VR Psyche (stories) – a project for VR LA


Visit my website: NickVenden.com

I’m publishing excerpts and tests for VR PSYCHE (stories) at:


In just a few weeks this project has attracted 2,111 viewers and is listed as one of three top channels in VRideo’s animation category.

My channel on Vrideo.

I’m especially proud to be listed with Julius Horsthuis, one of my favorite experimental artists.

About VR PSYCHE (stories).

I’ve been developing with Unity3D Pro for the Oculus since late 2012. Recently I’m integrating the Oculus Audio SDK and TwoBigEars SDK into my workflow–allowing spatialized 360 headphone audio.

Meaning, I can place a sound source anywhere around the body with accurate height and depth position–not just panning.  The headtracking from the Oculus device (or the Samsung phone) is applied to the 360 spatialzation.

I’m building VR PSYCHE (stories) specifically to showcase the enhanced immersion of 3D audio, and hope to show this project at VRLA Winter Expo at the LA Convention Center January 23, 2016.


The power of VR lies primarily in three things:

A. Manipulations of Scale. Obviously.
B. Physical Intimacy–attention to finding the 360-camera’s “sweet spot” (in the words of John Carmack from Oculus).

These techniques do not seem very difficult or expensive, yet there are very few successful intimate VR narrative experiences. However, the third power . . .

C. Emotional Intimacy is often derived from audio and sound design. Here’s the good news:

Developers always had the tools to create audio sound designs which could compete with the Game Indu$try, but overlooked the power of audio. Now, with the revival of ambisonic recording/decoding, B-format components, etc, audio tools have become even more powerful. In headphone-audio, sounds can be placed anywhere in the 360 field. (The direct-front distance and direct-back distance problems have not yet been solved).

I’ve already showcased my 360 audio demos at the city-wide InnovateLA and at several meetup showcases. These new SDK plugins for Unity and ProTools are extremely expressive tools, enhancing the sense of intimacy and immersion.


Because it’s been impossible to sublimate or remove personal psychology from my work, I decided to create from very intimate autobiographical sources.

VR PSYCHE (stories) were built by accumulating small provisional acts, but purposive ones–decisions made out of economy and necessity; the quality of the work comes from inefficiencies in my process. For instance, I often lease production-ready 3d body scans and then later try to figure how to use them; I usually learn new aspects of C# programming while I build the VR experiences;  I work alone.

Importantly, I believe it’s possible to create VR art-world experiences—ones which hold up against the 64-billion dollar Game Indu$try—in a manner that recalls Michael Fried’s delineation of the “authentic” artwork from the temporal realities of “theater.” Pretentious of me? Probably.

After the Post-Internet Generation’s mass plundering of the web for content for their cynical appropriations—and the consequent leveling of that content’s value—there’s now a craving for personal authenticity; the authenticity that’s been destroyed by routine construction and performance of multiple identities on social media.

4. (about the human figure)
In digital art, voxel-terrains, 1-bit electronics, hacking-versus-defaults, glitch-art, and all the general deskilling, have all devolved into primitivist mannerism. Techniques such as dumbing things down or making circuits fail may create yet another tortured critique of commodity-versus-capital, but they will not summon human relationality. Digital art, and VR in particular, need the power of the human figure. The human figures in VR PSYCHE (stories) are often powerfully naked.

For more about VR for mature audiences, read my blog page Voyeur Reality.



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