Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Next up in our community spotlight, is a mystical place that will allow you to rethink how you perceive reality, community, and the future. From an idea on a napkin, to a portal that whisks oneself unto a world of boundless possibilities, REM5 VR Laboratory is electrifying MN with its forward-thinking approach to learning accessibility and art integration in VR.
(Photo of REM 5 VR Lab, 2022)
“We created REM5 in 2017 to bring premium virtual reality experiences to consumers, businesses, and students in Minneapolis. Every aspect of REM5 is built upon our passion for knocking down the existing accessibility barriers and allowing everyone a chance to play, explore, learn, and create in VR,” said Brian Skalak, Marketing Director at REM5.
From day 1, the mission behind REM5 has stayed true to its humble roots, and expanded into varying endeavors/subsects in order to support the true drive in the community: to create a multi-purpose space where they can introduce users to immersive technology. With the hardware, software and staff these experts can make anything happen within these four walls.
(Photo of speakers at an interactive event, REM5 VR Lab, 2022)
REM5 is a vertically-integrated, locally owned, immersive technology company that includes a multitude of projects under the REM name, founded on differing, yet aligning drives.
(Photo of an interactive event, REM5 VR Lab, 2022)
What is REM5 VR Lab?
The brick-and-mortar entertainment space that is expanding the minds of attendees through initial/returning exploration of the capabilities of VR. The space is outfitted with several VR pods, which all have rotating programs to fit a given event, as well as a full service kitchen, and bar. Scattered throughout the space there are a plethora of unique art installations, some of which are permanent, and others rotating.
(The Quantum Mirror, photo sourced from WTTW News, 2021)
Elaborating on the scope of the temporary projects that have found a home at REM5, many experimental artists have taken interest in the space’s versatility in expression of creative culture.
“We’re a pretty small and nimble team so everyone wears a lot of hats. I came up through advertising, then to business theater/events, and then into REM5. In parallel, for the last 6 years or so I’d been experimenting with light art, VJing, and hosting my own 'art' events - so that led me into doing those sort of things at REM5," stated Brian.
One notable event series that caught my eye as I was writing this, was “ESC: Experiential Sensory Collective,” a recurring flagship XR and New Media event hosted by Brian and the REM5 team, which have boasted an impressive, diverse lineup of artists and creatives from across the country, and will continue to do so in the future. Watch the recap of ESC v4.0:
Veering into the integration of VR into music events, REM5 VR Lab has been changing the very definition of what it means to attend an event in the versatile space.
(Photo: Chris Taylor, Low & High Event, REM5 VR Lab, 2022)
Beyond the lab itself, REM5 For Good is a community integration program which utilizes technology in K-12 education, corporate training, and beyond.
Learning simply by book is a thing of the past; one must embrace the future in order to develop the future one wants to see. Learning has never been easier; the human brain is designed to be more receptive to learning that involves a more rounded use of the senses- no matter if it is a student on a field trip, or the employee of a Fortune 500 company- all can benefit from this refreshing approach to how one takes in information.
“Travel to Greenland to see the impact of climate change first hand or ride along on a re-creation of the Apollo 11 mission - We are bringing experiential learning into the 21st century.” - REM5 For Good
Additional projects include REM5 STUDIOS, a full-service XR experience agency that fuses XR platforms, web3, intentional strategy, and bold creativity to forge the future of digital engagement to scale, and SIMULACRA, which simplifies learning about the Metaverse.
REM5 STUDIOS have been developing their immersive web platform, SIMULACRA, for a few years, and are hosting a large event on Nov. 22nd at 7pm.
Click HERE for more info.
(VR Camp: Minecraft session, REM 5 VR Lab, 2022)
The main challenge they have become familiar with in establishing their current programs, is finding a way to introduce people to something that can be difficult and intimidating to understand.
(Web3, REM5 VR Lab, 2022)
“VR is very hard to explain the benefits of without trying it out. People understand golf, bowling, and computers generally, but for VR we need to show you by doing. Luckily, REM5 is a great place to try it out and we’ve put more first time users into VR than anywhere else on the planet.” - Brian Skalak
The largest success, however, is the thrill of breaking through that initial challenge.
Being able to host groups, experimental events, and see change they are making in the surrounding communities is worth the struggle. Regardless of challenges REM5 has faced in paving the path toward a future that embraces the aid of technology, they have shown no signs of slowing down in their pursuit of changing the way the world learns, and enabling others to follow in their footsteps.
(Web3, REM5 VR Lab, 2022)
Watch THIS video for more info on REM5!
Meet Brian Skalak, the Marketing and Events wizard of REM5 VR!
Wild Card Question!
What’s your favorite VR experience?
"Pistol Whip for sure. It’s a music/shooter/rhythm game that has an incredible soundtrack. Where games like Beat Saber focused on more 'Pop' and 'EDM' titles, Pistol Whip comes in with straight up bass bangers."
Check out REM5 VR Lab
Check out REM5 Studios
Check out REM5 For Good