The international art, culture, and fashion VR competition hosted at PARCO Shibuya on Dec. 15 announces its official award winners, including a Gold Prize of $20,000.
Following the announcement of 25 finalists at the end of last year, the NEWVIEW awards officially announced the winners of the competition.
The awards are a joint production of co-working company Loftwork, Japanese department store chain PARCO, and Psychic VR Lab. Psychic VR Lab is the parent company of STYLY, the platform used by entrants in the competition.
2019 NEWVIEW Awards exhibition space in PARCO Shibuya / Image Credit: VRScout
STYLY is a VR content creation and publishing platform that is intended to allow users to generate immersive experiences without code, and now hosts over 10,000 published scenes since its inception. In 2020, STYLY will officially release its mobile augmented reality app, which was showcased in the exhibition accompanying the NEWVIEW awards.
One of the STYLY AR activations at PARCO during the NEWVIEW exhibition
In the competition, seven projects received recognition, with four receiving cash prizes: one $20,000 USD prize for Gold, and three $5,000 USD prizes for Silver.
Gold Prize: Takkun Museum
“Takkun Museum,” which showcases an interactive children’s world, won the gold award at the NEWVIEW Awards / Image Credit: NEWVIEW
The grand prize of the show went to “Takkun Museum,” an experience created by a father for his son, which showcases the boy’s art (audio and visual) in an immersive format. In honoring the experience, judges cited the its potential to create a new format for depicting the inner world and imaginations of children—as well as memorializing special moments in their lives.
“This artwork might be a demonstration of how a family album will look in the future,” NEWVIEW Judge Nemu Yumemi said. “[It] is a unique experience that sketches out the picture of the photo album service of the future…. This project, without a doubt, opened up the exciting possibilities where such imagination becomes a part of our daily lives.”
But for being such a playful project, it also brings together a variety of different technical formats.
“For me, this project is not only cute, filled with warming love, thoroughly throughout, it is also personal and detailed,” NEWVIEW Judge Keichii Matsuda said. “Although the project may seem simple, it’s seemingly impactful. With different media, including 360° videos, 2D videos, animated characters, choreographed performances, typographical and photogrammetry techniques, 3D room models, and spatial audio combined, the project is also a very ambitious piece of artwork.”
Silver Prize: ne.mui
One of the award show’s more conceptual pieces, “ne.mui” is a VR project that explores the boundaries (and paradoxes) of the subconscious, with the word “ne” referring to “Network,” abd “mui” meaning, “No deliberate meanings.”
“The project can be said to be an experience through which users wander between realities and dreams,” NEWVIEW Judge Akihiko Taniguchi said. “For me, VR technology and its unique expression create an inextricable link, connecting the creators’ personal experience with others. Based on the main theme of exploring the ‘boundaries within unconsciousness,’ this VR project is a passionate artwork encompassing a vast space.”
Silver Prize: Piece of String
“Piece of String” is a photogrammetry VR project that depicts an empty house. Users follow the eponymous piece of string, and in so doing experience changes in scale and embodiment within the space.
“Just by following a seemingly meaningless cord laid around a run-of-the-mill room, [Roy] has led users to examine the environments encompassed within different parts of the house…eventually [pushing] users to re-examine themselves in a unique, private, and poetic way,” NEWVIEW Judge Keisuke Toyoda said. “[The] project has also helped me to rediscover the possibilities hidden within VR, a media with which users can imaginatively showcase their realities, and reconstruct the realities with their imagination.”
Silver Prize: VR MANGA WORLD
There have been a few excellent remediations of the Manga genre in VR, and “VR MANGA WORLD” extends this innovation, situating frozen black-and-white scenes within a fully rendered 3D school environment that users move throughout on a narrative journey.
“This art project vividly depicts a part of the evolution occurring in the world of Manga,” NEWVIEW Judge Mitsuru Kuramoto said. “As users dive into the project’s virtual world, they are offered with an opportunity to experience the Manga instead of just reading it like with traditional comics. The unique expressions encased in the project are bolstered such that users can experience the actions in a way similar to reading a Manga instead of making it such that the actions become anime-like.”
HIDEKI MATSUTAKE Prize: Merging Memories
Another photogrammetry project to capture judges was “Merging Memories,” though where “Piece of String” is an exercise in precision, the latter project is more impressionistic and far-reaching. Using pictures uploaded to various SNS platforms, “Merging Memories” reconstructs the “Nonbe Yokocho,” creating a memory book that incorporates not only the location but the people and the moment in which each moment was captured.
“Reconstructed with photogrammetry, this nostalgic VR space not only gives users a glimpse into a once passed era but also creates a new feeling that draws users into the space itself instead of just illustrating the nostalgia feeling itself,” Hideki Matsutake said. “Journeying through the space, it seems as if different sounds are echoing throughout the lining of retro Izakaya diners.”
KMNZ Prize: C’est la vie, SHOGYO-MUJO
One need look no further than the title of this piece to witness the ways it manifests metaphor; “C’est la vie” is combined with the Buddhist phrase “Shogyo mujo,” which means “all is vanity.” The result is the entrance of an arcade that blurs the line between reality and imagination.
“The idea of using an arcade game machine to travel between two different worlds in addition to the unique world view born from this experience is brilliant,” VTuber hip hop group KMNZ wrote. “In addition to the beauty born from the differences before and after entering the virtual world, the metaphor ‘this world was created virtually (STYLY)’ left us with a great impression.”
PARCO Prize: ne.mui (see above)
Media Ambition Tokyo Prize: Piece of String (see above)
In addition to the awards show, NEWVIEW organized exhibitions leading up to the event. In particular, Psychic VR Lab collaborated with PARCO to bring the winner of NEWVIEW AWARD 2018’s PARCO Prize, “Discont” (pictured below), into the mall’s 5th floor (its de facto “technology” floor).
Image art for “Discont” / Image Credit: Psychic VR Lab, PARCO
Using the passthrough camera feature on the Lenovo Mirage Solo, audiences are able to experience “Discont” embedded in the space itself.