VISIONWORLDS: Immersion and Experience in Extended Reality


Through the proliferation of social media, virtual avatars, sensory simulations, VR and holograms, current and future forms of technological communications have the ability to simulate experiences with precision and without relying on the physical presence of their subjects. As the environments we occupy become exceedingly virtual and mobile, traditional notions of architectural discourse and experience are challenged. Considered as an ecosystem of technologies rather than tectonic assemblage of materials, architecture is shifting toward a non-static and non-physical form of experience, opening up potentials for it to be considered as a transdisciplinary medium that merges the worlds of fabrication, gaming and media design. Considered from this perspective, the symposium, Visionworlds: Architecture of Immersion and Experience in Extended Reality, aims explore environmental applications of media, VR/AR, sensor interaction with environments and robotic transformation of architectural spaces for their potential to align and synchronize digital and physical worlds in the same experiential plane.

From this perception of architecture as enhanced by and built with media, Visionworlds  aims to investigate scenarios where occupants of such architecture have the ability to travel between the digital and physical worlds. In these radically different new social environments, architecture is conceived as a cyberphysical system, designed not only for the use of people but also for the digital occupancy of avatars as their new subjects.

By engaging some of the greatest minds from the fields of art, architecture, philosophy, industrial design and engineering, the symposium will focus on the potentials of extended reality to formulate a reformed agenda for the role of the digital in the contemporary practice of architecture.



Exhibition/ Reception


 Introduction: Guvenc Oze


 Christiane Paul


 Casey Rehm


 Sasha Samochina






Marcos Novak


Timoni West


Alex McDowel




Narrative Designer, Professor of Practice at USC, World Builder

Alex McDowell began his design career in London in the punk era, designing graphics and music videos for musicians from The Cure to Madonna, from where he migrated to America and cinema as a production designer of over 20 films, working with directors Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, and Tim Burton, amongst many others. Alex is currently professor of practice at USC School of Cinema where he directs the World Building Media Lab and World Building Institute and teaches world building as a media- and platform-agnostic narrative design practice. Present research includes the development of new visual semantics for a pancreatic beta cell in VR, and the microcosm of the street corner as a human system. He is founding partner and creative director at Experimental Design Studios, building future worlds for client partners and collaborating with game makers, architects, anthropologists, neuroscientists, musicians and storytellers across all media including those not yet discovered. His design work includes flying a virtual whale over 5000 people for Intel in 2014, a Victorian laboratory experience in VR at Sundance in 2016, deep research and narrative worlds for Nike, developing a future vision for a sustainable village in Saudi, a technology center for Boeing, the City of Tomorrow for Ford CEO Jim Hackett, and a world build for the future of the Alaska Native community.

Architect, Faculty Member at SciArc

M. Casey Rehm is a designer and algorithmic consultant based in Los Angeles. He received a MSAAD from Columbia University in 2009 and his BARCH from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005. He has over six years of architectural experience, working for firms in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, and London. In addition to his professional experience, Casey has been a full time faculty member at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, assisted studios at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Pratt Institute and taught workshops at The University of Kentucky. Currently he teaches graduate design studios and seminars in programming and robotics in design at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles.

Adjunct Curator of Media Arts at Whitney Museum of Art; Director / Chief Curator, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons School of Design

Christiane Paul is Chief Curator / Director of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center and Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School, and Adjunct Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation's 2016 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art, and her recent books are A Companion to Digital Art (Blackwell-Wiley, May 2016); DigitalArt (Thames and Hudson, 3rd revised edition, 2015); Context Providers – Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts(Intellect, 2011; Chinese edition, 2012); and New Media in the White Cube and Beyond (UC Press, 2008). At the Whitney Museum she curated exhibitions including Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools (2011) and Profiling (2007), and is responsible for artport, the museum’s portal to Internet art. Other curatorial work includes Little Sister (is watching you, too) (Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NYC, 2015); What Lies Beneath (Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, 2015); and The Public Private (Kellen Gallery, The New School, NYC, 2013).

Architect, Artist and Technologist, Ozel Office, UCLA A.UD

Güvenç Özel is an architect, artist and technologist. He is a lead faculty member and Program Advisor of IDEAS and the principal of Ozel Office. His work is at the intersection of architecture, technology, media and research on urban culture. Prior to establishing his own practice and research, he worked in the architecture offices of Rafael Vinoly, Jürgen Mayer H. and Frank Gehry, among others. His projects and experimental installations were exhibited in museums and galleries in the USA and Europe such as Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and The Saatchi Gallery in London. He formerly taught at Yale University, Woodbury University and University of Applied Arts in Vienna. His recent work has been heavily published by CNN, BBC, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Wired, Gizmodo, Creators Project/ Vice, Dwell, Designboom, among others. His recent design and research on 3D printing was awarded one of the top prizes at NASA’s 3D Printed Habitats Competition. At UCLA IDEAS, besides teaching his own masters design studio, he continues his research on virtual reality, robotics, interactive spaces and sensing interfaces with support from leading companies such as Autodesk, Microsoft and others. He is the latest recipient of Google’s Art and Machine Intelligence grant for his project to construct a kinetic sculpture that combines sensor interaction, soft robotics, machine vision and VR. Debuting at the Visionworld symposium, it will be the first kinetic sculpture in the world that develops responses to the audience through machine learning and neural networks.

Transarchitect, Professor at UCSB

Marcos Novak is an architect, artist, composer, and theorist who employs algorithmic techniques to design actual, virtual and hybrid intelligent environments. He seeks to expand the definition of architecture by including electronic space, and originated the concept of liquid architectures in cyberspace and the study of a dematerialized architecture for the new, virtual public domain, the immersive virtual worlds. Marcos Novak holds a joint appointment in the Department of Art and the Media Art and Technology graduate program at UCSB. Prior to UCSB he taught at UCLA, University of Texas, Austin, Ohio State University and lectured internationally. His many writings which combine architecture, music, art, computation, science, and/or technology include the seminal paper Liquid Architectures in Cyberspace (1991), transArchitecture: Against the Collapsing Radius of Fiction, and Transmitting Architecture: The transPhysical City (1996) - which became the theme of the XXIII World Congress of the UIA (Union Internationale Des Architectes, 2008).

Video Directors, Digital Media Artists

Ewelina Aleksandrowicz and Andrzej Wojtas are Polish digital media artists and video directors working under the moniker Pussykrew. They have lived and worked in numerous countries, developing their projects across multiple areas of art and technology.Pussykrew creates multimedia installations, audio-visual experiences and sculptures, exploring spaces in between digital-physical realms, fluid identities and futuristic landscapes, through artistic experimentation with 3D animation and 3D scanning. Their fascination for virtually generated environments motivates them to play with the contrast between deconstructed digital images and sterile cinematic poetry, using the traditional language of painting. By dealing with the issues of materiality, they’re creating new synthetic-organic forms that are constantly in the process of mutation. In the last ten years, they have been presenting their collaborative work at international film festivals, art galleries, tech fairs and activation events, including Saatchi Gallery London, Berlin Art Week, Postmasters Gallery - New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, Carnegie Mellon University, Art Center Nabi - Seoul, European Media Art Festival, Transmediale, 3D Printshow - London, Paris and Berlin (Artist of the Year Award). Pussykrew is currently a member of the NEW INC - art, technology and design incubator founded by the New Museum in New York.

Immersive Visualization Producer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Sasha Samochina (sam-ocean-uh) is an Immersive Visualization Producer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. She joined the team at JPL after working in New York in the fields of video, web development and in Chicago where she was a head Media Producer at The Field Museum of Natural History. After dreaming up words, GIFs and videos for @NASAJPL and @MarsCuriosity and other JPL social media channels, she was inspired to explore the world of 360 video and VR and AR. Through Sasha’s visualization skills, she pioneered the very first 360° video release on social media for NASA. Currently, she works in the Ops Lab at JPL producing immersive experiences to help scientists and engineers complete their daily work and helping NASA to make space more accessible for non-astronauts. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in film, video and new media. She’s originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. She loves all things digital, animal, sound-emitting, cosmic and views the world through VR-colored glasses.

Director of XR Research at Unity

Timoni West is the Director of XR Research at Unity, where she leads a team of cross-disciplinary artists and engineers exploring new interfaces for human-computer interaction. Labs’ first project, EditorXR, was introduced at Vision Summit in February 2016, and made publicly available in December 2016. Currently her team focuses on spatial computing, tying digital objects to real-world data. and authoring for mixed reality. A longtime technologist, Timoni was formerly SVP at Alphaworks, cofounder of Recollect, and CEO of Department of Design, a digital agency. She's worked for startups across the country, including Foursquare, Flickr, Causes, and Airtime. She originally grew up on a farm outside a small town in Nebraska.


The IDEAS Lecture Series charts a dynamic new future for architecture by engaging speakers from a broad range of disciplines. The series looks beyond the field's traditional boundaries and explores topics arising from unexpected quarters—entertainment, automotive, aerospace, and tech industries—in order to explore rapidly emerging new technologies, possibilities for interdisciplinary growth, and the role of Los Angeles in the evolution of architecture.

SUPRASTUDIO is a post-professional program that leads to a Masters of Architecture II degree. Students engage in real-world issues through intensive research to develop new methodologies of architectural design. The program offers extensive research opportunities in studios led by world-renowned figures in architecture. SUPRASTUDIO partners student researchers with industry collaborators exploring topics as diverse as strategic thinking, sustainability, contemporary culture, lifestyle, artificial intelligence, autonomous mobility, sensing technology, robotics, extreme environments, the journey to outer space, virtual reality, entertainment production performances, and media-enhanced experiences.  For more information on SUPRASTUDIO/M.Arch.II, please click: Here


Ozel Suprastudio is focused on investigating the intersection between the digital and the physical worlds, looking at the cusp of living in mixed realities where interactive environments challenge traditional fabrication techniques and spatial assemblies. Main topics of research include virtual and augmented reality, robotics, generative fabrication, cyberphysical systems and smart space applications. Studio is led by Guvenc Ozel with the assistance of Benjamin Ennemoser.


IDEAS CAMPUS 3691 Lenawee Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Seating is available on a first-come-first-served basis 
Free Parking is available on site and on the streets nearby
Information: 310.409.1604