West Liberty, IA, September 26, 2019

Shaking Earth Digital (SED), a virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mobile app company co-created the VR experience A Life in Flowers, featured recently at the Venice Film Festival, the world’s oldest film festival. According to festival organizers, the Venice Film Festival, which was held this year from August 28th through September 7th, “stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends, organizes exhibitions and research in all its specific sectors: Arts (1895), Architecture (1980), Cinema (1932), Dance (1999), Music (1930), and Theatre (1934).” Of significance, A Life in Flowers involved realtime intelligent understanding of user responses in a dialogue with a virtual narrator, to grow a unique flower sculpture. AI within VR opens many possibilities in education and the workforce.

A Life in Flowers was also featured during the festival by MIT’s newly launched Co-Creation Studio. The panel discussion was designed “to highlight the significance of co-creative practices in contemporary media-making, practices of creation that live beyond the single author,” posted the Studio. Katerina Cizek, Artistic Director at Co-Creation Studio noted, “This is an unparalleled opportunity to remind the world that creative ideas often come from more than one person, one discipline and even one system of intelligence.”

Synopsis, per the Venice Film Festival: A Life in Flowers is an interactive virtual reality experience and fine art installation powered by a participant’s own voice. The project combines the work of renowned botanical sculptor, Azuma Makoto, with veteran virtual reality creator, Armando Kirwin. In the experience, participants will enter a physical art installation and then be placed into virtual reality. Once inside the virtual environment, they will explore the harmony between flowers and human life during a conversation with Azuma achieved using advanced artificial intelligence technology. As the conversation progresses, a unique bouquet of flowers will form based on each
participant’s life.

“Our work at Shaking Earth Digital has far reaching ramifications for education and the modern workforce on multiple levels,” said Market Development Director Troy Miller. “For k-12 education, how can artificially intelligent interactions in AR and VR improve Social and Emotional Learning? How can students and teachers co-create scenarios for each other, be it in History, Literature, ELL or other classes? How about developing soft skills in and for the workplace? We don’t have all the answers, however this isn’t the only such project we have in the pipeline, and we will continue to gain partners and learn together,” he said.

The featured project at the Venice Film Festival comes on the heels of two SED clients’ recent Emmy nominations that leveraged SED VR services. Neither client, National Geographic or Al Jazeera Digital, won their respective categories on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019.

SED CEO and co-founder Jens Zalzala attributes the company’s success to its employees, and focus on working with innovative clients. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for my talented team, who consistently step up to the challenge of creating amazing experiences using brand new technology” said Zalzala. “Whether we’re working with National Geographic to create the world’s largest freestanding VR theatre, creating AR for exercise company Peloton, or creating a local experience for Hancher Auditorium, we’re paving the way for what we hope becomes a better world through the use of technology.”