Houses of Parliament, 30/1/18

Introduced by the ever-enthusiastic Matt Hancock MP (now Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, having previously been Minister of State for Digital), movie production designer (and so much more) Alex McDowell revealed some of the planning and thought processes behind some of his remarkable work. Projects such as Spielberg’s Minority Report (on which he spent a year researching emerging technologies), Fight Club, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Cat in the Hat.

In particular, Alex talked about the way he and others are now using ‘post cinema’ technologies in which audiences participate and contribute, rather than just sit as passive ‘entertainment receivers’. It is, he argued, a return to how things were before the printing press, when tribal stories required active learning and recitation to survive and were thus part of the tribe.

Also in attendance (apart from Blue Moon) were several VR and augmented reality exhibitors. Particularly exciting amongst these, we thought, was the work of Factory 42. With the RA and artist Jonathan Yeo, Factory 42 has used VR to produce a very real, huge bronze sculpture, combining exquisite self-expression with 3D scanning, VR sculpting, 3D printing and traditional bronze casting. You can see the whole process in a video here.

Creative England is a not-for-profit organisation which mobilises public and private resources to garner as much support and investment for the creative industries as possible. It has centres in Manchester, Bristol and Borehamwood. www.creativeengland.co.uk

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (APPG 4IR) was formed in October 2016, with the stated purpose to support and promote the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Parliament and encourage government, parliamentarians, academics, the private sector, and other stakeholders to engage with 4IR-related issues. www.appg-4ir.org

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