The world of technology and social media has been reaching many tipping points; alt-right trends in YouTube’s algorithm, Instagram beauty standards, and news-virality on Facebook have all made clear some inherent flaws in how our technological structure operates. More are being found all the time, and ViRvii was created in response to a problem we all definitely share.
We all can’t find things to enjoy. And there are a few major reasons for that.
So I began playing with an idea. The world of programmatic content has been around a long time but modern tools finally brought it home, so I cracked open blender and started playing with two things – polygons and textures. The method is nothing exciting – I created a texture, and I used that to create the ‘shape’ effect a polygon would experience. I kept some screenshots that I was posting online as I learned how to do it that help explain it.
Some super fun experiments gave me very cool shapes. Similar textures would produce shapes that felt the same, even though they were different. It was strange. Eerie actually. Suddenly something clicked. What if I took the metadata from content, turned the groups of it into textures, and applied that to a series of polygons?
The same process essentially, thanks to the Unreal Engine we are able to combine hundreds of layers, particles, polygons and more instantly from thousands of lines of data. And it looks really cool to boot!
Then we took this process and applied it to more purpose-built things like these trees. Rotation, style, color and more could be changed with this meta data.
And then if you use the metaobject itself as a seed for other metaobjects – like this landscape – the colors, styles, and more shift and become unique on a per-song basis. Suddenly you have something necessary for success.
That last one is where it gets exciting.
The essence of discovery and exploration has been wholly forgotten in the data driven era. Where once we wandered and found things by surprise, it now is fed to us by engineers who built programs that try to decide what we should like. But it doesn’t work. Nobody sees recommendations on any platform and thinks ‘oh my god, what a gem!’.
ViRvii returns this process to its natural state by letting people play with data in a tactile, diagetic way, enabling this play to show them what they might like. Let me show you how it works.
Lets start with this ViRvii. Assume it’s for your favorite song. I’m going to guess WAP by Cardi and Meagan.
Here are two other songs you like. Maybe it’s some Metallica on the left, and the right one is Sade’s Harvest Moon. You have a super unique flavor. Most of us do.
Take a look at your three ViRvii. Now, if i show you more, do any stand out and something you might also like?
You’ll be able to match a bit. The system works by letting the insane pattern matching capabilities of your perception find connections, instead of relying on a machine that simply can’t do the same thing. The result is an exploratory but delightful system that allows anyone to find something new.