Our lives have become immersed in data. When connected to a device, every little action we take is logged. This data by itself is meaningless. For it to be useful, it must tell a story. We've built up tools to store the data, to analyze the data, and to visualize the data. But what is the language of immersive data? How do we use data to make people feel? How do we explain the big picture from millions of tiny details? This is the next frontier in storytelling. Documentary web applications are popping up to explain social issues with our data. Virtual Reality is positioning itself as an 'empathy engine' to help people connect with data on a visceral level. In our social media saturated cosmopolitan environment, we are told crude stories about how a million people shared a moment in 140 characters or less. But data can tell us so much more. Good data visualization can explain mathematics in less than a second, it can tell us about demographic migrations and epochal shifts at a glance. The language of data will one day be as robust as the language of film or the language of music, and our stories will be told in ways that will cause our imaginations to explode with an abundance of information.
Debra Anderson (@debraeanderson)
Debra Anderson is the Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Datavized, an immersive design studio focused the intersection of virtual reality and data visualization. A producer/director specialized in digital storytelling and media impact, she builds data-driven and researched based approaches to immersive experiences. Her VR film In/Formation, is a two part (25 min) immersive documentary explored through 3D 360-degree stereoscopic virtual reality, investigating the creative use of the technology to build empathy and new forms of storytelling. She is a producer for projects at the crossroads of VR, neuroscience, AI, journalism, technology and gaming including The Enemy, SoundSelf and Less Than Human. Debra founded the innovation firm Culture Shock in 2007 and has presented groundbreaking interactive works with the NFB at Sundance New Frontier and Tribeca Storyscapes. Debra designed and instructs first Big Data: Consumer Research course at The New School for Public Engagement and is a graduate of NYU Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Jen Begeal (@jlbhart)
Jen Begeal is a Digital Marketing Consultant with extensive experience developing cross-platform marketing campaigns for clients such as Current TV, Verizon Fios1 and A&E. Jen has been instrumental in the strategy and management of large scale social campaigns for entertainment clients including Universal Studios, Disney and Netflix. She has produced a number of transmedia experiences for independent filmmakers and technology start-ups. Jen speaks on the subjects of transmedia, social media and immersive storytelling at conferences and events around the country. In 2012 she co-founded StoryCode, the world’s first not-for-profit transmedia education organization and in early 2015 she joined StoryForward, an organization dedicated to the future of storytelling. She currently heads the StoryForward NYC team and produces monthly events including workshops, discussions and salons promoting New York’s film, writing and technology communities. Jen is also an adjunct professor in the New Media department at Concordia College where she teaches classes on interactive media.
Erika Whillas (@erikawhillas)
Erika Whillas is the Chief Product Officer of CoClear, a New York consultancy specializing in interactive life cycle analysis. Erika has worked in Sydney, London, Beijing and New York, and pursues projects that lie at the intersection of urban sustainability and digital innovation. Erika has an MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University, and an Honors degree in digital media and computer science from University of New South Wales (UNSW), in the city of Sydney.
Erek Tinker (@erektinker)
Erek is the founder of Pax Solaria and an avid community organizer with an interest in the human side of the future.
A serial entrepreneur, Erek was a partner at The Spry Group - a technology development agency focused on business solutions for businesses in sustainability, research and corporate support. He previously Co-founded Distributed Enlightenment, a pre-YouTube web video content platform focused on technology and politics.
For the past year, he has been hosting Pax Solaria panels with topics ranging from optics, VR & AR technologies to the future of data-driven storytelling, rapid prototyping and building partnerships with local and international futurism communities.
He is interested in the technical, business and cultural implications of new technologies. Having also thrown live music and dance events. He loves bringing together diverse views on interesting topics to stimulate engaging conversations.