VR Storytellers Storm New York

What are you doing next weekend? No plans? Fantastic! From October 7th through the 9th, FoST Fest is taking over New York City and bringing attendees a new kind of story. Ocular experiments, VR immersion, receptive narratives that pick plot based on user response – these new modes of storytelling are taking spine and binding books to a whole new level.

Each year, the festival organizers share videos to prep attendees for all the speakers and discussions in store. On tap this year will be discussions on free speech in the digital age, an exploration of mixed realities’ role in enhancing emotional connections in stories, performances by musical spawn of Lin Manuel Miranda, Freestyle Love Supreme, an investigation into the human mind using new technology, and plenty of other super smart science gabbing.

Between speakers, participants can also slip into the skin of a gender fluid character, take flight with a flock of birds, or join the ranks of a violent protest marching through the streets, all using the latest VR simulators.

The festival came about five years ago, when founder (and publisher) Charles Melcher reached a plateau in creative ingenuity. Taking a side step from the publishing norm, he began toying with new formats like The Pop-Up Book of Celebrity Meltdowns and the waterproof Aqua Erotica. The break from traditional storytelling inspired various novelties of narrative experimentation, and brought Melcher into contact with some incredible thinkers across varying industries. “I realized that none of these people were speaking to each other,” Melcher tells NY Times, giving way to the Socratic-styled multi-disciplinary speaker series that’s now five years deep.

For each respective exhibit, “everyone has already seen the film, so now we have an hour for a very high-level participatory seminar,” Melcher explains. “It is very different from sitting in a large, dark auditorium and listening passively to a lecture.”

It’s a great opportunity for some brilliant minds to exchange ideas, and give fodder to creative tools for progress. It’s also just super cool.

If, however, you’re not up for shelling out $75 plus for a ticket, the festival will also be hosting a free day for families and locals on Sunday outside the event space – with a performance by Mae also free of charge. If you’ve never heard of them (don’t worry you’re not alone) check the band out here.

No time to jet out to New York and fly around with birds all day? Get sneak peaks and highlights on the festivals site instead!


Images courtesy of NY Times.