UNSEEN DIY virtual reality photography! Google Cardboard workshop

In collaboration with Vodafone firestarters, Lava Lab offered daily workshops DIY virtual reality photography with Google Cardboards at Unseen photography festival 2014 in Amsterdam.

We started the workshop with a quick overview of the history of photography and other experiments that led to virtual reality as we know it today. We started with the first photograph ever taken, to Camera Obscura and early painted panoramas and installations. We also talked about early stereoscopes, virtual reality in the 90’s and where we are today, the launch of Oculus Rift by Palmer Luckey.

Clare Langan, an Irish photographer did an artist talk about the cooperation between Lava Lab and herself on a 360 degree photograph as a part of her exhibition at Unseen.

Part of Firestarters Lab at Unseen was Instaprint; an installation that printed automatically Instagram pictures with the hashtag #UnseenFirestarters.

To help participants think ‘out of the box’, we asked them to pick their own or an earlier printed Instaprint picture, paste it on the table covered with sketching paper and draw on or around it, as if there was no square limit involved. This exercise helped the participants to give their creative minds a boost and to start thinking in panaroma and 360 spheres.

After this session, participants were divided in groups and created their own 360 degree photo with a smartphone.

The next step was folding your own virtual-reality headset, using Google Cardboard. This is the low-budget version of the virtual-reality headset, launched by Google this summer.

Participants were folding and puzzling their own virtual reality glasses together. After that, they put the smartphone in the folded cardboard, took a look at their 360 degree photo and presented it to the other groups. They experienced a complete new way of looking at photos; no longer as a flat image, but as an immersive experience without visual distractions from the environment. Because of the cardboard that is surrounding your eyes and a part of your face, participants were feeling fully absorbed by the virtual reality experience.

Workshop by Klasien van de Zandschulp, Fosca Salvi and Marjolein Fennis.