This past Saturday night Visionaire launched a new project alongside famed pop artist KAWS and legendary chocolate brand M&M that cemented their dominance in the art and media worlds. Known for their masterful issues that range across all types of mediums (and prices), Visionaire has long been regarded one of the most avant garde and cutting edge magazines in the world, so their foray into the world of virtual reality was the next step in the brands natural progression. While the collaboration with M&M’s might come as somewhat of a surprise, when inspected a little closer it starts to make sense. Combine a bright candy, an artist known for his bright work and a magazine known for pushing limits, and you have the ultimate virtual reality experience.
Held at the iconic New York Public Library, VIP guests were treated to the whole VR experience before it opened up to the public on Sunday for a few hours and then was released on Visionaires website to the general public. Well, to the general public that owned a VR headset. On hand to discuss the collaboration was co-founder Cecila Dean, with whom I had the opportunity to discuss the place where art, fashion, tech collide and how VR is going to play a role in our world moving forward.
Mike: How did the experience come about?
Cecila: M&M’s approached us to do something special for their 75th anniversary and we pitched a VR with KAWS and they said yes. Obviously thats the really short story but thats how it went down.
M: Of course. But why KAWS? Mostly because of the bright colors and illustrations?
C: He was the first person that came to mind. There were a couple of artists we thought of but KAWS was great because of the pop culture, the colors, and the movement, and the characters, it just seemed so perfect for a VR film. We work with a lot of big brands and it’s really important that there be an authentic synergy between all of us so that it’s never like “oh why did that happen?” To me it seemed like a seamless relationship between the three of us. Do you think that?
M: I agree, I’ve been a fan for a very long time so when I heard about this it seemed like you guys understood where culture is headed and being able to capitalize on that really well. Do you think that more people will adopt this method of viewing art as it’s more intimate than going to a museum and listening to the audio at the exhibit? Do you see this playing a bigger role?
C: You know, I think the incredible thing about virtual reality is that it can totally transport you to a totally different space and time and I think if the experience is great enough, you will be able to have empathy for cultures and peoples that you are not familiar with. And I think in this day and age that’s really important, we can’t always travel everywhere and there’s a lot of VR, for example on the NY Times, taking you to a Syrian refugee camp and thats an amazing experience to have. We’re obviously doing something in the art space which is fun in its own realm of fantasy but I think VR has a huge potential to bring experiences to people to illicit empathy to other cultures that they are not familiar with and that is something we are in DIRE need of right now.
M: Do you guys see yourselves moving forward with more VR? Is there a VR issue coming?
C: Maybe! Everything is a possibility, everything is up for grabs if the right thing comes up.
If you need a break from the real world with all its sadness and political turmoil, I strongly suggest you check out the KAWS x Visionaire world on their site by clickinghere. See exactly how far the virtual rabbit hole takes you.