episode 12 – inventing volumetric filmmaking | James George
In this episode, we speak to James George. An Emmy-winning artist and entrepreneur. He co-directed the first volumetric film CLOUDS and co-created the original volumetric capture tool, Depthkit. As a multidisciplinary creator, George is involved in groundbreaking works. We discussed his experience as an entrepreneur, how his artistic background shaped his entrepreneurial experience, what he did at Microsoft Lab and what are the tips for entrepreneurs and business professionals who want to set into the intersection of art and tech.
Resources and links
Artworks and other topics mentioned during the podcast can be seen in the following links:
- James George Personal website
- Scatter website
- Clouds Documentary Website
- University of Washington Digital Art and Experimental Media program
- Unity Real-Time Development
- Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon
- New Inc
- Zero Days VR
- Fireflies of Brownsville
- Nam Jun Paik
- Bill Viola
- Pipllotti Rist
- Karolina Sobecka Sniff Project
- Microsoft Research AIR
- Open frameworks
- Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media
- The Wave + Imogen Heap
- The ONX Studio
Scatter Founders. Right: Alexander Porter, Yasmin Elayat, James George
*The transcript was produced by Artificial Intelligence, mistakes might appear.
Nir Hindi: [00:00:00] Hey podcast listeners. Thanks again for coming back to another episode of the Artian. If it’s your first time listening in this podcast, we explore the intersection of art technology and entrepreneurship and how artists drive innovation and original thinking in business environments. And I want to ask you a question.
[00:00:18] If you have heard about the term volumetric films? Did you ever think that we then X-Box vision camera? you can actually build a new technology for new types of themes that. Made you win the Emmy award? Well, today’s guest is James George and out of these 10, an entrepreneur who co-directed the first volumetric film and co-created the original volume metric capture tool, depth kit, all of which we will discuss today.
[00:00:45] Welcome James.
[00:00:46] James George: [00:00:46] Hi, great to be here, Nir.
[00:00:47] Thanks for having me.
[00:00:48] Nir Hindi: [00:00:48] Thanks for taking the time, James, can you take a moment to introduce yourself?
[00:00:53] James George: [00:00:53] Sure. I’m James George I’m co-founder and CEO at scatter. And prior to scatter, I was a practicing new media artist. As an artist, I’ve had exhibitions at the museum of modern art in New York, uh, the barbecue and in London and Tokyo photographic, a museum in, uh, in EDC and my work focused on computer programming, creative coding for the production of new types of images.
[00:01:21] So working with them, moving images at a very low level to create new forms of expression at the intersection of interactivity and cinema.
[00:01:28] Nir Hindi: [00:01:28] And how did you get to this world? You are the middle of the intersection of art and technology. What led you there?
[00:01:34] James George: [00:01:34] That’s a good question.
[00:01:35] Well, to, to answer it, I’ll share a story.
[00:01:37] I went to college at the University of Washington in Seattle, and I wanted to study digital art and experimental media. That was my intention. When I went to school there and it was a new program, it was very exciting. And the reason I wanted to do that, I was very interested in using video images as an art form.
[00:01:55] So not so much narrative, video storytelling, but really thinking about video art and the, and the form of video to create installations and things like that. You know, my heroes at the time were Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Pipilotti Rist. And when I went to school to study that I had to take a broad base of coursework to be able to qualify for that major.
[00:02:16] And one of those classes that I took was introduction to computer programming and they was taught by professors Stuart Reges who had just joined the school. And he was very inspirational to me. And I didn’t know that I could program before that actually had tried to program before and failed utterly and told myself that I’d never be a computer programmer because of this teaching style and how inspirational he is.
[00:02:39] I found myself really interested in programming and, you know, I had a knack for it. That surprised me. So there was one moment to get to this story where I had to choose between because the courses were conflicting. I had to either take the next, you know, digital arts and experimental media core prerequisite, or the next computer science prerequisite.
[00:02:59] And I felt like at that point, I had to make a choice between being an artist and being a technologist. And it sort of set a theme for my life that I struggle with to this day. And I chose to study computer science. And the reason then was that I felt that I had the rest of my life to be an artist and being an artist is more of a, of a mindset and a way of life.
[00:03:18] And that the opportunity to learn the craft of computer science and engineering in, you know, as an undergrad at one of the best schools for it, university of Washington, it’s a very competitive program on the level of Stanford and MIT. I felt that that was an opportunity to actually take for that moment in my life.
[00:03:33] So I chose to study computer science and, but continually applied that craft that discipline to the creation of artwork.
[00:03:41] Nir Hindi: [00:03:41] I love how you refer to it, like engineering is the craft and art is the mindset and you actually utilize both in your own day to day and career. So I’m interested now that you are in the university, you started to work with artists, you start to work with the computer programers is how you start to merge between the two?
[00:03:59]James George: [00:03:59] At that time, I still had the intention to become an artist I wanted. That’s what I wanted then sort of the job that I wanted in the world.
[00:04:06] Nir Hindi: [00:04:06] you are an artist.
[00:04:08] James George: [00:04:08] Okay. Okay, sure. But at that
[00:04:10] time, that was my aspiration. Uh, and I appreciate that. I wasn’t certain what it would, what it meant to be an artist in the world was very opaque.
[00:04:17] You know, it’s very mystical especially, you know, in a college undergrad it’s like artists are these like mythical figures. So I wanted to use the skills I was learning in the computer science and engineering coursework. To work, to apply it, to execute and assist and collaborate with artists. And so, again, back to this program, that was kind of my North star for college, the digital arts and experimental media program at the university of Washington, there was an artist there who I began working with as the technician to execute.
[00:04:47] Some of her concepts and her work, her name is Karina Sabika. She really became a mentor to me then. And would the sort of trade that we had was she gave me sight into the workings of an artist, how to apply for grants, how to conceptualize work, just how to. Follow your own ideas and have self-assuredness as an artist that you know, to pursue crazy ideas or things that are really hard.
[00:05:06] And I would work with her to translate those concepts and work with computer programming and interactivity to execute interactive installations and projects that we would make together that we then show and her craft her skill. In addition to being the artist was as a 3D animator and motion graphics artists.
[00:05:24] So it was actually quite our crafts also it’s quite well because we could do interactive live animation where she directed the animation parts of it. And then I worked on the programming. Side. So we also had a complimentary skillsets
[00:05:38] Nir Hindi: [00:05:38] I’m interested to know. I mean, beside the technical part of what the artist is doing or how to apply to grants, what would say the kind of the insights of, or new learnings that you had working with her about the way artists working in general?
[00:05:54] James George: [00:05:54] That’s a really good question. I’ll tell it then by explaining one of our projects, uh, so it’s more concrete. So the first, really big project that Karolina Sobecka and I worked on was a project installation called sniff and Sniff is an interactive dog that is projected into abandoned storefront windows.
[00:06:12] You know, this is in like 2009 during the housing crisis or the after the housing crisis, when there’s a lot of vacant real estate in New York City, she had just moved to New York. I was graduating college and was coming out to New York to work with her on this project. And yeah, and the installation is meant to be like a graffiti project, like to show up in public space without being necessarily in an art context.
[00:06:34] So surprise people in their daily lives and it would show up at night. In storefronts, a rear-projected where there’d be a, , animated, CG life scaled dog. That actually looked very much like a model like low Pauley dog. Wasn’t trying to be photorealistic at all. The surprising thing about this dog, it would react to you as a passer-by as a pedestrian.
[00:06:54] And you could touch the glass and it would growl at you. You could make sounds, and it would look at you. If there are two people there you could kind of compete to get the attention. You can hold out your hand and it would sit and put up its core. And the way it was working was that when there was, uh, essentially surveillance technology, we literally were hacking surveillance cameras, piping them into computers.
[00:07:15] That were then monitoring and doing blob detection and feature detection to find where people are using creative toolkit called openFrameworks, which I’ll just talk about later and then bringing that into unity. This is like unity version, too early 3d game engine. You know, they’re going public. Now.
[00:07:30] This is like,
[00:07:31] Nir Hindi: [00:07:31] Maybe you can say in one sentence, what is unity? I don’t think everyone knows. I just learn from it from you.
[00:07:38] James George: [00:07:38] Sure. So we were using unity to render the dog and unity is a accessible game engine to create 3d interactive systems. And that was what was made the, you know, it’s a tool for making games and instead of making a game, we made this, you know, public art.
[00:07:53] Graffiti art installation. What I learned to answer your question. What I learned from that was really the process of having an idea as an artist and starting with a set of concepts. So for example, for this project, Karolina’s concept was really about exploring theory of mind human capacity to be able to imbue another.
[00:08:11] Thing like another person or even an imaginary thing, like virtual dog with the sense, that idea that it has agency and that we mind model, you know, everything around us to anticipate the actions and how we’re perceived. And the surprising thing about this scenario is that everyone knows that this dog is not real.
[00:08:30] And yet we are compelled to act with it as if it were real, you know, you want to play with this dog, cause it’s all the signals are there, dog likeness. And so we suspend our disbelief than we actually deploy our theory of mind in the scenario. Even though we know there’s no actual mind or no actual sentient agent there.
[00:08:49] And it gets into thinking about AI, ethics of AI, how we relate to machines. And it brings all that up on a conceptual level. And Karolina was very interested in exploring those concepts, but then distilling it. So it’s not talking about the concepts, but actually making executing a work that has all of these dynamic elements of playfulness and creativity and just surprising.
[00:09:11] So people aren’t thinking about that on the conscious level. And that was the thing I really learned is like, how do you work as an artist to have like a, a general thesis or area of interest? And then execute projects that get at those and that are not directly necessarily talking about the academic or the intellectual side of it, but have a more visceral experiential quality to them.
[00:09:31] Uh, which is it’s so engaging.
[00:09:33] Nir Hindi: [00:09:33] I would like to ask you, do you have kind of the. Maybe three steps for listeners that want to take crazy ideas, because I feel it always artists have this ability, as you mentioned, they crazy ideas and make them reality often in the business world, we are so focusing on improving what we have that crazy ideas immediately kind of go out of the window.
[00:09:56] James George: [00:09:56] Yeah, sure. I mean, you’re kind of asking me like three steps to make art and that’s like such a, because it’s not a linear process. I don’t know if I can answer those in a way and feel like I have integrity, because if I were imagining myself then being told here’s the three steps to make art, I would have like flipped the table because it’s soul searching words.
[00:10:18] It’s like, it’s about, you’re dealing with yourself. You’re dealing with abstract concepts that are ineffable. So I sort of changed the question. If you don’t mind. Which is what I learned from working with Karolina and have learned in my career as an artist about fundamental principles for make producing artwork.
[00:10:35] And actually we will talk about this, but they’re very similar to early-stage startup entrepreneurship. And I see a lot of parallels there.
[00:10:42] Nir Hindi: [00:10:42] I’m very happy that you are saying James, because one of my favorite quotes is that entrepreneurs are the artists of the business world. Yesterday. I read a quote by Jim McKelvey, the co founder of square that he’s also a glass artist and he is also in the intersection of art and business. And he said that. Business people are very respected, they’re very professional, but they’re singing the song. They are not writing the music and the entrepreneurs are writing the music. So I’m very happy that you said that because I see a lot of similarities. That’s actually one of the things we will talk in a second.
[00:11:17] So you worked a lot with engineers and you also worked without these. Do you see differences? Do you see similarities? I mean, how are different maybe in their approach to work.
[00:11:28] James George: [00:11:28] Uh, what are the parallels I see between engineers and artists? And I think that the first thing I’ll do is try to make a distinction about how those two words, because I really see an art as a mindset, as a leading thing.
[00:11:42] So artists have vision and try to create artists, ask questions, and then pursue answers to those questions, to challenge, uh, our society, to be more human. And how they do that is different for every artist. It’s whatever their craft is, whatever their means of expression and engineering is a craft. It’s a means of expression.
[00:12:04] It’s a tactical process for executing ideas and making things work. And there’s a lot of art to engineering for sure. But I think the word artists are complex because it does have take different forms in our culture. So in this I’d like to set this frame, the distinction between art and craft, the engineering tends to be about a craft.
[00:12:25] It’s a culture, it’s a set of tools. It’s a way of executing. And so I think artists who can be engineers
[00:12:31] Nir Hindi: [00:12:31] Its interesting kind of the way and correct me if I rephrase it in the wrong way, artists lead with questions, engineers finding a solution and executing ideas, right. I think there is, I think there is a lot of room for collaboration over here, and that’s why I encourage a lot of startup companies and generally business companies to work without this.
[00:12:53] I think often people think about artists as painters that just paint without understanding is just, you said out is a mindset and actually they lead with questions and they are hard questions that normally we don’t like to ask ourselves. James before we continue to discuss the DepthKit and clouds and the Emmy awards that sits behind your back now that, um, listeners cannot see it, but we will pose the pictures.
[00:13:17] Let’s take a short break.
[00:13:23] Hey listeners. Thanks again for coming back. I’m speaking with James. Entrepreneur and an artist and the cofounder of Scatter that won the Emmy award for his technology . So, James, I want to kind of move in, ask you actually about these movies that you started to do, volumetric films.
[00:13:43] What does it mean? I mean, you are the one that coined the name, volumetric films. What does it mean? How did you get to it?
[00:13:50] James George: [00:13:50] Volumetric filmmaking. Uh, there’s a lot of different ways to define it the best. So you think about it is the intersection of gaming and filmmaking, a little bit of theater dashed in there.
[00:14:01] The way I relate to it is that film can, I think if we think about filmmaking, it can express the whole breadth of, of, of stories. You know, anything that you think of being expressed in a movie it’s quite broad. And the reason it can do that is we relate so powerfully to photo-realistic images captured from real people and real places.
[00:14:20] And of course there’s a lot of filmmaking involving animation and blends between the two that are all part of the beauty of that, of that genre of that craft. And then think about gaming. Gaming brings participatory nature to storytelling. It brings, you know, the adrenaline rush of like shooter games, but it also brings the.
[00:14:39] You know, the, this like age sense of agency, like you take, you embody a character within a world and you go on an adventure and games are great at telling that story, but traditionally games use synthetic graphics or animation. That can be quite beautiful, but they don’t have the same nature of being grounded in reality.
[00:14:58] That we imagined from film, even fictional film because we have actors and over years and years, this graphics get better. And as our culture grows and desires more participatory and engagement because of the internet, these two geners have been naturally converging games are becoming more film. Like film is becoming more interactive.
[00:15:17] And what volumetric filmmaking is the synthesis of those two things like the complete convergence of it. It’s almost like an ideal. And we’re starting to just work on it. Now it’s in its very early forms. It’s, you know, the it’s the, in the nascent stages. And so what, when we make volumetric films, we’re trying to explore a Scatter, what this is and how it takes place today is that the use of 3d capture technologies like volumetric video, which we’ll describe 3D scanning, LIDAR, all the, all there’s, all these new ways of capturing imagery with space is a new types of video cameras and bringing those into interactive three D worlds like with Unity, the game engine, and then allowing participants to explore those worlds and discover the story, or even interact with other people being captured in real time as if they’re there in person, but could be anywhere in the world, like a hologram.
[00:16:09] That’s what volumetric filmmaking is. So it’s creating new spaces, new story worlds that we can explore and be immersed in that can tell the whole breadth of, of the human experience and like, like filmmaking camp.
[00:16:20] Nir Hindi: [00:16:20] So you started to create those movies when?
[00:16:24] James George: [00:16:24] I found my way to it, this idea over time, you know, coming back to these ideas of the art practice, my art practice and the concepts of my creative art practice after school was about discovering new forms of expressing using moving images.
[00:16:38] And, uh, that’s probably, if you would have read my artist statement, that’s what it said. It would have said something like that. So I’m like highfaluting combination of words involving interactivity, cinema coding, you know, and I was after something powerfully new that was only recently available. We, because of how fast new technologies are moving, there’s all these, there’s all this, this explosion of computational photography and new capabilities I wanted as an artist to ask the question.
[00:17:03] What new forms of expression become possible now. And what if artists have access to these high technologies? What creative work will they produce? And so that was my focus. So I was writing code to transform images to get access to new types of cameras that aren’t otherwise readily available for creatives.
[00:17:23] And what happened was in 2009, 2010, Microsoft released the Xbox connect as a new gaming peripherals, kind of they’re competing with the wi for doing kind of, you know, natural, uh, user interfaces. But what’s interesting about this camera or the Xbox connect, is that a headset different type of camera on it had a camera that could not just see color, like most cameras that were used to, but it could also see space.
[00:17:47] It had lasers in it that were admitted into the world. And it could capture the depth and the color of the world in front of it. And what was amazing about that is that’s exactly how game engine rendering works. When you render the world in a game, you actually get the depth and the color. That means that we could start to represent the real world within a game engine .
[00:18:08] so it was the first time there was a camera that could actually film virtually. And the way that that became available to, uh, well, I’ll stop there and we can talk more about it, but the ability to start working with that new tool. Uh, really opened up the space for volumetric filmmaking for me. And I created, uh, several creative projects for photography projects with that capability, and then began my first directorial project which was clouds.
[00:18:36] And I can, I can talk about that later. I’m going, I’m going along.
[00:18:39] Nir Hindi: [00:18:39] So no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Y’all going perfect. I mean, you know, because you find you’re kind of starting to touchpoints that I always mentioned. I just said that before the break people think about artists as painters. And I always say that artists are human beings, just like us living in the same era, exposed to the same technology and changes in the world and they are experimenting with everything. And what I love about RTC, the devil, always at the forefront of what we know and what we don’t know, you get these X-Box camera, X books, vision, and then you start to hack with that, to do what.
[00:19:13] James George: [00:19:13] I’ll give you a bit of backstory about how I got access to this camera, because it’s important to what I did with it. So at that time, 2010, I was participating in a group of creative coders of hackers who produced open source software for designers and artists. And that was very unconventional, still unconventional, but even more so 10 years ago.
[00:19:35]where there’s really not a lot of tools out there for artists and designers without technical training to work with code directly. A lot of technical toolkits assume an engineering background. I was in a unique position because I had the engineering background, but my intention was to support artists.
[00:19:53] So I was very attracted to working with building tools for artists, uh, with code. So I was working in the openFrameworks community, which is the C plus plus open-source tool kit for artists to do design and interactivity and that group of people were the ones who, who hacked the drivers for the connect when it came out.
[00:20:15] Yeah. So, uh, it was, you know, theater, Watson, Kyle McDonald, Joshua Blake, uh, Arturo Castro, like this group of folks I wasn’t involved in the driver hacking project, but it was part of the community. And. When that happened because Microsoft didn’t intend for anyone to have access to the raw data streams of this device.
[00:20:33] They want it to be used with the Xbox only. We made it possible to plug it into your regular Mac book pro and start to get data off the cameras
[00:20:40] Nir Hindi: [00:20:40] with regular DSLR Camera, or this is later on?
[00:20:44] James George: [00:20:44] The DSLR was in addition to that we, that we did. So this was just plugging in the peripheral and getting this depth and color. And that community was very important to me and remains important to me.
[00:20:55] And what happened was I was invited to a residency at the Carnegie Mellon studio for creative inquiry in Pittsburgh, by goal on Leben, who is also an active member of this community. And he runs this lab for creative artists in the studio for creative inquiry, sits between as a hybrid studio sitting between the school of computer science and the school of art at Carnegie Mellon, which is again, a safe Haven for folks like, like me.
[00:21:23] And when at that residency, I met Jonathan Menard and I was hacking on a way to capture video from the connect cause that’s what was quite hard to actually capture 30 frames per second. Jonathan Menard and at that time worked at the studio and he was the documentarian and we decided together we had just met that we would capture.
[00:21:45]the, all of the hackers and artists at the residency using this new tool as we were inventing it and so we started to take these holographic interviews with all these artists talking about why they use code to create art. So that moment was the beginning of volumetric filmmaking in a way I know it now.
[00:22:03] And it was also the origin of the project Clouds with those interviews are the first interviews, which is a project that Jonathan I went on to co-direct together. Uh, and that code that I was building ended up becoming the prototype to Depth Kit. That is our product and scatter now. So that was kind of the origin point.
[00:22:21] Nir Hindi: [00:22:21] So let’s talk for a moment about clouds. What is clouds?
[00:22:24] Clouds is
[00:22:25] James George: [00:22:25] an interactive documentary about artists who work with code specifically. It pursues the question of how networks and computer software. Affect creativity today and are challenging the note, the traditional notions of what it means to be an artist similar to the questions you write asking in this podcast.
[00:22:44] And specifically it documents a subculture of artists that design open-source tool kits for designers and artists. And those specifically are openFrameworks and another one called processing, which is a Java-based open, uh, open-source toolkit for doing creative expression with code. And the way clouds was made is it’s an interactive documentary.
[00:23:06] So you can, it’s very much like a video game. You can run it on your computer. And it’s also available in virtual reality, and it was built literally using the same open-source toolkits that these artists create. And they are depicted. The artists are depicted as point clouds as volumetric holograms.
[00:23:25] Within an interactive database of stories that the viewer can discover and navigate by asking questions.
[00:23:33] Nir Hindi: [00:23:33] And it’s kind of divided the divided by type of outies divided by if I’m correct by type of project. And I just, I download it in. I played with it and I highly recommend everyone to download it. Even though you make it a bit challenging and I’m sorry, James that on Saturday I drove you crazy to help me figure it out.
[00:23:52] James George: [00:23:52] It’s so funny. Yeah, no problem. I’m glad you got it working.
[00:23:55] Nir Hindi: [00:23:55] Tell us about it. How it is structured because it’s beautiful. You control the movie as the viewer you control which figure I want to see which project I want to see, et cetera.
[00:24:04] James George: [00:24:04] Yeah. It’s structured very much like a database of interviews. Where you can ask questions and it will, the clouds itself will generate a new movie for you. That’s different every time based on your questions and what you’ve seen.
[00:24:18] Um, the clouds works is you start and there’s two modes. You can go into story mode, which allows you to kind of fly through a series of portals that it’s essentially like a choose your own adventure. Every portal has a different question. And on the other side of that portal, Is a, as a string of dynamically edited clips of, of the artists and hackers in the film, addressing the topic at hand.
[00:24:43] And, you know, there’s some famous people in the project there’s Paola Antonelli, who’s the curator at MoMA. There’s Bruce Sterling. Who’s a famous science fiction author co-inventor of the, of the concept of cyberpunk with William Gibson, the Theo Watson, Jer Thorpe, artists and technologists who have really pioneered the use of code for creating, creating images in art.
[00:25:03] And you’re seeing interviews with them and it’s all running in real time with 3D graphics. And they’re appearing as the interviews are appearing as hologram. So they’re sitting in virtual space and the virtual space is organized into a huge cloud of information that depends on what they’re talking about.
[00:25:20] So you imagine these pictures of the internet that you see where it’s like these, this, this like spiraling web, it looks like a brain, you know, and it’s like neural network. And as a viewer, you’re literally traversing a path through that and encountering the content and the stories as you go. So you can go on story mode, which is like flying and creating a traversal through the network.
[00:25:39] Or you can zoom out and look at the whole network and choose the dive in and a specific point either by topic or by artist. There’s one part of the project that I’m very excited about, which is that these artists all work with code as their creative expression. So normally, you know, in documentary you have like B roll or, you know, you cut over talking with some kind of explanatory images that happens in clouds as well.
[00:26:04] Although what happens is these artists all contributed. Actual running versions of their artwork and its most true form that are interactive, that show up that you can interact with and play with that are generative that are different every time. So there’s inside of clouds is a living virtual art gallery of, and some place, one of a kind artworks that we commissioned that that also not only, only.
[00:26:26] Did the artists tell you what their work is? You can actually literally play with it on your computer running in real time. So there’s a gallery of that artwork as well.
[00:26:33] Nir Hindi: [00:26:33] Someone wants to watch it where they can watch it or download it.
[00:26:36]James George: [00:26:36] So you can go to cloudsdocumentary.com and there’s two ways to get it. You can download the online version and then you’re basically streaming clouds. As you traverse the network, dynamically streams based on where you go, or you can get a collectable USB key, which we make these holographic USB keys.
[00:26:55] That have the entire archive like tens of hours of interviews. I think in total, we did 40 hours of interviews that are all tagged and immersed in this database. Uh, and the whole thing is on this, you know, high capacity USB stick that when you plug into your computer that runs the installer and lights up and you can have the highest quality version, but it’s like an offline experience. So you can experience it either way, the links on the show notes on our website.
[00:27:21]Nir Hindi: [00:27:21] before we continue to discuss the depth kit, actually want to take you back to your childhood because all those people in the movie kind of represent the subculture.
[00:27:32] In a way people that started hacking new technologies, developing a new type of creative of expression, et cetera. And you have a relationship with the subculture as a child. How did you get to that? Because that’s something I relate to a lot.
[00:27:49] James George: [00:27:49] Yeah, it’s funny. We were talking about this before the show and I’m surprised that came up, but uh, happy to share it.
[00:27:55] So one thing that, uh, it was a very formative experience for me in high school and how I got into video and media. Oh, I I was a skateborder. Yeah. And I’m from a very small town in Idaho and I grew up skateboarding with my group of friends. And watching skate videos that were made mostly in California. I have all these like really elite skateboards and trying to emulate them and trying to bring that culture and make that alive in our small town.
[00:28:19] You know, our, our group of people built a skate park and worked with the city and did all this stuff to, you know, make that that’s extreme sport. Active in our community. And my contribution was I learned scrappy with computers, then learn to skate. And so I start, I became the kid who always had to be no camera and was filming everybody.
[00:28:37] And what it turned into every year, we would make a skate video of all of the tricks and stuff that the group would perform the year prior. And we did this for three years, basically every year of high school, four years, every year of high school. And the impact that those videos had was it started to transform the perception of skateboarders in our small community.
[00:28:57] Before we did these videos, skate, the skaters were seen by like the authorities, like the police and, you know, people who ran the property that we would trespass on to skate as a bunch of hooligans and vandals that were just up to no good and, and trying to destroy property. And yes, it’s true that we would destroy property, but that was incidental because we were pursuing a very important art form, which was the craft of skateboarding.
[00:29:22] And it’s like, it’s a dance. It’s like a very nuanced. And it takes a lot of talent. And if there’s a real subculture around skateboarding and the videos were made in a way, and I did this intentionally to show them to everyone in the community, So that, and what ended up happening. And we screened them at local movie theaters every year, and everyone would come out from our high school and we distribute them on DVDs and the perception began to shift.
[00:29:48] We would even, the police would see them and they would come and yes, they’d still kick us off the property and give us, you know, uh, fines for trespassing. But they would say they would actually ask about the tricks we were doing and they knew that we were not there to, with the intention to destroy things, but we were there.
[00:30:03] As a creative athletes, doing something, uh, in contributing to culture. And that really that to see the fact that making media could affect culture and change perception, uh, and tell the story of a subculture, get their ideas across that are, that were otherwise misunderstood. That was what inspired me to make Clouds.
[00:30:22] Because I felt the same way about the creative hackers in the open frameworks and processing community. The people really didn’t understand just how talented this group was as producing amazing artwork that’s relevant to the whole world. And how, uh, they defied the truthful notion of an engineer.
[00:30:39] That’s very utilitarian or just, you know, working within Silicon Valley to build companies. They’re building, they’re creating artwork for expression and showing in galleries and working worldwide. So I wanted that story to be made clear with clouds in the same way that I did with the skateboard community.
[00:30:55] Nir Hindi: [00:30:55] It’s a beautiful story, James, who actually took these movies and your experience and abilities as a storyteller, as an engineer, as an artist. And you did the transition from someone that creating art to someone that built companies and you moved into the entrepreneurial world. And today you are the co founder of a startup called Scatter based in New York.
[00:31:20] Can you tell us a bit about what is cutter? How did you, how it’s been linked to what you did just before?
[00:31:27] James George: [00:31:27] Sure. Yeah. And I can, I can tell the story. I’m starting where clouds left off. So clouds went on to premiere at Sundance in 2014 and there that was the first year that Oculus VR was at Sundance and Sundance is a, is a very prestigious, uh, independent filmmaking festival as an independent filmmaker.
[00:31:49] It’s kind of your goal to try to go, to, to bring a film to Sundance. Also, it may be less known. Sundance shows, new media and interactive work in a, in a category called new frontier and clouds elected by the curator. Sorry, free low. To be at new frontier in 2014. Sorry. Also was working with Oculus to expose the filmmakers of Sundance to virtual reality thinking, knowing intuitively.
[00:32:15] And she was right. That filmmakers would be very interested in this type of, um, new interface that was at that time being designed for gamers. There I was Sundance 2014. We actually had gotten an early version of the Oculus and actually ported clouds to the Oculus right before the festival. So we were showing clouds in virtual reality and what I was struck there, all of these filmmakers were so interested in using virtual reality.
[00:32:42] To tell stories. And we’re really excited about the ideas and the clouds, you know, being able to choose your own path through the story, using a new interface, capturing 3D holograms instead of two dimensional video. And that was literally a month before Facebook bought Oculus. At that time, there was this amazing amount of investor interest in technology that could power virtual reality.
[00:33:06] So I began to connect the dots and see, Oh, Wow. Maybe the ideas that I’m working with and the tools that I’m inventing here in the kind of creative arts and filmmaking world could actually become a product and, uh, be part of this new, new youth, you know, the next generation of, of computing, which will be spacial computing through augmented and virtual reality.
[00:33:28] Nir Hindi: [00:33:28] You, you leave Sundance festival with this insight, with this hunch that you onto something, what do you do then?
[00:33:37]James George: [00:33:37] So after Sundance, I was left with this, you know, kind of it planted a seed in my mind. And at the time back in New York there was an opportunity to join a new initiative that was started by the new museum in New York.
[00:33:50] And it’s still running today. It’s called new inc and new inc is a creative arts incubator that is a, has a hybrid model. It’s different than an accelerator and it’s different. Yeah. Coworking space. And it’s trying to create something very new it with the intention of building sustinable creative practices for artists, uh, by fostering skills of entrepreneurship.
[00:34:12] And, what new inc brought me and my co founders at the time that we, we brought our company there in an early form, or we were basically freelancers and we were invited to join this, incubator to really explore how to make our practice. Uh, our creative art practice, sustainable longterm.
[00:34:31] And in that exploration, I identified both what I even learned, what the word business model mean. I didn’t even know it yet. So I still don’t think I know what it means, but it was like, people be like, what’s your business model? And it was free. Like, is that like a 3D model? Is that like a mind model?
[00:34:53] I just didn’t have the language for even thinking about it. And I honestly, I had an aversion, there was this idea that like Capitalism or venture investment or investors was like where are you go to sell out? You know, as an artist and I need to work outside of the economy, I need to, to be scrappy.
[00:35:09] I need to be, you know, spend no money and I think that actually was working against me cause it meant I was working in isolation with no resources and NEWINC provided the context to start to learn. What it meant to think about business in the service of, of creativity. And I met investors. Uh, and other advisors there that they had brought in to have conversations with they’re incubators.
[00:35:33] So really everything clicked at NEWINC because that’s where I met Zach shield horn, who was our lead investor in scatter West, where we had at Lux capital. That’s where we decided. To focus on DepthKit as a product, the tools that we use to make clouds that were open source at the time that we could actually productize that.
[00:35:53] I learned the thinking of what product mindset meant I learned about raising money, and all of those things within uh, a community that was that held space for the values of artists. And didn’t see it as either or
[00:36:05] Nir Hindi: [00:36:05] so now you are a founder. How many employees do you have now?
[00:36:08] James George: [00:36:08] So at scatter, you know, we founded the company in 2016, so it was a few steps before those ideas really took hold.
[00:36:15] It’s a long journey of entrepreneurship, but then also found in 2016 today we have 10 employees and we have a product in the market depth kit that has thousands of users.
[00:36:25] Nir Hindi: [00:36:25] So tell us about this depth, because I think it’s a beautiful story. How artists actually can invent new tools.
[00:36:32] James George: [00:36:32] Sure. So at scatter, we lead with our original XR content.
[00:36:37] So clouds was the first project that it turned into the company. And then we can talk about it a little bit later, but our flagship title or our virtual reality volumetric film with Zero Day VR, which is awarded an Emmy and we create this content in order to show what’s possible for volumetric filmmaking and everything we learned through making these projects as a, as an original content studio.
[00:37:00] We then fold into the product and our business model, which I now know how to use that. Uh, our business model is we sell licensed software.
[00:37:10] Ultimately, the vision of scatter and making this content and building these tools is to make holograms available to everyone and anyone can represent themselves and tell their story from their perspective, using this exciting new medium of volumetric filmmaking of, of holograms.
[00:37:25] And the way we’re doing that is we’re building tools that allow that make creating volumetric video very accessible. So depth kit is a software tool. And a no-code SDK for game engines, like unity that allows you to use the laptop and a handful of affordable 3d cameras back there, similar to the Microsoft connect, Microsoft, still making the connect.
[00:37:49] And now it’s made for, for anyone to use. Uh, and you can use this equipment and you can make holograms or volumetric video as easily as making videos. It’s very much like making videos on a, DSLR video camera. In fact, you can actually pair it with a high end film equipment and you increase the quality.
[00:38:09] So depth kit empowers our customers, our digital interactive studios, XR content, and individual filmmakers and artists and freelancers, and some large tech companies doing research that are interested in building a new world for XR using real life capture. And so DepthKit you know, the way it works is you plug a depth sensor into your laptop.
[00:38:31] You install the depth, get software, you log into it, just like you do, you know, Adobe Photoshop and or Adobe premier. And you capture your world in depth in color. So you’re shooting on location, like a video shoot and then depthkit get processes that raw depth and color that’s taking off of these sensors and turns it into.
[00:38:48] The holograms into interactive content that can be played back, uh, in, in interactive websites, in game engines, and also brought into visual effects.
[00:38:58] Nir Hindi: [00:38:58] And you have some few famous people, like, I think Eminem that used your product for music videos. If I’m not mistaken?
[00:39:06] James George: [00:39:06] Yeah, exactly. So there’s a studio called drive studios and a director called Richard Lee, who does all of these super famous music videos.
[00:39:14] He’s done music videos for Eminem and, uh, Lana Del Ray and maroon five. And he used a very early version of depth kit to capture, uh, M and M as a hologram for the music Rap God, which actually in February. Just passed 1 billion views on YouTube. It’s one of two less than 200 videos that have a billion views.
[00:39:34] So a lot of people have seen this, you have to get powered content, uh, and that’s a great marketing for an entrepreneur. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, uh, it was in the very early days of the, of the tool and other, I can give you a few other examples if it’s helpful just to kind of ground it for folks.
[00:39:52] Yeah. So today you know, there’s a few, there’s a few proof points. It w a very exciting project was there’s a startup called the Wave, do virtual reality and interactive concerts, and they use steps kit to capture the artists’ image in peep and made a virtual reality live concert experience for her, which you can see online.
[00:40:13] There’s this group in London, Territory studios, they did a visual effects for a Hollywood feature film called axle. where there’s a robot dog with robot vision and they use delicate for the visual effects. They’re so not interactive, but highly stylized using holographic imagery. and you know, that’s a eight figure Hollywood feature film that has a lot of depth kit.
[00:40:35] Uh, and then there’s also like enterprise application. So it’s not just the creative sector. And I think a lot of people are surprised by that when I start telling you story. So for example, there’s a studio in France called convivial studio, one of our customers, and they’re working with an industrial manufacturer in Germany called secret Mueller who does do injection molding.
[00:40:54] They created a virtual factory tour of their plant and were able to capture holograms of their fabrication experts on location. And so that in virtual reality, you can actually tour the plant and it’s a marketing and training tool for that, for that company. Yeah. So there’s, and then there’s, you know, some of these stories just like really fill my heart.
[00:41:13] So, you know, here I am in Bedstein in Brooklyn and the neighborhood, just down the road from me, Brownsville, there’s a group of teenagers at the Brownsville community justice center. And they’ve literally recreated their whole neighborhood as a virtual reality game. Including capturing hundreds of their neighbors as holograms in this, this big virtual world.
[00:41:36] And then of this project is to actually foster understanding and create respect across dividing lines, to reduce gang related crime in the neighborhood. They taught themselves unity. They taught themselves DepthKit they captured all the holograms themselves. And, you know, it’s just, it’s just such a. A powerful project.
[00:41:55] Nir Hindi: [00:41:55] That’s a great moment to mention our listeners, that all the links to what James is mentioning, the videos and the projects will be available on our website on the show notes. So James, you are kind of in the intersection of art entrepreneurship, you are an artist, you started your own company and one of the experiences that you had is actually been in the role of an artist, but in a tech companies, through the models of artist-in-residence and you actually, with your experience and volumetric films was invited to be the first artist in residence, in Microsoft Labs
[00:42:35] how was the experience? Can you tell us about these examples?
[00:42:38] James George: [00:42:38] So for those of you who may not be familiar, Microsoft research is an organization within Microsoft that contributes to scientific progress of in computer science by publishing research and oftentimes works with the mini academic institution.
[00:42:56] So it’s, it’s a little bit of a, of a hybrid organization because they contribute to academic research, but it’s housed within a, you know, a massive. Technology product company.
[00:43:05] They publish hundreds. Yeah. Papers a year. There’s hundreds of researchers there. They have many locations across the world, and there was a group of researchers at Microsoft who wanted to change internal culture. they had a soft spot for artists.
[00:43:25] So in 2013, I joined Microsoft research as the first artist in residence to pilot and art, an artist residency program within the Microsoft research organization.
[00:43:36] And that has gone on to, it was very successful. Luckily I didn’t ruin it for everybody and it’s gone on, there’s been many artists. That are now the residents there deal with the program. Yes. and one of the reasons that I was a good choice for the inaugural artist. Was that the, the relationships I had with the researchers there and the intention was they knew I have the technical expertise and training to work alongside the researchers and work with their tools and techniques directly.
[00:44:05] So I wouldn’t be necessarily asking a lot of the researchers time. I could be autonomous now that they’ve gotten so much traction for the program. And actually a lot of the artists that are coming in are a very diverse in their training and researchers spend a lot of time building their artwork and they see that as, um, A good use of time.
[00:44:21] So it was really cool actually, that, that isn’t a necessity, the barrier to entry anymore for the residency program, but in the ingaural mode and years ago, they really wanted someone who could, um, technical level speak at the level of the researchers, but then with publishing in an art context, not publishing in a academic research context and that was the big thing that they wanted to transform.
[00:44:42] So back to the intention with the residency. When I spoke to the small group who were pioneering the residency program, they from the organizational structure and incentive structure at Microsoft research, there’s no mandate to publish only into academic conferences or academic journals.
[00:45:01] In fact, they actually are very broad and their definitions of how the researchers can publish. And it’s, it’s very open ended. However, they were seeing that the researchers tended because they’re all a similar kind of monoculture, uh, to be all publishing to the same conferences, to the same audiences.
[00:45:17] And maybe we’re a little bit insular or weren’t thinking outside the box. And so they wanted to bring in an artist to really challenge the mission of that organization, to think more broadly about research and audiences with, for research. And so I came in. To, uh, create artwork alongside the researchers that could be published both for the, for the audience.
[00:45:40] Also a little bit was the institution itself. So I did a show at the end of my residency and showed, uh, artworks and, you know, had conversations with the researchers. And then of course went on. We got pressed for the project. Then some of those artworks have gone on to show elsewhere. And so bringing, you know, and I credit Microsoft research in the same way you do when you’re academic researcher publishing at a conference so that it brings value to the institution in that way.
[00:46:04]Nir Hindi: [00:46:04] how do you feel people responded to have art around them in having an artist actually working, even though you had the technical skills, how was the level of conversation they kind of
[00:46:15] James George: [00:46:15] yeah, uh, I’ll tell a story
[00:46:17] so, uh, the researchers I was working with is a pioneer of volumetric video, invented some of the core foundation of all computer graphics, Oscar award winning researcher, Charles loop. And by the end of the residency, Charles loop was sitting, uh, in a ball pit with his kids being captured, using his own technology as a, as a hologram playing, playing like playing with toys.
[00:46:42] and I remember looking at this moment, I’m like, how did this happen? Like this very serious researcher? Uh, you know, I mean, he’s a, he’s got a sense of humor, obviously. Uh, but I don’t think it’s something that would normally have happened in his day to day life and how this happened was. You know, I was so interested in volumetric capture.
[00:46:58] I didn’t even know what to call it. I was working with the connects. I was invited to this organization that created the device. And then I found all these researchers working with super far out techniques. You know, some of those techniques that I found then are just now coming to market, you know, 10 years in advance of the market.
[00:47:15] And I was just overjoyed with the creative. Power of these techniques because they also weren’t productized yet. So they’re very open ended, but this research could be applied to, so I began conceiving artworks. For those, um, for what the research we’re working on and convincing the researchers to let me use their code to set up, uh, our art installations basically, or to capture things.
[00:47:38] So, yeah, Charles is working on a very small volumetric capture rig that could do real time streaming. So you could basically turn into hologram in real time. And I was like, let’s set up a huge one. I just talked to this other, other group. And they have this big empty space. And then like I went and I stole a bunch of equipment and I set up this big rig and I, and I had a dancer friend in Seattle that I collaboratively with during college.
[00:48:00] Cause it was back in Seattle again at Microsoft and we, I made this, uh, interactive video installation. And I invited Charles and his kids to check it out. And we were like, just experiment. We’re just playing around.
[00:48:11] So for me, what I saw happening was I really, uh, my point of view on the researcher’s work, got them excited about what they were working on in a new way and got them out of there.
[00:48:23] Nir Hindi: [00:48:23] it’s kind of go back again. Why I always think that artists need to be part of the business environment. I think that it foster a different conversation in justice. You said you took. The technology, push it even forward in order to give it maybe a different expression and then bringing this person we’d to have experiment with his kids and getting excited about his own work. I think it’s a beautiful example of how artists actually can help you in your organization to create a different dynamic, which is not necessarily can be translated to money, but at the end, There is no better.
[00:49:03] I think thing that, to have happy employees that satisfied with what they are doing, proud in what they are doing and creating kind of a great environment that can help push things forward. James, you know, I have a question for you, I guess that some of the people listening to our conversation that they say, obviously James is very successful, you know, super smart, super creative, but the fact that his engineer probably brought him where he is.
[00:49:32] And I want to hear your take, what would you answer to someone like that?
[00:49:36] James George: [00:49:36] Yeah. And there’s two parts to that, to how I’d respond to that. And the first is an acknowledgement and the first is yes. I was fortunate and privileged to have been trained as engineer and have had a natural sense for the skill and in our culture I think we value to the point of overvaluing engineering contribution. So engineers kind of get an easy pass. They have very high salaries. They, you know, are respected in the way and like allowed it. Um, so it was very helpful that, I mean, when I needed to, I could put on my technologist hat and it could open doors for me, similar to how I, you know, explained with Microsoft research.
[00:50:11] However, I would also say that it doesn’t have to be that way. And if you’re listening to this and not relating to my story, because. You yourself are not an engineer. I would encourage you to challenge that thinking and going back to, um, the original distinction that we set up of art versus engineering, really what is the important skill.
[00:50:32] And I think what needs to be valued more is the few folks who have the courage and the vision to take on the role of artists and find however to execute those ideas. And. If you have ideas that, and you’re very compelled to, to work as an artist or to do things that seem crazy or impossible. And you’re concerned if you don’t have the skills because you don’t yourself have an engineering training.
[00:50:56] There’s a lot out there for you to, um, to work with that, even if you’re not the same as me. So for example, similar to how I collaborated with, uh, Carolina, there are a lot of engineers out there who are really dying to work with artists and don’t know. Who the artists are, or haven’t been asked or aren’t even know that that’s possible.
[00:51:17]so find, you know, put it out there, ask for collaborative, talk freely about your ideas and get, get people excited about it. You’ll find that there’s a lot of talent out there looking for things to work on and also a lot of folks have had who are creative by nature have had bad experiences with engineering culture because of engineering culture, because of, you know, it’s, it’s a traditionally very homogenous culture.
[00:51:40] It’s, it’s white, it’s male it’s, you know, there’s, uh, it’s can be very competitive and exclusionary elitist. And that’s something that I think is about the culture. Sure. And not about the actual craft and discipline. And I stand for that changing. So one thing to think about is look for places where engineering is taking place outside of that traditional culture or in opposition to it.
[00:52:02] For example, again, back to open frameworks and processes. A lot of the people who make amazing artwork with news leveraging code are not engineers. They’ve actually found a ways of using just enough. Computer science are enough programming to execute the idea, and then they’re not doing it for the sake of the engineering, but they’re doing it for the sake of whatever their expression is and there’s toolkits and communities out there for supporting, learning and doing in that way.
[00:52:28] Nir Hindi: [00:52:28] First of all, thank you for the elaborate answer. I always kind of encounter this sarcasm or skepticism when it comes to all of these why artists and how they can actually contribute. And I think. Following what you said about thinking about this as a mindset is leading with questions artists leading with vision out is leading with crazy ideas and actually fulfill them.
[00:52:50] We can learn a lot from that experiences and by the way, for our listeners, if you are an engineer that want to work with an artist, drop us an email, we will help you find an artist that is looking for an engineer. This is what we want to do to create these bridges. So James, we’re getting to the end of our conversation and I want to kind of maybe go one step back, someone that may be a maybe business manager or business leader, listening to you and wants to start their own artist in residence, or want to collaborate with artist, what are the, I don’t know, one, two, three tips that you will give them how to do it, right?
[00:53:24] James George: [00:53:24] Yeah. That’s a great question. It’s it’s very challenging for a corporation. To set up an artist residency program correctly. And there’s a few pitfalls that I see happen, common app in happening quite often. And just for the record most large tech companies have artists residency programs of some type.
[00:53:43] So my, I mentioned Microsoft is very developed. Facebook has a similar residency program, a similar initiatives exist at Google as well. so this is not like a nish thing. Something that’s thought about across the industry. Spotify has a very active artist residency program and the, the things I’ll I’ll, I’ll, I’ll mention some trappings just to talk about it directly.
[00:54:05] So one of the major trappings that barrier to entry is acknowledging the artist’s business model and making sure that the residency is fit to work with that business model. So it be specific when one works as a career artist for their entire yeah. Lifespan. It’s not dissimilar to being like a musician or a filmmaker where you own your rights to your work.
[00:54:27] And that’s actually how you can build a sustainable life as an artist is continuing to own what you make as yourself and licensing it and working the, essentially the intellectual property that you generate as an artist. So often the challenge is, is that traditionally corporations by default boiler plate, they own everything that is made with anything made anywhere on their premises or using their equipment.
[00:54:48] That’s just the that’s just table stakes. If you want to start an artist residency, pro artists residency the program and get serious artists to join, you’re going to have to be able to make accommodations for ensuring that they, they own their work and you can, you’ll get very nuanced with it because you obviously don’t want to compromise your own IP as a, as especially the technology company.
[00:55:07] And it’s very solvable problem. There’s always a way, depending on what your product is and the artist’s sensitivity to, um, you know, negotiate a way for the artists to be able to come away from the residency, making sure that whatever they are building in your walls can contribute to their career trajectory.
[00:55:21] And so that’s, uh, that’s something to establish at the beginning. another aspect, uh, is about what part of the organization you intend the artists to contribute to? Like, how do you actually, how do you measure your ROI for their presence? And I think too often I’ve seen the trapping where artists residencies are created as a cheap way to generate marketing content in the traditional marketing organization.
[00:55:44] They think they can pay someone less than they would have to pay a creative director to like do cool stuff and make ads, you know, add content and artists who’s serious. Again will not. Appreciate being, um, kind of turned into a zoo animal that way and put it on display. So be, thoughtful about the, uh, goal, your goals with the artwork and clarify that to the artists to make sure they’re on board with the expected ROI for the organization.
[00:56:10] Um, often I see an ROI that’s missed that, uh, goes back to the Microsoft example where. I think savvy artists, residency programs are actually about shifting internal culture shift. The relationship that your employees are, product managers or executives, your engineers have to the product itself.
[00:56:31] Let them see the product from a new perspective, give the artist free reign to work with internal tools, external product, and to try new things, pull the boundaries off and you’ll find that you did it will energize your Your employees in a way that you didn’t think was possible because similar to this example of Charles loop, uh, my mentor from Microsoft research, like we learned all the ways that his system worked and didn’t work when produced at scale.
[00:56:58] when we were trying to set it up in 10 minutes, when we I’m trying to hack it to do, you know, to create a cool visual effect or show it in a different way, like never would have tried that. You know, if we’re working day to day, based on the OKR is that are in place. So I think investing in internal culture first, and then yes, you get some great marketing or PR out of that with artist’s consent.
[00:57:17] Ah, that’s great. But to me it start there, start with, um, focusing inward and how you can innovate it. Foster innovation using artists in your, in your walls.
[00:57:26]Nir Hindi: [00:57:26] Well, James, I think, you know, you kind of, I like the last, especially the last part to my question, thinking about beyond just the marketing, thinking beyond, I would say just the technology, but thinking about your people and how.
[00:57:43] Actually art, put them in the center. now in the business world, we have what we call human centric design and I think that in a way, at least for me art, it was always human centric. It is about humanities for human and it is made by human. So how come we don’t integrate this way of thinking.
[00:58:04] James. I want to give you the opportunity to say last thoughts, last tips, whatever you want to say before we finish.
[00:58:12] James George: [00:58:12] Sure. Yeah. Actually what came to mind is the converse of the question you asked, which is I’m an engineer at a company or wherever, or if maybe you’re training and I want to become an artist, but I don’t know how, and I I’d like to answer that question because in some ways that’s where I was.
[00:58:28] Uh, and, you know, speaking out on behalf of a company earlier, who wants to bring artists in, but the inverse exists too. Right. And one thing that I want to also acknowledge is that I wouldn’t be able to have gone on the career trajectory. I did go on without other more traditional artist residencies that focus on fostering, uh, art and technology.
[00:58:48] So specifically Eye – beam being the, the most, uh, one that helped me the most and is very prolific and longstanding. High beam is an art RBM art and technology center is a residency program here in New York city that, uh, fosters creative and critical disciplines. Um, And artists careers who use technology for cultural production of any kind.
[00:59:10] So definitely check out IBM, if you’re an engineer and you’re thinking about exploring some crazy ideas, they give you money and they give you space to do that. And they build community. Uh, and another one, obviously, new inc. Um, and now there’s a new program called Onyx, which is focused it’s a collaboration between the new inc and the Onassis foundation, which is a big arts organization and philanthropy organization. Uh, there’s a new residency just starting this year, uh, that if you’re focused, you’re doing XR so augmented or virtual reality art definitely check out Onyx in New York city. And then I want to acknowledge, uh, Yamaguchi center for arts and media in Japan.
[00:59:49] Gave me a residency for four months where I worked on significant parts of clouds and contributed to open source as a researcher within their arts organization. And if it wasn’t for all of those residencies that allowed me to make a living yeah. Time where I was exploring these ideas, I would have not been able to do what I’ve done.
[01:00:08] I would have likely had to work inside of the advertising industry directly or, or in a tech company as an engineer. Um, and I wouldn’t have had the chance to develop this side of, of, you know, I in my life. So, uh, those that residencies are available. It’s scary. Take the leap, apply, explore the ideas and something amazing will come from it.
[01:00:26] If you take the space to just explore
[01:00:29] Nir Hindi: [01:00:29] James, I think it’s a great message for the engineers that listening to us, how to actually transform for the business, people that listening to us, how to actually connect without this. And with that, I want to say big, big, big, thanks for taking the time and share all your valuable insights and inspirational stories.
[01:00:49] James George: [01:00:49] Yeah. I appreciate the platform near this. Couldn’t be more perfect, uh, who were made for each other a little bit here. So I’m grateful for the invitation to join today.
[01:00:58] Nir Hindi: [01:00:58] Thanks again.