The wave of Virtual Reality is breaking. Everyone can see it. Our everyday environments are being drawn in 3D. Virtual universes, more real than real, are taking place on our screens, in our factories and in store windows. The increase of reality is displayed on our mobiles. For futile or highly speculative uses, virtual reality has become... a reality.
The economy, in whole areas, is already in turmoil. Billions of dollars are being spent, pharaonic investments are being made and markets are overflowing.
However, the revolution that is under way is, in my opinion, not yet that one. The one that is taking hold, slowly, surely, with the strength of its certainty; the revolution that is coming is rumbling in a landscape that is still mysterious, that of the creative economy. Culture-based creativity is an essential component of our post-industrial economies.
Digital technologies play an important role in this immaterial economy, allowing new forms of social exchange and contributing decisively to the emergence of new ways of expressing creativity.
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The creative economy is a place of mixing, blending and tearing down walls between borders and disciplines; artists converse with technologists and experts with philanthropists. Their encounters have only one objective: the emergence of the idea. Ideas are the key to innovation, creativity and growth. Finally, in a world, as everyone will agree, perplexed by industrial crises, waste and lack of culture.
This creative revolution is not without clashes and resistance. For it is basically a revolution of mentalities, of uses, of ways of working together. To work in relief, in 3D, in virtual. To immerse oneself in images to better understand reality, to simulate or prototype it. One of the major challenges of the expansion of the creative economy is the access of as many people as possible to these new tools, these new forms of expression and imagination.
However, to a large extent, the major virtual reality industries have already set up, at the heart of the creative economy, the bastions of their power: the American or Japanese style entertainment machines are being deployed with the efficiency of the big ones. Futuristic avatars of the image majors, they are settling in with their heavy machines and their know-how-knowledge.
But I have the sad impression that the doors of these very high-tech bastions often close behind the weight of investment, expert practices, expensive developments and barriers to entry. Leaving on the threshold the colourful cohort of creative players, the bearers of budding ideas, promising small businesses. Yet they are the ones who also imagine other ways of telling stories, detecting uses, arousing needs or passions.
I am convinced that the creative revolution and the one that will open up production centers, immersive cubes, Fab Labs of augmented reality or innovative design. It will give easy access, open to the largest possible number of players, to the best technologies, to the best production tools in three dimensions, or more if necessary. The revolution I see is dreaming of multimodal platforms, open virtual reality centers, cross innovation, living innovation. It dreams of artists and entrepreneurs, industrialists and creators, thinkers and engineers working together, and for once at last in real cooperation. This revolution is, in my opinion, a reality in progress, the only possible way to build a liveable future.
This column was published in the Atelier