USC Cinematic Arts




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USC PRESENTS “LEVIATHAN: The Evolution of Storytelling”

LAS VEGAS: Jan. 6-10, 2014

The USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab, in collaboration with Intel Labs, unveiled the debut of the “LEVIATHAN PROJECT” at CES 2014 Intel CEO Keynote.

This research-based, experiential storytelling platform explores new possibilities in entertainment — where physical and virtual worlds connect through the power of creativity combined with emergent technology

Beyond the console and the home theater, LEVIATHAN lives where the robust storytelling of film, theater and literature meets the immersive interactivity of gaming. This multimedia platform delivers a parallel universe both physical & digital, where collaborative authorship develops the world and its narrative, and the audience plays inside that world space. Using an Intel powered 2 in 1 as a portal, fans will play with “Huxleys” (genetically engineered flying jellyfish) and follow the Leviathan whale on her voyage through CES airspace.

The LEVIATHAN experience is inspired by the steampunk tale penned by author Scott Westerfeld (Simon and Schuster, 2009) about a fantastic adventure aboard a flying whale, and interactions with a world of genetically fabricated beasts.

The LEVIATHAN PROJECT developed as the inceptive world that precedes the Westerfeld series, is a new ecosystem for storytelling, powered by Intel technology and USC imagination. In five years, will you be able to step inside this immersive world and others, like Alice stepping through the looking glass, and explore new braided stories?

“Built storyworlds like Leviathan spark new ways to both create and play,” says Tawny Schlieski of Intel Labs. “Intel is exploring this new narrative platform with tools that enable artists and technologists to collaborate, integrate, and create immersively from the earliest inception of story, while giving fans the ability to move and play naturally inside built virtual worlds.”

Alex McDowell and the students of the World Building Media Lab created the world of LEVIATHAN in this collaboration. “We are entering a new space for storytelling,” says McDowell, Professor of Practice and Director of the USC World Building Media Lab. “Not film, television, literature, theater, animation, or even interactive media. LEVIATHAN weaves of them all into visionary tapestry of modalities. It inspires us to experience stories, with an unmatched level of freedom and perspective.”

This is the first of many storyworlds that USC and Intel Labs are building, leveraging fast-moving advances in technology and new storytelling impulses in entertainment. “This year, we are pushing the envelope,” says Schlieski. “We are continuing our experiments on the Digital Rim by bringing our storyworlds to audiences beyond CES.”

USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab (WbML) advances the study of immersive and collaborative storytelling as it intersects with emergent technologies to craft a powerful new narrative process destined to impact multiple arenas, including entertainment, business, education, architecture, museum, biomedical, and urban planning. World Building designates a narrative practice in which the design of a world precedes the telling of a story; the richly detailed world becomes a container for narrative, producing stories that emerge logically and organically from its well-designed core.

Intel Labs develops technological innovations today for a better tomorrow in enterprise, consumer, and academics.

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