An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Mistakes in my world generally are not funny at all, they are disasters. Horror stories!
The Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality & Mixed Reality Industries are so exciting. What is coming around the corner? How will these improve our lives? What are the concerns we should keep an eye out for? Aside from entertainment, how can VR or AR help work or other parts of life? To address this, we had the pleasure of interviewing Joseph Crossley.
Joe’s work has been synonymous throughout the past decade with creative and technical advancements.
As the Technical Creative Director for DCentralize, Joe not only brings a dynamic creative vision needed for an event of this kind but also a plethora of technical IP, yet to be seen in the public event space. Technically, his work in the use of advanced media techniques has seen multiple accolades, including being featured as a TEDx speaker on this very subject.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and how you grew up?
I grew up in North Wales in the middle of the deep countryside, I got a scholarship to my school Rydal with music and my parents were horticulturists.
In 2004 after leaving school at 24 I set up a production company in Chamonix, France to fuel my love of surfing and snowboarding and to promote music concerts. Through this I found projection mapping and immersive experience.
I met my wife and moved to Australia where I founded Astral Projekt, a company focused on making media immersive in 2012.
This led me to discover the early stages of augmented reality either via projection of other forms, and took this in an academic route with the Universities of Sydney and NSW and the (now) worlds largest immersive media festival Vivid Sydney.
Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Ahh there’s so many — Nassim Harramein at the age of 15 really changed my perception of state and reality and triggered a lifelong exploration of science and metaphysics. You can probably tell from the name of my company Astral Projekt what we were looking for in our work and effect.
I would say the most impact came from my peers in this world, initially Ben and Will from RFID really opened my mind to the possibilities of immersive media, Peter Walker (Vj Astrix.) Then the festival VIVID Sydney and Iggy Jones gave me licence to express this along with the likes of Samsung and Intel fostering new ideas through their respective creative channels.
‘The Cosmic Trigger’ by Robert Anton Wilson was a book a friend of mine, Hanna May, gave me which really set the position of understanding a holographic reality state and what that means for innovation in MetaV platforms. Many other titles included, along with writings of Nicola Tesla or Timothy Leary opened me up to visualisation. If anything this is my superpower and it was so native to me, it was like finding instructions to fly a jet, but I knew already. It’s been a long journey filled with influence.
Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in the X Reality industry? We’d love to hear it.
For me the human senses of data input into our brains are so interesting. We filter out masses just to make sense of it all. The eyes and the ears provide much of the conscious bandwidth for absorbing information. In 2008 as a DJ at a show I was playing I realised that we are only getting one half of the art that could be expressed. So I switched focus to the eyes, by far the highest bandwidth data entry tool for our minds.
There is a story I would like to share, it is one from Burning Man.
In 2017 Andrew Johnstone had found me and commissioned me to develop an artwork for.
“The Man“ at Burning Man 2018. A great honor and a whole other story of how this came about.
The Piece I designed was called “I AM AI — a declaration of benevolent co-existence.”
I created a circular projection wall inside the man base, it’s the middle that gets set on fire if you don’t know, and the idea was an AI system would show you alternative landscapes and real time 3D Engine graphics based on the people walking in there. A living AI system, augmenting the landscape of Burning Man offering a different perspective of the virtual world, the theme was I-Robot and held narratives of our future AI brothers and sisters and potentialities this created.
Inside each image, media file, audio file we implanted metadata which would be searchable by any future AI looking back for the origins of itself. It was 2018 and the first google AI systems were coming online.
The implanted metadata file states as a redacted Human rights document, the fundamental principles of humanity and their need for benevolent co-existence to exist, so culture and society can emerge.
The idea was that future AI at the point of singularity would find an event, a circle of 80k people, ceremonially burning an effigy of a man, which contained an invisible AI message to it — the AI, and it only. Humans can’t read metadata without a computer. The document states what it is to be human and the aspects of benevolent co-existence as a program file, and upload which would intern formulate the origins of itself.
Larry Harvey sadly passed away during this, and we opened the creative to burners from around the world. I AM AI was one of the last things Larry and Andrew touched at Burning Man and the rest is history.
This moment allowed me to understand that creation and visioning in innovation are the vectors for an expanded reality state. Unlimited possibilities can take place in those moments. The depth data can flow and the states your mind expands to in understanding it are unparalleled.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?
Ha ha — I seem to be answering the questions before they get asked, ha ha.
I would suppose this is the most interesting question as it’s fundamental to my business.
Ok let’s get out there for a moment. My experience in Astral Projection and manifestation has led me to realise that ideas are like mail, or gifts from another place. From today I have completed 521 projects where the idea has come before the commission.
I have an idea and it’s clear and detailed, I write it down, illustrate it, make it into a 3d game, and then the phone rings or an email comes, and the person is requesting just that thing that I have been working on.
That’s the most interesting thing that still I can’t work out.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Mistakes in my world generally are not funny at all, they are disasters. Horror stories!
I was once on an unnamed project where we were constructing a huge industrial installation, and projection mapping it for a ride, a roller coaster.
The company running the engineering had a new smart system for hosting the files, for the metalwork which in-tern the fabricators and metalworkers were using to build from.
We were animating media in LA and Sydney for this structure also as well and some very intense positional tracking for the warp and distortion of the media. Each render was 8K res so it was a big computational grind.
The new system got the plan dates wrong, and the engineers in turn got the structure wrong, the entire build was incorrect, just based on the simplest file storing system. It wasn’t our issue (thank god) but it caused us massive issues in correcting the immersive media, and when renders take days back then it was super hardcore.
I learned back then that simple is always best in critical situations, tech can and does sometimes make life harder. It certainly did on that project.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Iggy Jones — a Sydney pop star creative director took me on as a visionary, he gave me carte blanche to create and ideate and it was one of the most informative moments in my life.
He asked me to design an immersive media project for the University of Sydney, with an indigenous group from the area. This was one of the hardest things to approach in Australia as this building was built on sacred land and was a place they despised.
We created a story blessing called “Our Hands — Wingara Mura — Path to the future” blessing the building with traditional techniquest through projections.
When I saw their tears it was a really powerful moment and it made me realise what augmented media can do for perception of reality.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
It’s been a random past few months exploring the peripheries of new project ideas.
Just finished an amazing music project with a Spanish flamenco family and members of the Rolling Stones band and Tim Reice with Pino Saggliocco in New York.
It was part of the MTV VMAS in this incredible cathedral St. John the Divines. Looking at how music passes through cultures and generations. It was a huge success and the emotion was palpable, sometimes the simplest things are the most appealing.
We have been an early stage tech startup working on metaverse based tooling and aps with some amazing people, looking at human health, consumer metaverse creation, and real time AI driven media from body systems Astrl.io.
One of my favourite projects at the moment is working on how immersive media can change perception. We are heading to the great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt to enter the king’s chamber to study this.
Then there is of course Decentralize festival in the UK, and music festival operating in both real life and in the metaverse. It’s a decentralized music festival model that will redefine what it means to be part of a global music community. Dcentralize.io — This project will give ownership to the people who love live music and web3 and redefine the way festival brands approach their communities. It’s owned by the people.
What are the things that concern you about the VR, AR and MR industries? Can you explain? What can be done to address those concerns?
Detached reality in its many forms has to be a front and centre conversation. Instagram and facebook alongside others has shown how reality is generally false when passed through the ego brain. The Chinese whispers essentially create false perceptions and then AR Face aps deliver these false perceptions. Distorted sense of self and body dysmorphia are real things for millennials who have grown up with this tech.
It must be the main focus of developers to ensure people don’t get lost in alternative realities.
I think the entertainment aspects of VR, AR and MR are apparent. Can you share with our readers how these industries can help us at work?
Yes we are working with Passage3D and HQinSpace on just that. Flowstate communication systems with clearance levels for data protection allow people to work from anywhere but still be contactable via a virtual tap on the shoulder.
Working in 3D in real time is a trip, designing buildings are tools collaboratively with people around the world is amazing. We will see this becoming a main part of how we interact online either socially or at work.
Are there other ways that VR, AR and MR can improve our lives? Can you explain?
Mental health and wellbeing over AR, watch this space its coming via Astrl.io
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Blockchain community voting — kind of how we use DAOS but for everyday, solving homelesses to food sharing, to social community gathering. I want to see this, kind of line the notice board for your area, it can make the people the council and decentralized power.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Many many many — Just incase I would choose
I think for manufacturing and sheer balls of ideas it would have to be Elon Musk.
For Physics and surfing it would be Nassim Harramein.
For Art it would be James Turrel in his crater in New Mexico.
For music it would be Hanz Zimmer.
For leadership and future planning it would be Tim Cooke of Apple & Tim Sweeney of Epic both together on a Burning Man Art Car deep playa.
For Design and Architecture it’s always Zaha Hadid but she is sadly no longer with us. A lunch with her team would be amazing to discuss the fusion of media art and architectural design.
Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success in your great work!
Thank you for having me.
Makers of The Metaverse: Joseph Crossley On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality Industries was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.