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datavized: Data-driven Virtual Reality Production Studio, NYC.

Culture Shock announces the launch of datavized, a Data-driven Virtual Reality production studio in New York City. datavized operates from a strong position of leadership in immersive media innovation; datavized is a New York City-based immersive design studio, focused on the intersection of Virtual Reality (VR) and Data Visualization. Our team combines producers of interactive storytelling with experts in software engineering, advised and mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs and industry thought leaders. We are already recognized as innovators in virtual reality production and have built prototypes that demonstrate the disruptive power of virtual reality data visualization.

Leadership Team: Hugh McGrory (Chief Executive Officer, Founder); Debra Anderson (Chief Strategy Officer, Founder); Brian Chirls (Chief Technology Officer, Co-founder)

To learn more and connect with us, please visit datavized at

Culture Shock US Partner – The Enemy

Two combatants from opposite sides observe each other. We are in the middle. At the crossroad between neurosciences, artificial intelligence and storytelling, The Enemy takes us on an extraordinary odyssey through some of the most contested conflicts of the world to acknowledge people’s humanity.

Project Creator: Karim Ben Khelifa
Executive Producers: François Bertrand, Chloé Jarry
Production: Helene Adamo, Vincent Decis, Sylvia Alba, Celine Delaunay
Technical Director: Fabien Barati
Technical Project Manager: Fabien Barati, Charles Taieb, Didier Mayda
France Televisions Nouvelles Ecritures: Boris Razon, Antonin Lhote, Catherine Mugler, Sandrine Miguirian
Co-Producers: Camera Lucida Productions, France Televisions Nouvelles Écritures, Emissive
US Production Consultancy: Culture Shock
Consulting Producer: Debra Anderson
Creative Impact Producer: Hugh McGrory


Do Not Track

Do Not Track is a personalized documentary series about privacy and the web economy. If you share data with us, we’ll show you what the web knows about you.

Project Creator: Brett Gaylor
Co-Producers: UPIAN, ARTE, NFB, BR
Broadcast by Radio-Canada
Release date : April, 14, 2015
Tribeca Storyscapes Official Selection, 2015
Storyscapes Installation Co-Creator, Debra Anderson
Storyscapes Associate Producer: Culture Shock

Reframing Warhol as the Superstar of Multimedia

Culture Shock’s pivotal role in the digital preservation of over 500 films by Andy Warhol – “MoMA’s largest effort to digitize the work of a single artist in its collection.”

Warhol’s contribution to contemporary culture is immense. He is remembered for his iconic pop art images but he also made films, foundedInterview Magazine, managed The Velvet Underground, directed the Exploding Plastic Inevitable events, had two series in the early days of MTV, painted Debbie Harry on an Amiga computer in 1985, ‘wrote’ a novel with a tape recorder and was in an episode of The Love Boat. His combined output across multiple media is monumental but has not been appropriately recognized.

When Hugh McGrory, Chief Innovation Officer at Culture Shock, New York, a strategy and innovation consultancy, first contacted The Andy Warhol Museum in 2011 to discuss the possibility of helping to realize the museum’s long-time goal of digitizing Warhol’s film work, he discovered the epic scale of the collection. “I knew there were many films that remained unseen by the public, films I had read about,” commented McGrory, “But I had no idea at the time that there were hundreds of films and thousands of videotapes.” Patrick Moore, The Andy Warhol Museum’s Deputy Director stated in a recent New York Times article that “the films are every bit as significant as Warhol’s paintings.”

McGrory understood that a project accessing over 1 million feet of decades-old 16mm film created by one of the most important artists of the 20th Century would require a partner with the necessary technical know-how, infrastructure and insurances, and that this meant approaching an industry leader beyond the art world. Culture Shock had curated Projection, a series of moving image digital artworks from the website Vimeo at Volta NY Art Fair in 2011 and had come to the attention of Justin Brukman, Managing Director of MPC NY, an Oscar-winning family of VFX studios and a Technicolor company.

“We’ve always believed that VFX can be presented in a fine art setting and I liked Culture Shock’s passion for work at the intersection of art and technology,” said Brukman, “After several years of joint project development we’re now on course to digitize one of the largest bodies of film work by a single artist.”

McGrory sees this as a first step in the right direction. “I’m obviously feeling a sense of accomplishment for initially helping to facilitate a project of such historic importance. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. Warhol influenced art, film, music, fashion, photography, illustration, design, advertising, publishing, technology, and television. He was the first artist to exhibit video. By looking at each of these elements as an instance of transmedia storytelling we can begin to understand how the story being told shaped the culture it represented.”

Debra Anderson, Chief Executive Officer and Founder at Culture Shock, adds that “Warhol moved from idolizing celebrity to creating it. We now live in the world of the cultural producer where famous people don’t just endorse products but have enormous business empires across multiple markets built around their personal brand. Andy made this happen.”

McGrory sees this as much more than an exercise in art history. “It is very important to understand the past in order to examine the present. Warhol was a mirror to the culture of his time. By using that mirror to reflect our world fifty years later we see that we now live in Warhol’s imagined future. It can be argued that Warhol’s lasting legacy is a society painted in his own image, where everyone can be famous for fifteen minutes.”

Above Image: “Nico/Antoine” (1966), one of hundreds of Andy Warhol films.Credit: Andy Warhol Museum

Press release contributors: Culture Shock, The Moving Picture Company, The Andy Warhol Museum


Read the featured article in The New York Times:

Andy Warhol wrote lovingly of his ever-present tape recorder. (“My tape recorder and I have been married for 10 years now. When I say ‘we,’ I mean my tape recorder and me.”) But for almost a decade beginning in the 1960s, his real boon companions seemed to be his 16-millimeter film cameras, which he used to record hundreds of reels, many of which are still little known even among scholars because of the fragility of the film and the scarcity of projectors to show them on.

Now the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the Museum of Modern Art, which holds Warhol’s film archives, are beginning a project to digitize the materials, almost 1,000 rolls, a vast undertaking that curators and historians hope will, for the first time, put Warhol’s film work on a par with his painting, his sculpture and the Delphic public persona that became one of his greatest works. It will be MoMA’s largest effort to digitize the work of a single artist in its collection.

Patrick Moore, the Warhol Museum’s deputy director and a curator of the digitization project, said that the goal was, finally, to integrate Warhol’s film work fully into his career. “I think the art world in particular, and hopefully the culture as a whole, will come to feel the way we do,” Mr. Moore said, “which is that the films are every bit as significant and revolutionary as Warhol’s paintings.”

Warhol began using his first film camera, a 16-millimeter Bolex, in 1963. He spent more than two years shooting what became known as the “Screen Tests,” hundreds of short filmed portraits of celebrities, fellow artists, acquaintances and members of his inner circle, like Lou Reed and the socialite Edie Sedgwick, before moving on to longer, more narrative pieces. He made some 600 films of varying lengths, but only about a tenth of those have been available in 16-millimeter prints through the Museum of Modern Art.

While a few of Warhol’s movies are well known — among them, the feature-length “Chelsea Girls” from 1966 and “Empire” from 1964, a single-shot “antifilm” showing the Empire State Building for eight hours — the great majority have not been shown for years or have been available only through bootlegs of varying quality. Several years before Warhol’s death in 1987, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art joined forces to preserve and study the films, which often use the movie screen as a static canvas, a confessional or a window onto the seeming banality of everyday life. But the films’ visibility, even in the art world, increased only up to a point.

“A lot of people feel like they know Warhol’s films but only because they’ve read about them,” said Mr. Moore. “Fewer and fewer people have the ability to show 16 millimeter.”

Frame-by-frame transfer of the films, which is expected to take several years, will begin this month and be conducted by MPC, an Oscar-winning visual-effects company that is donating its time and services to the project.

(In connection with the project, a few pieces of unseen film will make their way into theaters well before the transfers are completed. “Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films,” a project commissioned by the Warhol Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Centers for the Art of Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles, will screen digital copies of 15 never-before-shown films in October and November, along with newly conceived, live musical accompaniment by musicians, including Tom Verlaine, Dean Wareham and Eleanor Friedberger.)

Film purists will undoubtedly mourn the migration to digital. In a review of “Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures,” a show of part of Warhol’s film work at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010, Ken Johnson complained in The New York Times that seeing Warhol films digitally was “like seeing a movie on television, and that casts in doubt their status as works of art.”

Rajendra Roy, the chief film curator at the Museum of Modern Art and a self-described “unexpected analog guy,” agreed, saying that the right way to see Warhol’s films should always be on film, in part because he helped revolutionize the medium by upending or undermining so many of the conventions of moviemaking.

“I get really grumpy sometimes when things can’t be shown on film, but that said, these will become inaccessible very quickly if we don’t digitize them,” he said. “There are still many discoveries to be made, and that’s the exciting part of this project. Folks are looking at work in boxes of some of Andy’s film that probably hasn’t been seen since he shot it.”

Warhol documented so much of the New York art world of the 1960s that the films could also fill in crucial art-historical gaps about who was doing what, when and where. But curators hope that a more important benefit will be an awareness of how, long before phone cameras brought the quotidian and the personal fully into the realm of media, Warhol was already forging his own kind of YouTube. (He once deadpanned in an interview: “I think any camera that takes a picture, it comes out all right.”)

“He filmed everything around him,” said Geralyn Huxley, a curator of film and video at the Warhol Museum. “He went to people’s houses and filmed the dinners. He was basically a workaholic and the amount of film is unbelievable.”

But she added: “For all of the film out there, there’s very little of Warhol himself in any of it, actually. You get the sense that he didn’t really like to see himself on camera.”

Debra Anderson Invited to Datalore Hacks at MIT Media Lab

Debra Anderson, Culture Shock CEO & Founder and Big Data Instructor at The New School for Public Engagement has been invited to participate in Datalore Hacks at MIT Center for Civic Media, January 23-25, 2015 to explore creative data-driven storytelling. Teams of filmmakers, artists, designers, developers, engineers, scientists, scholars, researchers, journalists, and storytellers join interdisciplinary teams of 4-5 people, curated by the Datalore organizers. Each team will start with a primary dataset that drives their story-making.  Final presentations will take place Sunday evening and are open to the public. Each team will give a brief presentation of their project, including a live demo. Final presentations will take place 6:30 – 8 pm Sunday on the 3rd floor atrium of the Media Lab.


We live in a world that is increasingly shaped by our interaction with data, which is increasingly complex, large and accessible to few. We want to create a space for investigating the narratives that emerge from quantitative spaces so they are accessible and engaging.

Harvard’s Bok Center, the MIT OpenDocLab, MIT Center for Civic Media, The Non-Fictional Cartel and Storycode Boston are joining forces for a weekend long hackathon in Boston that will bring together designers, creative technologists, engineers, data scientists and filmmakers interested in cross-platform, interdisciplinary storytelling.

Over the course of 48 hours, teams will brainstorm and prototype an interactive narrative experience that tells a story with data, around data, or about data. It could be a data visualization on the web, a physical installation using hardware and human bodies, or an interactive documentary experience.

Rewriting the life code

Can we rewrite the code of life? Scientists have discovered a breakthrough tool called CRISPR that will allow us to edit our DNA, but what are the promises and consequences of editing DNA sequences? We’re launching the inaugural genomeHack to bring together innovative thinkers — self-hackers, geneticists, Big Data researchers, and data visualization experts — to give this new technology a test drive.

(Presented at Datalore Hack MIT Center for Civic Media, Sunday, January 25)


Less Than Human

This film is the story of modern-day slavery, and how globalised markets are fueling human rights abuses not seen since the 19th century days of chattel slaves. A partially reconstructed animated documentary and interactive virtual reality (VR) computer game. Globalization drives modern-day slavery; a migrant to Thailand is trafficked and sold to the sea as a slave. This groundbreaking and immersive, interactive journey is at the crossroads of storytelling, journalism and the mechanics of experimental games.

Writer & Director: Chris Kelly
Producer: Debra Anderson
A Little Ease Films LTD / Zanzibar Films Production / Culture Shock LLC
Email debra [a] for further information.

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Hugh McGrory: An Emphormatic Approach to Employment

By Hugh McGrory, Chief Innovation Officer, CultureShock
Comment from i4j DC

Current strategies and processes around employment (and education) are heavily skewed in favor of logical, mathematical and linguistic capabilities to the detriment of other awarenesses: musical/rhythmic, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic. Whether we see these as distinct types of intelligence or as abilities and aptitudes that constitute subsets of general intelligence is not of vital importance. The fact is that different people have different learning styles and that different jobs value certain qualities more than others.

The problem with a purely Informatics approach is that it places emphasis on things that machines are already better at than humans while at the same time ignoring the full complexity of human ability. A key element of this complexity is Empathy. Empathy is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. Machines and algorithms are very bad at understanding this. That is because of how we have constructed them to date; it’s easier to build a computer program for concrete tasks like data analysis than to write code for abstract sentiments like compassion. Read more.

Classic Specs Profiles Chief Innovation Officer Hugh McGrory

Classic Specs – a Brooklyn born company (also our neighbors on North 3rd and Wythe Ave in Williamsburg) committed to creating beautiful, affordable eyewear, interviewed Hugh McGrory, Chief Innovation Officer, Culture Shock, for their Classic Stories: An Exploraton of Creativity series. An exploration of the lives of creative and passionate artist, makers, thinkers and entreprenuerial customers that make up the Classic Specs community.

Hugh shares his perspective on Innovation, future technologies and developing projects like Oculus Rift and how he’s helping to look at problems in a new way and drive innovation. Read his story here.


Culture Shock Invited to i4JDC Innovation for Jobs Summit

Culture Shock has been invited to attend i4JDC the Innovation for Jobs Summit, “How To Disrupt Unemployment” in Washington DC on October 13-14 at the National Academy of Sciences. This invitation-only Summit is hosted by Vint Cerf (VP Google) recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet” and David Nordfors (President and co-founder of IIIJ), previously co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Innovation and Communication at Stanford University 2004-2011. The i4j Summit brings leaders from policy, business, education, arts and media, mixing expertise in innovation, jobs and education. Read some provocative thoughts on the topic here.

New Innovation Lab Launch: The PeaceTechLab

We are pleased to announce the formal launch of the Peacebuilding and Technology Laboratory (PeaceTechLab), a laboratory that will explore how technology can be used to enhance peacebuilding. PeaceTechLab is the first in a series of new Culture Shock Innovation Lab inititaives.

On September 19 The International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, in partnership with New York based Culture Shock, The Nerve Centre in Derry, The Young Foundation, The Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies in the Basque Country and Scensei in Washington, launched the Peacebuilding and Technology Laboratory (The PeaceTechLab).

The main goal of the laboratory is to explore how technology can be used to enhance the peacebuilding. Technology has also been used for conflict, but how could we use it to drive peace? INCORE, Culture Shock and the local and global partners of this project will look at the problem of peace, find answers to this issue and see how media can positively impact the field of conflict resolution. The international program, conceived by Culture Shock in partnership with INCORE, is designed to bring a community of peacebuilders together with creative technologists, storytellers, strategists and makers, to try to make a lasting and plausible social impact, by developing free, technology enabled tools for use in societies emerging from armed conflict.

We will look at Big Data, digital social networks, digital monitoring, computer gaming, archiving, storytelling, peace education and campaigning as powerful transformation tools in the areas of conflict.  The formal launch event of the PeaceTechLab was presented by CultureTech Festival in Derry, N. Ireland and the lab will be based in the MIT FabLab at the Nerve Centre.  The first meeting of creatives and peacebuilders is scheduled for December 4-5, 2014.



Culture Shock Invited as Guest Speakers at Hunter College

Culture Shock CEO Debra Anderson and Chief Innovation Officer Hugh McGrory have been invited to be guest speakers at Hunter College this fall to present a module for Visual Arts and Sciences: Understanding Creativity. We will present on data visualization, art, science and the tools and methodologies that have shaped the disciplines. The course will offer students an overview of psychological, sociological and neurological underpinnings to creative output and interpretations.

PeaceTechLab to Launch at CultureTech 2014

We are just a couple of weeks away from the formal launch of our newest innovation lab initiative: the Peacebuilding and Technology Laboratory (The PeaceTechLab) which will be based in the FabLab at the Nerve Centre, based in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, in partnership with The Nerve Centre in Derry, The Young Foundation, The Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies in the Basque Country, New York based Culture Shock, and Scensei in Washington invite you to explore with us how technology and new media can be used to enhance peacebuilding practice.

. September 19 2014, 14:00 15:00. RSVP required.

Explore the full CultureTech 2014 Festival program:

A Virtual Reality Experience Gave Me Synesthesia

Genuinely new experiences are rare; even new works of art, intentionally or otherwise, reference past artistic creations. But when I entered the latest version of SoundSelf, Robin Arnott’s multisensory Oculus Rift experience, which fuses sound, vision, and vibration into one sublime biofeedback loop, I had to discard everything I’d seen before to describe what I’d experienced. The closest comparison could be a combination of six hours spent in an isolation chamber, a visit to La Monte Young’s Dream House, and an eye-straining optical illusion— as far as personal experiences go, the term sui generis doesn’t even cut it.

As Arnott lowered the new Oculus Rift onto my head, fixed headphones onto my ears, attached two microphones around my voice box, then positioned my back against a flat, soft subwoofer, I didn’t know what to expect. This wasn’t helped by the facts that SoundSelf began with a black void, and that the ambient sounds of the room I was in that could barely be heard through the headphones.

Arnott told me to hum monotones and hold them until I wanted to try out some other notes. If I modulated my voice too much, he cautioned, the experience wouldn’t work as well. So, I hummed— and suddenly, a brand new, fifteen-minute cavalcade of kaleidoscopic, geometric shapes and colors burst and drifted into my field of vision, merging with my voice, and the vibrations coming out of the subwoofer. Read More

The Creators Project Features Clouds in Cloudless Skies

Dive Into The Clouds In This Code-Generated Music Video

By Emerson Rosenthal — Jul 29 2014

For anyone who’s ever stared at the “Getting Started” tutorials on, the infinite, procedurally-generated possibilities of programming present themselves in the text carat’s rhythmic pulse in the very first command line. The difficulty is in the details; every bit as challenging to master as any foreign language, the nuances of programming come not from the explicitly intended definitions and uses of each code element available in the Processing Reference, but from the ways in which the programmer can pry open the ellipses of possibility and meaning in order to let the language bear forth its own beauty.

Every bit as expansive and open to possibility as the title of the track itself, Prix Ars Electronica winner and Culture Shock Interactive Director Glenn Marshall’s new video for Hello Moth’s “Clouds in Cloudless Skies” is a boundless, four-and-a-half minute ode to the infinitude of all things procedurally-generated. Entirely created in Processing, this one is a swan-dive into a sprawling visual soundscape, materialized without the use of video camera technology. To honor the exclusive premiere of the music video (above), and in anticipation of a Culture Shock NY’s 7 year anniversary event at LA SALA on August 7, which features Hello Moth’s New York debut, the live premiere of “Clouds in Cloudless Skies,” a playable exhibition of the new virtual reality gaming experience, SoundSelf, and a DJ set by Leisure Cruise, we spoke to both artists about their new work: Read more

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