Here we go again! August 22 to September 7, 2021, six teams of wildly creative technologists are building Virtual Worlds and inviting one and all to explore, co-create, and play in the digital dust. Welcome to the second in a series of conversations with the amazing humans who have dedicated their summer to building their World for the 2021 Virtual Burn. Learn about all the Worlds and get your tickets to the Virtual Burn here.
Introducing Dusty Multiverse!
Tell us about your World.
Dusty Multiverse is an interactive and immersive experience that thrives on the artistic collaboration and participation of the Burning Man community, giving us space for artistic, digital self-expression and a place to voice our many unique experiences, helping us find a better understanding of what it means to be human on a global scale.
Watch Dusty Multiverse leads Brittany and Faryar share some of the magic:
Tell us more about what people can do in Dusty Multiverse. What kind of adventures can virtual Burners participate in?
Brittany: Oh my gosh, there are a vast amount of experiences to be had in Dusty Multiverse. Firstly, I would love to let you guys know about one of my favorite parts, which you experience as you experience what we call avatar rooms. Across the seven square miles of Black Rock City, you can chat via live voice. With this you get to serendipitously meet and spark conversations with people from around the globe. If you are a DJ, you can play your live sets and live stream them, and appear in the environment as a 3D hologram on stage while you perform to a global audience. You can submit artwork and we’ll recreate it in a photo-realistic format. We also offer the ability for you to host and attend “meet the artist” workshops.
What are you bringing that’s new or different from last year? What can people look forward to that they didn’t experience last year?
Brittany: Last year we were primarily sound heavy. We had the sound camp community very involved. This year we’re working to round out the experience to make it more true and authentic to a live Burning Man event. Our simulation, Dusty Multiverse, is true to the size of Black Rock City. So those of you who haven’t been to Black Rock City yet, you’ll familiarize yourself with it.
Faryar: We have expanded most of our technology and we have some new and exciting features. Now we can have up to 10,000 people around any one location. So if, let’s say you attend a sound camp with your avatar, you can see up to 10,000 other avatars around you. They’re simultaneously in one place and they can communicate. We also have an updated avatar system. You can take a picture of your face and an avatar that mimics your facial features will be created automatically for you.
The other thing that’s exciting is that we have these new social rooms for workshops where up to thousands of participants can attend at one time. They enable anyone to communicate and discuss topics of interest.
You can also search for your friends by name. Wherever they are on the playa, you can just teleport yourself to them. So nobody would get lost and you can easily find your friends and go hang out with them wherever they are. We also created our own broadcasting net for delivery of high-quality audio and video. We want to make sure the quality of the music is something that people can enjoy at home.
How do I get in? What software do I need? What hardware do I need?
There are two main methodologies. One is that you can attend with an iPhone or Android device via the Dusty Multiverse app. Once you download the app, you can simply register and go inside. We’re also having a VR simulation this year, which will be hosted in the Oculus app store for Oculus Quest. One thing that’s actually interesting — a lot of people had fun with this last year — we have the capability of mirroring your phone. The phone becomes like a controller so you can use it to navigate while you’re enjoying the experience on your flat screen, sitting on your couch and seeing this amazing high-quality rendering of the playa and performances.
How do you bring your Burning Man thing, whatever it happens to be, into Dusty Multiverse?
Faryar: We’ve made it very easy on our website, DustyMultiverse.com; we have a participate tab. People of all walks of life — musicians, DJs, producers, artists, speakers, philosophers, teachers, anyone who has anything to contribute to society — can go there and fill out a form. We will be in immediate contact with them and present to them how they can participate. People don’t have to be tech savvy or technologically advanced to participate. All you need is a smartphone or computer.
We are looking specifically for two kinds of volunteers: general volunteers that help us and help the other attendees during the event; and technical artists and 3D artists who can help replicate and simulate art so we can place it in the virtual playa for people to see and enjoy.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Brittany: It’s a very special thing to be able to attend Burning Man. With Dusty Multiverse my hope and goal is to be able to share that sense of community. I never knew what a true sense of a community was until I stepped foot on the playa and I saw a genuine authenticity of kindness and acceptance that I hadn’t experienced in my life before. I really, really want to share that with individuals who don’t have the capacity to go to Black Rock City. It’s the glue that holds everything together; you don’t really know what’s missing until you know. I think that’s something the world can use at this point.
Cover image from the Dusty Multiverse, 2021 (Graphic design by Deets Shay)