Maud Clavier, managing director of VRrOOm
Maud Clavier is managing director of VRrOOm, founded by Louis Cacciuttolo in 2018. This French studio is a pioneer in organising social events and shows in virtual reality (VR) environments.
Updated on 31/03/2022
Could you tell us about your journey in the VR world?
My journey in VR started in 2015, more on the 360-degree video side, at the time with my own company. I was particularly involved in documentaries and exhibitions. I then joined VRrOOm as a project manager, and today I am the Managing Director, working with Louis Cacciuttolo who is the founder. We are currently a team of about ten people.
Recently, you have worked with prestigious international festivals, such as SXSW Interactive (South by Southwest) or Venice VR Expanded What is VRrOOm's role? What solutions do you offer to cultural stakeholders?
We are a cultural events company, specialising in the field of social virtual reality platforms. We create virtual universes in 3D synthetic imagery, in which it is possible, by embodying an avatar, to meet other people for convivial and cultural experiences. We cover all aspects: the creation of the virtual space, the artistic curation, and the event portion. We started to really develop this activity during the first lockdown, in 2020, with festivals that wanted to offer virtual editions, or in the context of concerts broadcast on digital platforms. We also create virtual exhibitions and museums.
For Venice VR Expanded, we reproduced some canals and historical buildings. For the online version of SXSW in Austin, USA, we created something very pop, and this year we're going even further, with a very cyberpunk and futuristic result. At these festivals we also produce a lot of shows: the opening and closing night in Venice, and in Austin, an online only programme. This year, in the virtual world of SXSW, we will also be offering a hybrid format, which will allow both the real and virtual worlds to come into contact without the use of headphones.
You played a crucial role in the production of Welcome to the other side, a VR concert by musician Jean-Michel Jarre. Could you take us behind the scenes of this project?
We collaborated with Jean-Michel Jarre for the first time for the Fête de la Musique 2020. This project, called Alone together, was put together in just three weeks, in a hackathon format. This laid the foundations for a much more ambitious experience, Welcome to the other side, a concert in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris recreated in computer-generated images. This event, produced by the Paris City Council for New Year's Eve, was broadcast on television channels all over the world, enabling us to reach a record audience of 75 million views. Following this achievement, Jean-Michel Jarre was keen to experiment with a less linear form, and we recently produced a preview of the virtual concert Oxymore, named after his forthcoming album which will be released in September. This is a concert with a capacity of 200 people in person, and 200 people in virtual reality. Jean-Michel Jarre gave three performances in the Agora hall of Radio France. The experience, presented in black and white, is very graphic and invites you to explore different areas. It is a more experimental concert, halfway between gaming and auditory exploration.
What are the constraints linked to the use of VR in the context of live performance?
There are significant technical constraints: in social virtual reality, we quickly reach graphic limits, especially when we want to offer certain forms of interactivity. So we have to work on graphic optimisation and always keep in mind the final user experience. We are also dependent on pre-existing platforms, such as VRChat and Roblox, and we have to master all their constraints. The scenographic aspect is also very important, so we need to find a balance: reasonable gauges, a happy medium between interactivity and graphic quality, etc.
You regularly collaborate with various social immersive reality platforms, such as VRChat or the game Roblox. Can we consider them today as pioneers of the metaverse? What is your definition of the metaverse?
Today, the metaverse simply does not exist yet, because I think it is necessarily linked to the interconnection between the different platforms that exist, a bit like the internet. It is also crucial that these virtual worlds are not ephemeral, as is the case today, but permanent. We will have to confront this at some point, even if at the moment each stakeholder defends its own platform, while showing little inclination to collaborate with the others. For the time being, it is above all a sector that is becoming highly privatised. In the future, we would obviously like to create our own platform, with dedicated tools that will make it easier for any artist to develop their vision. This platform would also have its own editorial policy, entirely focused on art and events.
What is VRrOOm currently working on? What are your short and longer term projects?
At the moment, we are working with France TV Lab? to create a TV set for the sports programme Stade 2 in a virtual environment. It will also include mini-games. For SXSW, we are also organising an eight-hour live techno show with the company VISIV, which will be broadcast during the festival.