At the XR4U Summer Event in Berlin a training program got introduced in Berlin: Designer for immersive media (Gestalter für immersive Medien). The enactment by the government for this program will get into effect on August 1st 2023 and is approved by the chamber of industry and commerce in Germany. You can find more about it here: www.ihk.de This is a huge breakthrough in defining the tasks of a XR creator. What does this mean for people that want to get into the field of XR? In general you can apply for the training from your 15th birthday on. The training and education is separated between going to school – the “Berufsschule” in Germany and working and training directly in a XR company. How exactly the ratio is, differs from school to school and XR company to XR company. The training takes three years and you’ll get paid a monthly salary. If you want to start this training you’ll first need to find a company that offers the traineeship and has a certified educator within the company. Then you can apply for the traineeship. As this is the first year for the whole program to start it might be tricky to find such companies, as probably many have to do the test, to be able to get into the program. Your chances might be better the bigger the company as they probably already have trainees and educator in other fields and are more experienced with it. Unfortunately most of the information out there at the moment is in German. If you want to learn more about the enactment you can find the information here: www.recht.bund.de/bgbl/1/2023/99/VO With a growing industry of XR in different fields like media and entertainment, production in general, trading and consumption, the medical area and education it seems like professionals are missing. This is a general problem in Germany and I am surprised as on how fast it was possible to get such an educational plan approved. Thanks mostly to the coalition of these different unions and organizations in Germany: Erster deutscher Fachverband für Virtual Reality und immersive Medien e.V. (https://edfvr.org/), nextReality.Hamburg e.V. (https://nextreality.hamburg/), Virtual Dimension Center (https://www.vdc-fellbach.de/), Virtual Reality e. V. Berlin Brandenburg (https://virtualrealitybb.org/), XR Bavaria e.V.( https://xrbavaria.de/), XR HUB Bavaria (https://xrhub-bavaria.de/), Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft ver.di (https://www.verdi.de/), Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer (https://www.dihk.de/de ), Zentral-Fachausschuss Berufsbildung Druck und Medien (https://zfamedien.de/) And all of this in less than three years’ time. For German standards that’s close to the speed of light when it comes to an enactment like this and one can only congratulate all the participants for this effort. What is the core of this education, what can you expect to learn? The job combines a lot of knowledge and tasks. It looks like a perfect field for women as it is a very versatile education. In the three years you will learn about distribution, marketing and project management. You learn how to conceptualize for this new medium, get an understanding of content creation in XR e.g. storytelling and storyliving and how to approach conceptart with moodboards, storyboards and animatics. You’ll also dive deep into the creation process by diving deep into 3D animation, learn about UX design, and how to create spatial audio for XR and postproduction on material, such as editing. Hence you’ll collect a broad understanding of the pipelines within a production for XR. And last but not least you will be trained in the coding part as well and how the connection of different stages within the work flow can operate together. So the idea is, that you will be able to come up with ideas for XR projects and get the tools during your education to fully be able to produce it and have an understanding of the market and be able to distribute it in the right paths. You’ll spend time at school and time at a company during your training – and best case scenario this company takes you on after your education. On the one hand this program sounds amazing. The moment I heard of it, I thought how great it is, now with a training of three years one will be able to do everything within the field of XR. But be aware, that the requirements demand a very diverse person with different abilities. And this might just be the reason, why your job title and description will not be taken away by an AI soon. It is exactly such intertwining skills and a general knowledge of combining different fields that AI won`t be able to handle for a near future situation. One task and it can get really good at it. But a “creative” field of work, where project management, meets technical skills, meets creative conception meets sales tactics – that is way too much for the artificial intelligence to handle. So if you are a women and feel like this is something for you then go to: https://gestaltung-immersiv.de/ There you’ll find the companies and the schools that are part of the program already. This list is going to grow over the next months and years. Maybe you know of someone who would like to get into this field or of a company who would join the program?
VIGIA - Magazine for Technology and Society (Article Excerpt, written by Julia Bruton)
"The flat medium VR is the first visual medium that is not 'flat' but can be experienced as a 360° medium. This has an impact both on the creation of the medium and on how it is received. Most of the previous visual media, whether e.g. paintings, film, TV or cinema, have clearly directed the gaze. What is shown in it is shaped by the wishes, the world view, the perception and the sense of art of its producers. The visual object usually has a frame, often angular, sometimes of other shapes: thus it is usually limited to the space that the artists want to present to us. It's about precision and focus, about an opinion about something, a feeling that has to be formed beforehand so that the work can have its 'meaning'. The artistic expression of the artists is often the focus. At the same time, this reflects the uniqueness of the artists, which in turn can prove to be practical in a capitalist system in which art has to be sold. The only thing left to us as recipients is a decoding that is closely and yet complexly related to the intention of the artist. Accordingly, in such an art world, little value is usually placed on the personal interpretation of the recipient. In other words, most of this art is not about those who look at the work of art, but about the people who create it (and in a second step, about those who make money from it). I dare say that in some ways this reflects the current patriarchal form of society. Characteristics of this order are mostly its hierarchical structure and the dominance of the few 'above' who stand on top the many 'below'. Added to this is the violence necessary to maintain this order. Ultimately, the art world is often not about creating freedom and opportunities for development, but about maintaining a social status quo. In this situation, those artists and works that correspond particularly well to these conditions prevail. This goes hand in hand with a limited perspective that can be understood with the functioning of previous media: the view is limited: it does not go further than the framework of the medium and the content also (almost) always clearly shows what it is about. In a historical and social context, what we have to see and feel is restricted and prescribed - and this context is based on power, dominance and violence at the same time. A transformation through VR What happens when the medium loses its flatness and becomes a 360° medium? How do we act as recipients in such a medium? Are we still collective recipients at all or are we not much more experiencers who experience something individually? And what does that mean for VR creators? A different perception through VR What happens to me as a recipient when my gaze is no longer clearly directed? When there is no longer a frame, no limitation from ‹above› for what I perceive? In this case, I'm less 'restricted' and simply presented, but I rather have to find my way around myself. When it comes to VR, there is still a lot in development, but one thing is already in movement: I, as an experienced user, will be required to do much more personal work and have personal responsibility within this medium. I transform myself from a passive recipient to an active experiencer. (…) Another kind of artist through VR What does this mean for artists who want to engage with VR? The medium calls for a different kind of 'creator' than a flat medium: the driving factor is not the artists, but the question of why they create this VR experience in the first place and what opportunities it holds for people who experience it. In other words, the ego of the artist will not be important, but the ego of the experiencer, the question of what it does or can do with those who engage in a VR experience themselves. As a result, as an artist, you have to deal more with the other person than with yourself. VR works on many levels. The psychological is one of them. But I don't mean a level that is dominant and shows the way, but rather, like a good therapy, lets me find out for myself what the way can be. This is more likely to be found in a matriarchal world than a patriarchal one - where one or a few lead the way and everyone else follows. The way we create and tell stories in this medium will also change significantly: the unity of space and time can be dismissed. This unity is still important in VR, but that will change in the future due to experience habits (similar to viewing habits in flat media). Linearity is then no longer needed and, as a result, no inevitable causal relationships are required in order for the user to always have to derive one thing from the other. Similar to our dreams, in which people, places and times can always change, constant and non-linear change will also be possible in the VR medium. So there is no longer any reason for the artist to have to 'explain' herself or always have to ensure logical connections. In the end it is in the hands and perception of the experiencer what they make of the experience. Like a mother or father trying to introduce a child to the world. In the best-case scenario, the person experiencing (the child) should be able to find their way around themselves, although still with the help of a created VR world (the parents), but still have the freedom to do something of their own within the VR experience according to their respective perception . That's what I mean when I say VR has the potential to become a matriarchal medium. What does 'matriarchal' mean in the context of VR? At this point, a brief digression is necessary to clarify what I mean when I use the word ‹matriarchal›: Contrary to the minds and ideas of many, matriarchal has nothing to do with our patriarchal forms of society. Many therefore think that matriarchal is synonymous with a form of society in which women rule with equal means; i.e. through hierarchies, dominance, use of force and distribution of power. But that's not the case. I would like to mention four fundamental differences: - Where matriarchal structures still exist, they are characterized by very flat hierarchies; - Economically it is about a form of subsistence farming, which means that everyone has enough, not a few everything; - The matrilocality (women own the houses and live there with their families all their lives) ensures that the children are always protected in the event of quarrels between parents; - Aggression and violence are frowned upon in society. In other words, due to the lack of hierarchical structures, the responsibility is distributed to significantly more heads, whereby they really have to assume their responsibility so that joint decisions can be made. The situation is similar with the medium of VR. Since there is no longer a predetermined view, I have to decide for myself where to look and what to focus on. The economy is geared towards society – women are entrusted with the fair distribution of money. As mentioned, this can also be related to the artists who create VR: the others are more important than me as an artist. House ownership creates families, but when parents separate, fathers go back to their mother's house and children stay in their mother's house, and the father figure is taken by a brother or uncle. In this way, the offspring is always protected. An actual business model for VR, such as that used in the production of a cinema film and its exploitation, does not yet exist. Perhaps it is possible to orientate oneself more towards matriarchal terms here. Time will show. The fact that neither aggression nor violence is tolerated maintains a balance whereby those who are stronger in the community cannot usurp power. The classic notion of the genius artist is transcended in VR in this way. So it's not power and assertiveness in the art world that counts in VR, but the recipients, the people who perceive the experience. If you take these points together and compare them with its patriarchal counterpart, it becomes clear that VR is particularly suitable for creating and experiencing matriarchal worlds and possibly evaluating them in a further step. (…) "
What's VR Women? (written by Julia Bruton)
"I am a women. Like millions out there. Yet, how often do I reach boundaries, when it comes to my own awareness of this world, to my ideas, emotions and state of simply just being? VR Women wants to break such boundaries, invite to think and see and feel and be different – as a women - no matter of your sex. It wants to explore new opportunities - in relation to the medium of VR – and how that can bring change along within this society; one that is very depended on media in general. Can we still live a life without any technical device, that portrays content to us? That kind of world by now is hard to imagine. And now we have a new medium starting its way into our daily lives: VR. And that is a great opportunity. Via VR I do believe it’s possible to change the approach I felt so far by the society to my being a women and make it experienceable, what I go thru within my life where words or simple images might not be enough or sufficient anymore. On that basis an exchange is more possible and likeable, then with any other medium so far – on VR Women I want that exchange to expand. Everyone is welcome to contact me and be part of this approach. Maybe you want me to talk to you in my podcast about your world in connection with VR? Or have something in writing, that you’d like to share? Let’s dive into the world of VR WOMEN and begin the change."