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Versions 2017


Versions 2017

Workshops on sale now!


Facing reality

Versions is an annual conference on creative practice and virtual, augmented, and alternate realities, co-presented by the New Museum’s incubator, NEW INC, and digital media company Kill Screen.

At Versions 2016, media theorist Janet Murray said it best: “You can predict the direction of change, but you can’t predict its rate.” Now that the hype around virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality is starting to settle, we’ll turn our attention to what's working, what isn't, and the true opportunities these nascent technologies present.

Versions 2017 is Facing Reality by taking a frank look at the current pitfalls, design gaps, and technological limitations of these emerging tools, as well as how artists and technologists are persistently working to advance them in service of a dramatically new cultural form.

This year’s Versions will consider the challenges to VR’s wide-scale adoption while exploring pressing questions in its current state and future development: What experiences will these technologies offer? What new visual and sensorial languages will emerge? How will they affect our notion of what is real? How will we wield these new capabilities, and to what ends? As usual, we’ll apply our cross-disciplinary, cross-generational approach to face reality as we look forward to the next frontiers.










235 Bowery | New York NY 10002


Lunch, coffee & water will be provided for attendees



9:15 AM | Registration

10:00 AM | Opening Remarks

Jamin Warren & Julia Kaganskiy 

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10:15 AM

Who Owns The Future?

On one hand, VR, AR, and MR currently offer a wide open playing field. The story of these new tools and what they’ll mean for the future of entertainment, education, industry, and communication at large has yet to be written. But the fact remains that the barriers to entry are many: equipment, cost, and technical know-how, in addition to the standard requisites of creativity, time, and space. The means to make, distribute, and access content remain frustratingly out of reach, redrawing a digital divide that influences the kinds of stories we tell, who gets to tell them, for whom, and how. As we explore the bounds of VR, AR, and MR, how can we better democratize these new technologies? And what’s at risk of being lost if we fail to do so? 

Speakers: Drew Bamford, Jenn Duong, Opeyemi Olukemi, Tim Wu

Moderator: Bijan Stephen | Culture Correspondent, Vice News Tonight

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11:00 AM | Featured ProjecT: NSAF, Nitzan bartov

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11:05 AM

Being There: Agency & Storytelling

Agency, the capacity for viewers to explore a scene at their own pace and feel as though they are truly present within it, has long been a space for creative exploration in the gaming industry and, more recently, in the world of immersive theater. In considering how to translate agency into the world of VR, designers have pinpointed the gaze—how it is controlled by the author and wielded by the viewer—as an an area ripe for invention. This panel will assemble leading experts to discuss how we can best design for agency in virtual environments, what kinds of stories and formats work best, what new interfaces need to be invented, and how we might navigate the inevitable tensions that emerge between author and viewer.

Speakers: Diana Williams, Hector Harkness, Nancy Bennett, Nick Montfort

Moderator: Julia Kaganskiy | Director, NEW INC

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11:50 AM | Featured Project: Lincoln in the bardo, Graham Sack

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12:15 PM

You, Me, & Everyone We Know

Humans are social animals and, since the beginning of time, we have been developing technologies that allow us to better communicate with our fellow humans: speech, the written word, print, photography, radio, film, television, and the internet have all fundamentally altered the way that we interact with and understand each other. The coming wave of AR, MR, and VR is poised to do the same but has been slow to deliver on the possibilities of social experiences. Some believe that social integration is crucial for these emerging technologies to truly take off (see Pokémon GO). Others see potential for these tools to help us become more collaborative, especially remotely. This panel will examine how digital reality might bring us closer together—or not.  

Speakers: Cecilia Abadie, Jon Rafman, Judith Donath, Victor Luo

Moderator: Jamin Warren | CEO & Founder, Kill Screen

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2:30 PM | Featured Project: fistful of stars, eliza mcnitt

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2:35 PM

Fireside Chat

Speakers: Brenda Laurel, Claire L. Evans

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2:55 PM | Featured Project: Tree, Milica Zec & Winslow Porter

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3:00 PM

Sensing Stories

So much of the excitement around VR has been based around what we see. This makes sense, as humans are predominantly visual animals. But at what cost? Immersion and presence aren’t only expressed through our eyes but through our ears, nose, fingertips, tastes, and sense of balance as well. Sound designers, cooks, dancers, and masseuses know as much about taking us on a journey as anyone and yet we rarely consult their expertise when designing for VR and AR, much to our detriment. In this panel we will explore how our senses interact to create the illusion of physical presence. How might our senses be manipulated into creating new versions of reality? What are the risks of sensory overload or de-sensitization? How might our senses evolve with this new stimulation?

Speakers: Chandler Burr, Charlotte Furet, Drazen Bosnjak, Robin McNicholas

Moderator: Adi Robertson | Senior Reporter, The Verge

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Living in a Simulation

Simulations have a lot to teach us. From myth to fiction to magic, forms of virtual sleight-of-hand have helped us imagine the future, and interacting with simulated virtual worlds allows us to develop a deeper understanding of the complex situations and multi-faceted stories of today. We can see what life might be like from the perspective of someone with a vastly different lived experience, learn a new trade, or train for a high-stakes job, for instance. But what happens when the simulation becomes all too real? What happens if we can’t take the headset off? Or better yet, if we think we’ve taken the headset off, but we haven’t? By asking what is real, we can begin to examine what is not.

Speakers: Leigh Christie, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Marco Tempest, Robert Yang

Moderator: Adrianne Jeffries | Senior Editor, The Outline

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5:00 PM | Featured Project: ZERO DAYS VR, Yasmin elayat

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5:05 pm

Keynote Address: Facing Reality

For all the enthusiasm and curiosity surrounding VR, this year the hype largely hasn’t rhymed with reality. Manufacturers, content creators, and audiences are coming to terms with the reality of VR’s limitations and struggling to move beyond them. The hardware is still a little clumsy and crude (not to mention prohibitively expensive) and there’s simply not enough compelling and creative content to coax viewers into putting on that headset. In order to move forward, we need to face reality. We need to take a long, hard look at what we’re building and why. We need to understand what’s working, what’s failing us, and what’s driving VR’s development. Is our dogged pursuit of VR motivated by capital, a desperate search for escape, or a genuine desire and need to invent a new mode of communication?


Cory Doctorow



Cory Doctorow is a Los Angeles-based science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger, who also serves as the co-editor of Boing Boing. He is the author of the nonfiction business book Information Doesn't Want To Be Free; the young adult graphic novel In Real Life; young adult novels including Homeland, Pirate Cinema and Little Brother; and novels for adults like Rapture of the Nerds and Makers. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group.

website | @doctorow


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5:35 PM | Closing Remarks

Jamin Warren & Julia Kaganskiy 


Early Bird Registration: $500 (SOLD OUT)

Regular Access Ticket: $750

Premium Access Ticket: $1000

Student/Artist Discounted Ticket: $150 (SOLD OUT)

We are looking for volunteers for Days 1 & 2 of Versions! Volunteers will receive subsidized entry to the Conference in exchange for their services. Apply to volunteer below!





Sunday February 26, 2017


Versions workshops offer participants a chance to learn best practices from the pros, get hands-on and investigate the practical side of creating compelling experiences for VR/AR/MR. Led by industry-leading experts, they’ll explore a range of topics related to the funding, creation and distribution of VR/AR experiences, as well as hands-on technical tutorials on WebVR, 360 video and game engine environments, as well as more cutting-edge experiments like room-scale VR.

Workshops will be opened first to Versions conference pass holders, but you may also purchase a ticket to attend an individual workshop. You do not need a conference pass to attend a workshop.



10:00 AM-1:00 PM | INTRODUCTION TO HOLOLENS | New Museum Sky Room


10:30 AM-12:00 PM | MAKING MONEY IN VR/AR | New Museum Theater

12:30 PM-1:30 PM | DISTRIBUTING YOUR WORK | New Museum Theater



2:00 PM-5:00 PM | DESIGNING FOR ROOM SCALE VR | New Museum Sky Room


4:00 PM-6:00 PM | CASE STUDIES | New Museum Theater






introduction to hololens

Description: Let science fiction become science fact through Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained, untethered head-mounted holographic computing device for mixed reality (MR). Mixed reality blends 3D holographic content into the physical world, giving holograms real-world context and scale. In this workshop, we’ll create a holographic game using Unity, where we’ll cover the fundamental principles of interacting with holograms using gaze, gestures, and voice. The project will be publicly available with additional resources to allow participants  to re-build the game and to continue its development, long after the workshop is over.

Adina Shanholtz, also known as the ‘Fey Technologist,’ is a Technical Evangelist for Microsoft. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2015 with a double major in Computer Science and East Asian Studies. She has a passion for game development, virtual/mixed reality, wearable technology, and empowering others through programming. In her spare time Adina likes to knit, practice her Japanese, and perform hoop and poi circus arts.

Pre-requisites: Please ensure you have all the system requirements and tools installed to follow along with the workshop, these can be found here:


Creating virtual worlds for 2d artists

Description: This workshop is geared toward artists, designers, and explorers who know how to take photographs, scan drawings, or use digital tools to generate imagery, and want to learn how to make these visions come to life in virtual reality. The workshop will cover easy-to-learn techniques that turn the typical 3D production process on its head and allow for rapid prototyping of spaces that look and feel the way they were intended to.

David Lobser is the Senior Artist-in-Residence at NYU's Media Research Lab. Lobser is engaged in physically co-located, multi-user VR experiences using Holojam, mixing procedural techniques with the human touch to create lush virtual worlds. He has an extensive background in commercial animation and visual effects and has taught animation at Harvard University.

Pre-requisites: Experience working with Photoshop or similar & a basic understanding of Unity. Participants will need to bring a laptop (mouse & tablet is useful but not required), reference images and designs to be dissected and rebuilt in 3D (layered Photoshop files are especially useful), Photoshop & Unity will need to be installed prior.


Making money in VR/AR

Description: No business exists without a model. So what’s the model for creating in VR and AR? A series in three parts, we look at three models for financial success (or not!) in a brand new medium From fundraising for your startup to working with a publisher or studio to working with brands and agencies, we’ll take a high level view of how to face reality.

Presenters: Adaora Udoji, VC | Drew Bamford, HTC Creative Labs | Joe Radak, Eerie Bear Games | Ari Kuschnir, M ss ng P eces





distributing your work

Description: Distribution is everything. Finding the right audience and picking the right platform is crucial at a time when there are so many options to choose from. Hear from some of the best minds in the platform game on how to choose what’s right for you and take your creative work to market. This workshop will provide an overview of the VR landscape and the existing methodologies and strategies for its distribution. We’ll examine the various marketplaces and their related constraints and considerations. Further we’ll discuss our data collection methodologies, thought processes, and early conclusions from data gathered.

Alejandro Dinsmore is CEO of EEVO and has spent the past decade working in VR and as an entrepreneur. Prior to EEVO Dinsmore worked in sales, marketing, and product roles at Little Devices, an MIT-based medical hardware start up, SimplyBuilt, a Squarespace competitor, and AlphaSights. Dinsmore also co-founded Sisasa, a fintech SaaS platform, and studied neuroscience at Vassar College, which contributes to his current obsession with VR.


Lightning in a bottle: hand-drawn animation in vr

Description: The rise of 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) controllers—wands you can move in 3D space—is one of the most exciting developments in virtual reality today. (Just ask anyone who’s played with apps like Tilt Brush, Medium, SculptrVR, or Quill.) The Lightning Artist Toolkit (LATK) is a set of tools for Unity, Blender, and WebVR that lets you work with frame-by-frame, hand-drawn VR animation in game engines and mature 3D animation packages.Its output is readable in any 3D graphics application and ready to use in real-world production scenarios. Combined with the Tilt Brush SDK, this is a comprehensive solution for creating, sharing, and distributing frame-by-frame 3D animation. In this workshop, we’ll explore strategies for creating content with 6DoF controllers, present the LATK and Tilt Brush SDK along with examples of hand-drawn animation in VR, and have fun drawing in space with anything you can connect to Unity.

Nick Fox-Gieg is an animator and creative technologist based in New York and Toronto. Most recently, Fox-Gieg has been working on virtual reality projects at Framestore and Google Creative Lab. His film, The Orange, won the jury prize for Best Animated Short at SXSW in 2010; and his films have also screened at the Ottawa, Rotterdam, and TIFF film festivals, at the Centre Pompidou, and on CBC TV. Fox-Gieg was awarded an Eyebeam Fellowship in 2012, a Fulbright Fellowship in 2006, and has received media arts grants from Bravo!FACT, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the arts councils of Ontario, Pennsylvania, Toronto, and West Virginia. He holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Pre-requisites: No coding experience required. Find all downloads and requirements here



Description: Much remains uncertain for the futures of virtual and augmented reality. At this critical juncture, when we have much to learn and no clear revenue models in place, we need to foster collaboration between the tech brands who are making this technology and the content creators who are helping us imagine what to do with it. How can companies like Oculus, HTC, and Intel help nurture and support creatives and enable them to take risks? How can creatives work with companies to help design new tools, new kinds of experiences, and ultimately push the field forward? And can we create an open environment that promotes learning and sharing to help advance the field as a whole?

Presenters: Lisa Watts, Intel | James George, DepthKit | Yelena Rachitsky, Oculus Story Studio


designing for roomscale vr

Description: Room-scale VR is the ability to walk around in a virtual world with the capacity to interact with that world using controllers and peripherals, creating a presence in immersive experiences. Virtual reality is all about presence. In this hands-on workshop, Dario Laverde, HTC’s Senior Developer Evangelist, will show you best practices for designing room-scale VR, and how to identify weak design choices. The rules are yet to be written, but after a year since the first room-scale experiences were released to the market, we can examine what makes the best experiences so far. Laverde will present a step-by-step tutorial on getting started, and is accessible to those who are both new to Unity and to experienced developers and designers alike. Laverde will also introduce the latest Unity3d plugins that support room-scale VR. 

Dario Laverde is a Senior Developer Evangelist at HTC. Previously, he was a full stack software engineer, and has worked as an instructor, consultant, software architect, author, and entrepreneur. Laverde founded several local developer communities, and is active in the NYC and global VR communities. You can follow him on Twitter at @virtual_dario.

The workshop will cover: Setting up your scene for room-scale. Adding interaction and making objects grabbable. A survey of the many Locomotion options. Customizing your controllers and trackers.

Pre-requisites: Laverde will be using the HTC Vive, but most of the material covered is applicable to all current room-scale VR platforms. The only prerequisite is to bring a laptop with the latest version of Unity3d 5.5 pre-installed. If you have a VR-capable PC or laptop, you are encouraged to bring that, as we will have a Vive that can be passed around for individual testing in addition to the shared demo headsets.


keeping vr real: cinematic & live action volumetric capture

Description This workshop delves into the fundamentals of live-action virtual reality capture using hybrid camera systems as well as volumetric capture techniques. Sensorium co-founders Matthew Niederhauser and John Fitzgerald will introduce various VR camera rigs, aesthetic considerations for the equirectangular format, and other post-production wizardry for creating cinematic VR experiences.They will then move into how infrared, photogrammetric, and LIDAR technologies are used to create scenes for room-scale VR experiences. Although cinematic VR experiences continue to gain traction on mobile devices, production strategies are now emerging to bridge the uncanny valley and presenting subjects that elicit deeper emotional engagement in CGI environments.

Sensorium Works is a creative studio that operates at the intersection of art, new media, and technology committed to collaborations that push the boundaries of virtual reality. Sensorium also focuses on independent documentary projects in coordination with the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, the Cyborg Foundation, and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

Prerequisites: All levels welcome, however familiarity with live-action or volumetric VR workflows would be beneficial


Case studies

Description: Micro-talks from local creators on the triumphs and tragedies of creating in VR and AR.


Eliza McNitt, Fistful of Stars

David Lobser, Flock

Graham Sack, Lincoln in the Bardo 

Hyphen-Labs, NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism

ScatterZero Days VR

Zach Kaplan First Look VR




231 Bowery, 2nd FL | New York, NY 10002



235 Bowery | New York, NY 10002



235 Bowery | New York, NY 10002

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Co-presented By:

Co-presented By:

Kill Screen is a digital media company that wants to inspire a life well-played.

Based in Los Angeles, Kill Screen creates editorial through a website and a magazine as well as organizes events such as the groundbreaking Arcade at the Museum of Modern Art and the Kill Screen Festival which Mashable called  “the TED of videogames.” The New Yorker called Kill Screen "the McSweeney's of interactive media" and TIME said the writing was so "polished that they might help convince doubters that games are worth taking seriously."

As a content strategy and development partner, Kill Screen works with brands like Intel, GE, PBS, and eBay to help them unlock the power of play.


NEW INC is the first museum-led incubator and a hotbed for cultural innovation. Extending the New Museum's mission  of supporting "New Art, New Ideas," NEW INC brings together a cohort of 100 creative practitioners working across disciplines to examine and invent the future through applied art and design thinking. Virtual Reality is a major focus at NEW INC. 

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Sponsors and Partners

Sponsors and Partners