Would you like to hear a song about building virtual worlds in your web browser?
Venn first attended the Virtual Reality Toronto Conference in 2016 to run a workshop on building virtual worlds using JanusVR. We loved working in Janus because it gave us tools to build the metaverse ourselves right in the web—something you couldn't do on any other platform. It was totally revolutionary!
We always felt the promise of virtual reality was never about escaping into fantasy worlds that could never exist, but about expanding our experience of reality to make it richer and more connected to where and who we are. With Janus, anything you scanned with your camera could be made into a world, giving us the power to remix and experiment with reality in all sorts of crazy ways.
“The promise of virtual reality was never about escaping into fantasy worlds that could never exist, but about expanding our experience of reality to make it richer and more connected to where and who we are.”
We called our session The Hacker’s Guide to the Metaverse and made a music video to get people excited about the possibility of co-creating a virtual universe together. (We also filled the video with lots of hacker-y easter eggs from our favourite books and movies—see if you can spot them all!)
When a bad internet connection in our space threatened the session we had a solution ready, hosting the entire workshop on an AVALON (Anonymous Virtual Augmented Local Network) node. During the session up to 13 people at a time were able to wirelessly connect to the node and interact on a local version of the virtual web, learning to build the metaverse without ever connecting to the internet.
VRTO 2016 is also where Sam, Venn’s founder and leader, embarked on a journey that took her deep into the realm of digital ethics. That year she gave a talk on building the non-surveillant web of the future using IPFS, nodes and pocket servers, and co-authored the code of ethics on human augmentation with Steve Mann, who is often referred to as the “father of wearable tech.”
So many of the ideas shared and connections made at this conference are embedded in the foundation of Venn’s philosophy. We believe technology can help us feel and be more human, and that we should all be building our digital future together.