Surrealism, Virtual Reality & Giant Cocktail Napkins

Community

Geekwire selects Pixvana as one of the ten hottest startups in the region!

The False Mirror, 1928 

 

Being honored in the Seattle 10 comes with a challenge - each startup is asked to visualize their business idea on a six-foot cocktail napkin that is unveiled at the Geekwire Gala on December 7th at MOHAI. We collected our canvas napkin (and champagne) from the museum, then sat down at Pixvana HQ for some creative brainstorming. In no less than two minutes, we were looking at paintings by René Magritte.

 

 

The Victory, 1939 The Victory, 1939

 

 

 

“To be a surrealist means barring from your mind all remembrance of what you have seen, and being always on the lookout for what has never been.”

— René Magritte

 

Magritte (1898–1967) was a Belgian Surrealist artist whose work challenges our perceptions of reality. In his paintings, you'll often see cloud motifs (p.s. we're into clouds too) and scenes with characters floating in simulated, dreamlike environments. 

Magritte used oil paints to imagine possibilities for blending real and fantasy worlds. Today, creators are replacing traditional mediums like paint with augmented (AR), mixed (MR), and virtual reality (VR). Their canvas is the immersive experience of human consciousness and presence. What would Magritte have created in VR?

With that question in mind, we decided to transform our giant cocktail napkin into a work of art. Why? Because Pixvana's foundational business concept is to develop cutting-edge software tools that encourage, democratize, and perfect creativity.

We are building an end-to-end video creation and delivery platform in the cloud for augmented, mixed, and virtual reality experiences.

There are many uncanny similarities between Virtual Reality and Surrealism, especially because they both began during historical moments of radical industrial and technological innovation. Both are based in a cultural movement that questioned the nature of reality, experience, and creative expression. We'd like to think that Magritte would have been one of the first to sign up for our beta program.

We chose to recreate one of his most famous paintings (Son of Man, 1964), which is a self-portrait of the artist that has also been widely appropriated in popular culture (think Simpsons, Stranger than Fiction, 500 Days of Summer, Thomas Crown Affair).

 

 

Magritte's apple is an interface between the artist and the world. For our version, we replaced the mouthwatering fruit with a juicy Pixvana VR headset. It's a metaphor for the creative and artistic possibilities of VR technologies. Here's what Magritte said about Son of Man:

 

"At least it hides the face partly well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It's something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present."

 

 

pixvana_magritte

 

 

Thanks to our multi-talented engineers Sarah Stumbo and Katherine Tully who fearlessly volunteered to paint!

 

Community