The leems boyste

FIVARS 2023: Spotlight on The Leems Boyste

A physical computer seemingly creates passages from the past; this experience allows you to interact with the leems boyste and potentially open a portal to the distant past or future. FIVARS had a chance to speak with the director of The Leems Boyste, Daniel Blair.

What led to the creation of this piece?

This project was created accidentally while another AI workflow was being produced. It almost felt supernatural how content could be seemingly pulled out of nowhere conversationally; it was very natural.

This led to a discussion where Keram Malicki-Sanchez (who has a similar obsession with machine learning, natural language processing, and the paranormal) introduced me to The Vertical Plane, a book by Ken Webster about a supernatural experience he had in his house focused on his BBC Micro computer. The first edition of this book was going for $800 on eBay until a second printing finally came out circa 2017.

This allegedly true and unsolved story describes how a 400-year-old entity speaks in parallel with the house’s new inhabitants through a BBC Micro computer. Of course, there was no public internet at the time. We reflected on how AI and the way it hallucinates is not dissimilar to poltergeists.

When trying to understand how Lukas from the 16th century communicates with Ken, he explains a glowing green sphere covered in moving text he refers to as the Leems Boyste.

What was the production process for you and your team? What did you learn?

This started as an iterative software project that evolved into an immersive AI experience centered around a kit computer called the Dev Term, a small ARM-based computer inspired by cyberdecks and retro-style computers. This becomes the medium to a universe you perceive entirely in your mind but communicate through a keyboard.

How did you become an immersive media content creator, and why?

My journey in this space was mainly by accident. I originally started BSD XR to develop websites and web XR experiences in 2014. Over time, this has become one of the oldest XR studios in Canada, with various awards and incredible clients; however, this is primarily focused on technology rooted in day-to-day processes and procedures.

Leems Boyste

This led to the creation of our studio department, which allowed the agency to focus more on structured hacking, allowing me to create art to further our technology. So whether this means building on-demand holograms or the ability to use AI to communicate with a ghost, I am focused on creating experiences that delight, educate, or entertain my users.

What is the VR/AR industry like in your region?

I am from Winnipeg, and the AR/VR space is growing here; we have a large focus on operations-style projects when it comes to applying XR technology to practical applications. Still, we have a vibrant community of businesses and artists creating exciting technology.

What do you have planned for the future?

We’re already cooking up our next installation, unveiled in November; this experience will blend artificial intelligence, image generation, and holograms.

What would you like to share with fellow content creators and/or the industry?

One of the best things you can do when creating an XR experience is to explore the world of makers. This essentially means digging into the process of physical art through tools like 3D printing, lasers, and mills to produce tactile experiences that enhance the immersive nature of XR projects. Even if you’re not handy, it is fun and incredibly validating to hold part of your experience physically.

Do you think VR festivals like FIVARS are important?

Absolutely, festivals like FIVARS are the vector to push the limits of innovation and storytelling. Festivals become a creative outlet to build personal things and can catalyze learning. The art project I have been working on for FIVARS came out of a relationship forged at the VRTO festival and quickly became a running joke and then a full-blown art project.

This can only happen with the ability to network with like-minded people, explore other people’s art, and learn from others to inspire your own creativity.

Leems Boyste can be experienced exclusively in person at FIVARS 2023 runs in person September 15-19th in Toronto and online through October 3rd.

The leems boyste