Towards the Matrix: A Visit to the Museum of the Moving Image
After a dreary 5-hour long driver's education class, I decided to visit the, not too far, Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. I was already looking for an opportunity to visit this museum since I read an article about its architectural merits on the inter-webs sometime ago.
The museum is within the lot granted to Kaufman Astoria Studios, which was originally built in the 1920's and housed movie stages, film treatment labs and archives— all the good stuff to create a movie back in the day. The building itself is not easily distinguished from the outside as a museum except the decals on the entry doorway. Once you enter, you find yourself in this futuristic place where dental white geometric planes clash into each other in crisp angles to form the walls, the ramps that lead you into auditorium halls, the railing next to cast-in concrete steel stairs and the slits on the ceiling to house different fixtures and projectors. Overall, it was a victorious moment for interior architecture in New York City once again.
After my initial observation, I moved on to the primary purpose of why this building has come to life: to display the history of animation and cinematography through different gadgets and where Astoria Studios stood in this timeline. Once on the second floor, after you have passed the simplified, futuristic indoor auditorium, you find all sorts of cool stuff from Chewbacca's head to the doll used in the Exorcist. At this point you start to feel cramped due to the positioning of the walls and disoriented from swerving past all the interesting stuff the museum has to offer. Anyone can plan a weekend trip to this New York City gem and see all of it yourself, but you might not be able to experience the event that I walked into.
That is, the "IndieCade Fest" a.k.a "International Festival of Independent Games" a.k.a "The East-Coast Edition of the Country's Festival for Independent Video Games." I tried to be over-arching as possible for different generations with these terms, but you still might be going, "What the heck are you on about kid?" Simply put, it was a gathering for all of the independent (rather than the big label) video-game developers and video-game lovers out here in the east coast.
After moving around and through desktops set up to give users a chance to try the featured game, I found myself around bunch of people swaying their hands left and right like they were on some type of hallucinogens. They were deep in the cobwebs of virtual reality provided by the notorious OculusRift. After I had read all the fuss about this machine, I couldn't have left without trying it. In the game, the player was an astronaut in a space station that was in the shape of a typical UFO but made out of glass with metal arches to keep it in place. I put my arms in the proper position and the device recognized my features to replicate my movements, to the best of its capabilities. The software was still buggy and not totally smooth to say the least. Another observation I made is about image quality. Since you are wearing the device on your head, the screen is 3 or 4 inches away from your eyes, and the convex lenses are between your eyes and the screen to give that virtual reality vision. The lenses dissipate all those pixels in the screen, which lowers the resolution, and you can actually pick out every pixel. Pretty horrid image when you compare it to the recently developed 4K televisions. However, you can bet that it won't be quenched with this quality and will eventually evolve into something much more real.
When you start thinking about the capabilities and applications of this machine, the possibilities lay endless. From real estate tours to virtual building projects, the building industry will definitely have their share of this product, along with the military applications and those of many other industries.
All in all, it is a groundbreaking technology that brings human beings one-step closer to virtual reality. I don't know if that is a good or a bad sign, and I will leave that up to you, but it definitely has a long way to go. And that sums up my weekend at Kaufman Studios...