Artist Blog: Chris Milk

Chris Milk is an American entrepreneur, innovator, director, photographer, and immersive artist. He is Founder and CEO of Within (Virtual Reality)(formerly Vrse), a virtual reality technology company, and Founder and Creative Director of Here Be Dragons (formerly, a virtual reality production company. Milk began his career directing music videos and commercials for top artists and brands, and in subsequent years became best known for bridging the gap between emerging technologies and new mediums for storytelling. Milk’s work has been exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Barbican Centre in London, CENTQUATRE in Paris, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Milk has been honored with the Grand Prix Cannes Lions, the D&AD Black Pencil, the Grand Clio, and SXSW’s ‘Best of Show’ alongside multiple Grammy nominations, MTV Moon Men, and the UK MVA Innovation Award. Milk was named to Adweek’s Creative 100 list in 2015 as one of the 50 Most Creative People by Advertising Age in 2011 and 2015, and one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company in 2012. Milk presented at TED in 2015 on the power of virtual reality as a medium to advance humanity, and again in 2016 on the birth of virtual reality as a new art form.


Chris Milk uses cutting edge technology to produce astonishing films that delight and enchant. But for Milk, the human story is the driving force behind everything he does. In this short, charming talk, he shows some of his collaborations with musicians including Kanye West and Arcade Fire, and describes his latest, mind-bending experiments with virtual reality.



The Treachery of Sanctuary, currently touring the world with The Creators Project, is a large-scale interactive triptych: a story of birth, death, and transfiguration that uses projections of the participants’ own bodies to unlock a new artistic language.  

The work consists of three 30-foot high white panel frames suspended from the ceiling on which digitally captured shadows are reprojected.  A shallow reflecting pool sits between the viewers and the screens.  In the background, an openFrameworks application utilizes the Microsoft Kinect SDK for Windows.  This talks to a front end running Unity3D in which articulated 3D models of birds interact with the shadows captured by three hidden Kinects


A collaborative storytelling experiment, and a collaboration with Aaron Koblin.  This work explores narrative as a living breathing evolving organism.   Where as most stories are generated by one and told to many, this piece allows for the collective conscious to steer the path of a multitude of constantly evolving narrative arcs.   As participants can add to any branch they choose, our hope is that the most compelling branches are the ones that people are inclined to further contribute to.  A virtual natural selection of narrative then occurs as the strongest most engaging stories survive and flourish.

The online component allows paticipants to create short animations that build off one another as they explore a specific theme. The result is a collection of branching narratives resembling the trees of a forest.

A physical installation is located in the collection galleries on Level 3 at The Tate Modern in London, and will be open for approximately one year beginning on July 23, 2012.

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