for us and for “IT” to effectively relate to and dialogue with each other, all of it will need to be thought of, treated and designed as synthetic characters, with personality, objectives, artificial intelligence and emotional characteristic, all of such able to evolve and adopt to us, their creators, the users and eventually “life partners”. This alone embodies open horizons for any forward thinking academic or creative entity devoted to evolution of arts, design & media.

As an artist, designer and ideator inspired by such amazing prospects, I have been vesting my passion, time, imagination, and visions generated by it, into exploration of my own concept of an interactive future. Since I am also fascinated by mixed reality (some refer to it as an augmented reality), it representing a seamless fusion of reality with virtuality, the tactual with the synthetic, organic with the digital, I have been giving my explorations my own individual twist. I do so by probing promise of interactivity on, or within, a space shaped by such an augmented reality. To me, even on a personal scale, as opposed to massive entertainment extravaganzas, this makes it possible to probe various possibilities, not just in entertainment but also in all of the other fields.

I deem that what is ahead is exciting. We are already spending progressively more time in virtual spaces. As augmented reality evolves, it will become irresistible. Who would not wish to become liberated from the known, and so restrictive gravity and reality? Thus, as liberating alternatives of augmented dimension unveil to us, I foresee that we will dive into them. Initially we will do so in our current physical bodies, as we do already in such places as these parks. But given how these bodies of ours are restrictive of our abilities to move and function within virtual spaces, free from the physical gravity and reality, we will likely seek means of shedding these bodies. Thus we may eventually become non-physical. This is not a brand new concept, it has been explored by others who see diverse justifications and motivations for such an incredible conversion. Some foresee it happen as an outcome of “Singularity”, our fusion with technology. I see it as a result of wanting to be free in order to live and to explore infinite creative potentials within a space that is free from the gravitating reality. Just imagine, what a trill it will be to be an artist in such a space!  

Through conceptual designs thus created, I strive to illustrate, and then project, my vision to the world, and to inspire it by my perception of how exciting all aspects of our near future can be, if we only dare. Does it work? Most often I hear how amazing, imaginative, exciting, innovative and thrilling these designs are, but these tasty words are often ruined by words like: “these are too far out, too futuristic, they are ahead of the time, current technology does not make it possible”…

Do I give up? NEVER! Life is too short for doing what is possible right now. My current desire is to provoke and motivate advancement of the future, to envision it, and with it to enthuse others. Deep in my gut, I do not doubt that I am correct in my pursuit and my vision of what lays ahead. This has happened in the past, when my ideas and designs dictated development of new, custom software or other needed tools. I shall persist again, till I encounter those who share my passion, my wishes for converting mutually fascinating visions into breathtaking and intoxicating realities.

My mission, as that of a mentor, is to inspire and cultivate power of imagination. For in my view, it acts as the essence and the origin of visionary ideation and innovation. I explore all creative prospects and dares independently of current technologies. I do so because technologies change, and at times the simplest means of realization can be found in the most basic, original solutions. To me, this is where creative thinking comes in. If the idea is imaginative and exciting, sooner of later, solution for its realization shall follow. Typically, advancement of technology dictates and impacts the way it is used in creative domains. But this does not need to be so. Yet, at the same time, I do agree with those saying that new technologies can indeed inspire exciting visions. In other words, in this new reality, or virtuality, why can we not have this lofty cake and eat it too?

Yet, technological innovation can be inspired by great ideas and concept designs reflective of not what is but what could be ahead, in a foreseeable future! Thus I see technology as an invisible “magic wand” in hands of creativity. Fusion between them, and related sciences, will, through the powers of interactivity, bring anything and everything to “life”. Such a relationship shall shape our humanity, and the future of all. Since I have imagination, visions, ideas, experience, talent, passion, and will, I shall persist as long as it takes to realize my ideas, concepts and aspirations.

Meanwhile, as a mentor guiding the brave, and those risk averse, young minds across the river of reality, into such far-out, far reaching promises, I shall do my outmost to ignite their imagination. Without it we would still be hiding in the freezing and impenetrable darkness of the primal caves.