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Wbi News Blast

We are delighted to announce that the renowned world building and narrative design forum, the USC 5D Institute, has changed its name to the USC World Building Institute, effective immediately.

Science of Fiction Recap

Science of Fiction 2014 was a huge success

“What the World Building Instituteā€¦ and the World Building Media Lab are attempting, is both to understand and to lead the way in which technology is used creatively to build new forms of narratives out of virtual worlds as the backbone of future media. A mighty taskā€¦” - Rory Fellowes, writer.

Over 250 thought leaders, academics, students and professionals joined the 2014 Science of Fiction & Sound of Fiction events last October 24-26.

“This event is the only one of its kind. There are no panelists, no speakers and no audience, only a fantastic range of participants, all experts in their field. There’s no stage, just a collective gathering to conduct a deep experiment into vast collaborative world building,” stated Professor Alex McDowell at the start of the festival. He went on, “there are rules and parameters to frame the narrative possibilities of the world, and we expect you to develop them by breaking them”. Framing the weekend dialogue within this horizontal and interactive conversation space, individuals assembled into diverse fungi of industries, schools and disciplines to experience the very first unveiling in almost 100 years of the mysterious Archipelago of Rilao.

The event opened with an Anthropological Cabaret, an illustrious lineup of scientists, poets, and artists recently returned from the island, who presented the rich history, mythology, socio-politics and infrastructure of the world of Rilao. The gathered participants discovered its evolution from the chance meeting of the dna of Rio and Los Angeles on a small island in the Pacific.This is a world developed since January 2014 and richly populated with original narrative ideas, first by students of world building at Media Arts and Practice at USC Cinematic Arts, and subsequently by design, game, architecture and journalism students from around the world.

Watch the video

Participants, including 30 children from 5-15, divided into the 10 districts of Rilao, to study and participate in this vast world build. At the end of the day, over 1000 stories had been written and shared, and over 200 project prototypes realized. These can be found at where they persist in an ever-expanding database of dates, events, places, people and artifacts of and from Rilao. A persistent, open-source, living world, and an ongoing proof of concept of the power of world building.

Sound of Fiction

The day prior, at the Sound of Fiction, a smaller audience experienced a free-form collaboration between musicians Matt Davis of [namethemachine], Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, and Earl Slick, long time guitarist for David Bowie. “In a very abstract way, the Sound of Fiction was attempting to use the inherent alchemy of spontaneous collaboration through musical improvisation as a metaphor for the creative process when it is shared and simultaneous, rather than linear and industrial,” remarked reporter Rory Fellowes. It was a remarkable, unique 3-hour jam session woven with the fully interactive electronic drum machine in the center of the audience. The event presented a metaphor for the collaborative and organic nature of the music of Rilao and its evolving world.


WBi at Berlinale Talents

USC Cinematic Arts World Building Institute at 2015 Berlinale Talents

Early in February in Berlin, professors Alex McDowell and Jeff Watson (USC Cinematic Arts) joined professor Bruno Setola (Rotterdam University), and Juan Diaz B (Columbian filmmaker, world builder and World Building Institute curator), to collaborate with some amazing young filmmakers in a panel presentation and a series of world building workshops at the Berlinale Talents. This annual assembly of 300 young filmmakers are chosen from over 2000 applicants from over 75 countries. It is an inspirational part of the Berlinale Film Festival, and includes a unique and longstanding partnership with the USC World Building Institute.

This first open discussion of Rilao in Europe inspired the participant designers, writers and directors with two days of workshops that built whole new swaths of the world of Rilao inside this fascinating and unique archipelago. The five groups produced detailed spatial and time-based world spaces, each building an Atlas of a year in the history and future of the island city.

As part of the Berlinale Talents/ WBi world building program, the group also had the incredible opportunity to visit the retrospective of Sir Ken Adams’ influential career in production design, ‘Bigger Than Life’ curated by Boris Hars-Tschachotin for the Deutche Kinematek. They met with the great designer in person at the after-discussion between Sir Ken, Boris and Alex McDowell. Ken Adam’s deep understanding of how production design instigates narrative action, combined with his vast imaginative instincts for the physicality of architecture, and his fearlessness as a designer, characterizes him as one of the quintessential creative forces in cinema.

Watch video from the panel discussion, Imaginary Worlds: Exploring the Unknown.


WBi at FMX

Building Rilao and the Science of Fiction at FMX, Stuttgart, May 2015

We look forward to continuing these international dialogues with you at FMX 2015 in Stuttgart, Germany in May. There we will run the next iteration of the open source world of Rilao, alongside the leading experts in animation, mixed and synchromedia in FMX's four day discussion of the futures of media and storytelling. There will be extensive discussion of the future of virtual and augmented reality, and the ways in which world building becomes the base for new mixed reality narratives. And there are rumors of a flying Whale. We’ll see you there!


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