Cameras, Interactivity, and VR

a photoshopped image of the Simpsons on the couch wearing VR headsets

Virtual Reality is in a white hot moment that doesn’t come often in the histories of new media. Money is flowing and news is breaking at lightning speed. With opportunities come confusion and hype, critical given the embryonic nature of the moment, since small changes can have large effects.

This presentation focusses on two lively and interconnected aspects of VR: cameras and interactivity. We will survey their histories, map the range of VR cameras and tradeoffs with CGI, and parse how interactivity has several different meanings. We’ll also take a sneak peek at current projects.


Michael Naimark is noted twice in the Wikipedia entry on Virtual Reality, as a pioneer and as an artist. Over recent years he’s held faculty positions at USC Cinema, NYU ITP, and the MIT Media Lab, and last year was contracted as Google’s first “resident artist” in their new VR division.

Michael will not be focussing on his past work for this presentation. For some mercifully brief overviews, please see:

Art & Invention” (20 min video covering projection mapping, street view, live video, and VR), Gray Area Art Festival, SF, May 2015.

"Calculated Risk," Forward for A Guide to Good Practice in Collaborative Working Methods and New Media Tools Creation, L. Goodman and K. Milton, Eds., London, UK: Arts and Humanities Data Service, 2004.

First Word Art/Last Word Art," FineArtForum vol.15, issue 8, August 2001.