A Space-Time-tastic event for everyone

A Fair Worlds immersive event during SXSW

Erik Horn

October 27, 2023

Every March, some of the best minds in tech meetup in Austin to share ideas, see emerging tech and to get a new tote bag for the collection. Being an Austin/Seattle-based company, we wanted to showcase some recent projects, but, more importantly, we wanted to bring our Seattle SpaceTime Adventure Tour to Austin for the rest of the tech community to experience.

To do this, we hosted an event at our Austin offices and invited attendees of that “directionally named conference” to swing by, see some of our great work and take a timed tour of the Applied Theoretical Mechanics offices (the fictional parent company at the heart of Space-Time Adventure Tours).

Attendees who RSVP’d for the tour were told they were V.I.I.s (Very Important Interns). These “interns” were led out of our offices and into an immersive narrative in and around the historic Baker School (our landlords are the Alamo Drafthouse and their amazing office here). 

The first stops featured Niantic’s 8th Wall WebAR technology to bring two iconic Seattle landmarks to life, the Space Needle and the Monorail. 

Inside, they were greeted by a live actor, and a robot receptionist. This portion featured some work we collaborated with Jordan Hill on, and included raspberry-pi powered props, live comedy and a video that we created in about 24 hours for the event using some AI generated imagery to go along with our historical footage.

After this the guests were told to head to ‘their’ locker to retrieve ‘their’ badges that they had left there earlier. A time loop narrative begins to appear at this point. At the locker they are met by another comedian in character and ANOTHER robot head, triggered by the door opening. This is where we featured our first illusion as well. We collaborated with Kyle Marlett from Magic For Humans to create some practical illusions that we could implement on our own, as non-magicians. This one we won’t spoil here.

The guests then headed down to the “R&D lab” to practice the fine art of capturing time crystals using a mixed reality (MR) simulation on a Meta Quest Pro headset. 

To wrap up the story the “interns” were brought to the “Antiparticle Antechamber” where one volunteer would have their Walkie Talkie Time Machine (i.e. their cell phone) scanned for any time crystals they may have harvested. At this point there was a combination of a few effects, from interactive floor projections, surround audio design and pre-programmed triggered lighting, and live comedy in the complete dark. The actors who play the Applied Theoretical Mechanics scientists who are trapped in the meta time-stream, were live in the building and interacted with the guests in some crowd work that led to our last illusion - the volunteer’s cell phone was now a cracked and broken Blackberry. The device came back worse for wear in the time stream.

All of these combined techniques and technologies led to some delighted guests and was a complete blast for the Fair Worlds team to concept and execute.

The whole event used the full 12 person staff at Fair Worlds, 4 freelance collaborators, 8 actors playing various roles throughout and a whole lot of love and teamwork. It was one of our greatest moments in Fair Worlds’ history and we can’t wait to do something like it again.