LAURENT CHRÉTIEN at “Flying Into The Metaverse Through Books & Culture” – Laval Virtual Europe 2022

LAURENT CHRÉTIEN video interview: “Laval Virtual Europe 2022”

Flying Into The Metaverse Through Books & Culture highlights, culture in its broadest term, involving all those people who are leaving important footprints in the XR industry.

Today we have guest at “Flying Into The Metaverse Through Books & Culture”, Laurent Chrétien, General Manager of Laval Virtual and organizer of Laval Virtual Europe 2022, which took place from 12th to 14th April 2022.

It was during the end of the third day that I managed to interview Laurent Chrétien, with whom I talked about numbers and attendances at Laval Virtual Europe 2022, about RectoVRso, future forecasts, and secrets about the next edition of Laval Virtual 2023, which will continue to take place in the city of Laval, even if the event grows in attendance and interest every year.
Laval Virtual is one of the most important events in Europe in the XR sector, which every year presents the contemporaneity and futuristic ideas of companies and startups, from Europe and from the rest of the world.

Espace Mayenne, Laval, France

LAVAL VIRTUAL EUROPE 2022

LAVAL VIRTUAL EUROPE 2022 is an event that ended since few weeks that be held in the city of Laval, Mayenne, in the Pays de la Loire (France), and that this year celebrated its 24th year of presence. The event was inaugurated by LAURENT CHRÉTIEN Director General of the Festival at the Espace Mayenne, in the early afternoon of Tuesday 12th April.

After 2020 lived completely virtual within the world of Laval Virtual World and 2021, which was struggling to return to normality, Laval Virtual 2022 was an event that shone in a particular light, thanks to a return to normality after two years of the pandemic.

A series of major inaugurations took place on the first day. Starting from the Opening of the Laval Virtual Europe 2022 event at the Espace Mayenne, the Inauguration of Recto VRso at the Chapelle Ambroise Paré (with an exhibition by the Italian Margherita Bergamo), the live broadcast of AWE Nite Florence and finally the engaging Laval Party at the Laval Virtual Center… it was a really good and busy day!

RectoVRso - Margherita Bergamo

During the second and third days, there were interesting conferences both in the presence and in the world of Laval Virtual World, (in virtual) with professionals in connection from the Italy, USA and from the rest of the world.
And in the second evening there were the Laval Awards, conducted by Benjamin De Wit, organizer of VR Days and Immersive Tech Week (Rotterdam).

Laval Awards - Benjamin De Wit

LAVAL (Mayenne – France)

Laval is a French commune of 54.020 inhabitants, the capital of the Mayenne department, in the Pays de la Loire region. Is a town located an hour away from Paris, where in the morning you are surrounded by a very dense fog, but when it vanishes, the surrounding landscape leaves you pleasantly surprised by the beauty of its colors.

Laval - France

At the end of the video interview with Laurent Chrétien, you will find the images of Laval and the images of many of the protagonists of LAVAL VIRTUAL EUROPE 2022.

LAURENT CHRÉTIEN video interview: “LAVAL VIRTUAL”

LAURENT CHRÉTIEN, is the General Manager of Laval Virtual with a demonstrated history of working in virtual reality and augmented reality events for services and industries. Skilled in Entrepreneurship, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Strategy, and Management. Strong sales professional graduated from ETSI Caminos Canales y Puertos.

Below you will find his video interview with a brief summary of what the Laval Virtual Europe 2022 event was:

These are the key points of the video interview:
0:00:00CECILIA LASCIALFARI Introduction
0:00:24 – Welcome from LAURENT CHRÉTIEN
0:00:29CECILIA LASCIALFARI question to LAURENT CHRÉTIEN: “The 24th edition of LAVAL VIRTUAL has almost ended and it was one of the events that most helped us get back into reality, within AWE 2021 and SXSW 2022, after two years of the pandemic. Can you give us a summary of how the event went this year, numbers, participation, etc?”
0:01:14LAURENT CHRÉTIEN answer
0:01:50CECILIA LASCIALFARI question to LAURENT CHRÉTIEN: “This year there were face-to-face conferences at Espace Mayenne in LAVAL and virtual conferences within LAVAL VIRTUAL WORLD. Do you think that in the near future we will find it easier and easier to combine virtual events with those in presence? And in what way?”
0:02:10LAURENT CHRÉTIEN answer
0:03:05CECILIA LASCIALFARI question to LAURENT CHRÉTIEN: “What awaits us for the 25th edition of LAVAL VIRTUAL 2023?”
0:03:11 LAURENT CHRÉTIEN answer
0:03:31CECILIA LASCIALFARI question to LAURENT CHRÉTIEN: “Will you always be able to organize it at LAVAL or is the event taking such a large international turn, with an ever-increasing number of attendees, that you will have to move from LAVAL?”
0:03:47 LAURENT CHRÉTIEN answer
0:04:02“Let’s begin the party!” Laval Virtual Party
0:04:33 LAURENT CHRÉTIEN answer
0:05:52CECILIA LASCIALFARI question to LAURENT CHRÉTIEN: “Should the RectoVRso be expanded and should it be in the same exhibition area of LAVAL Virtual Europe?”
0:06:01LAURENT CHRÉTIEN answer
0:07:33 CECILIA LASCIALFARI question to LAURENT CHRÉTIEN: “Tell me about your plans for the future… I want to know all the secrets you haven’t told anyone yet!”
0:07:43 LAURENT CHRÉTIEN answer
0:08:18“Thank you LAURENT CHRÉTIEN” by CECILIA LASCIALFARI
0:08:19“Thank you CECILIA LASCIALFARI” by LAURENT CHRÉTIEN
0:08:24CECILIA LASCIALFARI Presentation
0:08:44LAVAL VIRTUAL AWARDS
0:09:35 – Final Show by AKIHIKO SHIRAI
0:09:46 – Closing by LAURENT CHRÉTIEN

Protagonist of the photos that you find in the video:
0:10:00 – LANCE POWELL, MAUD CLAVIER, ANTONY VITILLO, HARRIET BARTLETT, CECILIA LASCIALFARI, CATHERINE D. HENRY
0:10:01 – LAURENT CHRÉTIEN
0:10:03 – CECILIA LASCIALFARI, ANTONY VITILLO
0:10:04 – BOB COONEY
0:10:06 – BENJAMIN DE WIT, MICHAEL BARNGROVER
0:10:07 – CECILIA LASCIALFARI, AKIHIKO SHIRAI, MARIANGELA MATAROZZO
0:10:09 – BENJAMIN DE WIT
0:10:10 – VALENTIN RÉGNIER
0:10:11 – ELOI GERARD, ANTONY VITILLO, MARIANGELA MATAROZZO
0:10:13 – LANCE POWELL, ISABELLA DE PEUTER-RUTTEN
0:10:15 – ISABELLA DE PEUTER-RUTTEN, CHARLES-HENRI MARRAUD DES GROTTE, MAUD CLAVIER, CATHERINE D. HENRY
0:10:18 – CECILIA LASCIALFARI, LAURENT CHRÉTIEN, ISABELLA DE PEUTER-RUTTEN
0:10:16 – CECILIA LASCIALFARI, ISABELLA DE PEUTER-RUTTEN
0:10:17 – LANCE POWELL, ISMAIL BURAK CENDIK, MICHAEL BARNGROVER, MAUD CLAVIER
0:10:19 – ISABELLA DE PEUTER-RUTTEN, FRANCOIS BOUILLE, NICOLAS PERRIER, LAURENT CHRÉTIEN
0:10:21 – CECILIA LASCIALFARI, GABRIELLA CHIHAN STANLEY
0:10:22 – GABRIELLA CHIHAN STANLEY, AXEL DIETRICH
0:10:25 – ANTONY VITILLO, MAUD CLAVIER, BOB COONEY, GABRIELLA CHIHAN STANLEY, AXEL DIETRICH
0:10:26 – LANCE POWELL, ISABELLA DE PEUTER-RUTTEN, MICHAEL BARNGROVER, CECILIA LASCIALFARI, ISMAIL BURAK CENDIK
0:10:27 – ANDREY LUNEV, WISE GUYS XR
0:10:29 – ANDREY LUNEV, WISE GUYS XR
0:10:30 – STARTUP
0:10:32 – KYLIE SAVAGE, ISABELLA DE PEUTER-RUTTEN, CECILIA ALSCIALFARI, BOB COONEY
0:10:33 – ISABELLA DE PEUTER-RUTTEN, GABRIELLA CHIHAN STANLEY, CATHERINE D. HENRY
0:10:34 – GABRIELLA CHIHAN STANLEY
0:10:36 – GUIDO GIOIOSO (Weart)
0:10:37 – CECILIA LASCIALFARI
0:10:38 – ANDREY LUNEV
0:10:41 – LAVAL VIRTUAL STAFF – LAVAL VIRTUAL AWARDS WINNER

EXPOSITION

The large exhibition part of Laval Virtual Europe 2022 this year presented many companies. We made a video passing through the stands of the expo section of the event, which you can see below:

Keynote introductive Laval Virtual 2022 – Laurent Chrétien

During the opening of Laval Virtual, Laurent Chrétien gave an interesting Opening Keynote, which you can read below:

Keynote introductive Laval Virtual 2022 – by Laurent Chrétien

Good afternoon and welcome to Laval!
I’m happy and honored to open the “Vision and Impact” conference cycle of this 24th edition of Laval Virtual!
Happy to see you again In Real Life after these two years of the Covid crisis which have deeply disturbed event organizers like us, but have also drastically accelerated the appetite for immersive technologies.
Honored to share with you my vision of the behaviors that we must adopt, at the time of the advent of the term “metaverse” so that our future becomes a positive evolution.
As we are between the two rounds of the presidential elections in France, I will start by doing a bit of politics and tell you about the impacts which seem to me the most important for our lives tomorrow:
First of all, I would like to express my most committed wishes for peace to return in Ukraine, and everywhere in the world where conflicts are raging.

You know, immersive technologies, and virtual worlds by opening up new territories, will shake up established governances, perhaps they will even have an influence on geopolitics, but they will also make it possible to invent new models… I believe it. It is up to us to make good use of immersive technologies, and to make the best possible design it, in a spirit of fraternity and not in a dynamic of high speculation… We can clearly see with the current wars where speculation on resources, especially energy, leads inevitably!

Secondly, I was thinking to myself: but how will our technologies serve the crucial cause of reducing our environmental impact on the planet?
The latest report from the IPCC (GIEC in french) says it again and again: we are walking with our eyes closed towards disaster. If my deep conviction is that our immersive technologies have positive impacts: less travels, less real estate… They also have negative impacts: more energy consumption, server farms… I have not yet seen a predictive model on this subject, but it would be wise to look into it and create it. We must all of us, in our slightest actions, in our decisions, take this into account. We have to work collectively so that what we produce today in the field of immersive technologies or what the future metaverse will be, could be carbon neutral, and promote uses with a strictly positive impact!

Thirdly, the complexity, and ultimately the creative synthesis that the convergence of technologies we are talking about allows, generates significant risks for our social organizations and even for our entire Humanity.
VR, AI, Blockchain, etc. are now mixed together and soon intricated. We see it in the very definition of what the metaverse will be and at the moment, in the semantic confusions of its emergence where everyone claims to be “building” the Metaverse. It is almost a battle between blockchain actors and virtual world actors.

This intricacy, this convergence makes understanding and access more and more difficult for many people. As a result, this complexity, real or apparent, will increase digital fractures, or even create a schism between anti and pro technologies. We should all, in my opinion, in our actions, our communications, work not to exclude, but to simplify access and uses!

Because the creative synthesis of technologies accelerates the general digital revolution, leading potentially with the metaverse, to a form of paroxysm, transformative of our lives, I speak of an anthropological revolution! The notions of identity, ubiquity, and even perhaps temporality will evolve, will be transformed; The functions of integration and cohesion in our societies are going to be impacted, and they already are. We have to act together: suppliers, users, and promoters of these technologies, we have to act together, ethically, so that this revolution is positive AND for the benefit of the greatest number, and as much as possible of all.

As we can see, during this health crisis, a shift has taken place. Immersive technologies that might still have seemed marginal two years ago, and some people even doubted their relevance, have become objects of increasing media coverage, and are increasingly attractive to investors. According to me, the speculative bubble in which immersive technologies, the blockchain, and the metaverse enter will explode within 3 to 5 years with the natural recomposition of the landscape of companies and the emergence in the wake of new champions… Let’s prepare us so that this recomposition is done in the direction and the spirit of the common good!

After Impacts, what if we were talking about vision now?

Well, there are many ways to approach this point! And I’m going to take an angle that will certainly be complemented by the other speakers in the cycle and throughout this week.

Semantics are important. People use the term “virtual” in many ways, which of course are not all the same. For example, is a meeting via Meet, Zoom, or Teams virtual or simply digital? Is an event via Imagina, Swapcard, or Bizzabo, digital or virtual? We would rather say digital and we are talking about virtual events only in the sense of the 250 events that we have already organized with our Komodal branch: in 3D virtual worlds, with avatars in real-time interaction. The Metaverse takes us from digital to virtual.

Philosophers who are interested in the term “virtual” help us to understand its meaning. And can help us understand in which direction the “virtual” can take us.

I briefly remind you of the allegory of the Cave, which you can discover in The Republic, by Plato, where the questioning of the notions of knowledge, of truth, is essential! For men who have always seen on the walls of their cave only shadows of objects, these shadows are reality. Whereas for those who know that they are only shadows, they are only an appearance, a potential reality, a virtual reality…

Starting from the etymology of the word “virtual”, there are two possible Latin sources: virtus and virtualis.

Let’s start with “virtus” which in Latin means strength, energy, and initial impulse. There is a very real action here, so the virtual is neither potential nor unreal! The virtual is in the order of reality. So, we all know it but it’s better to say it again, the virtual is not opposed to the real. Experiences, exchanges, emotions, learning, etc. that we do in VR are actually part of our memories in very real ways…

With the second Latin word, “virtualis” means force, and power and translates philosophically as: what is virtual is in potency and not in act… For example, the seed is a tree in potency, the tree is therefore virtually present in the seed! By pushing this reasoning, the virtual is therefore not opposed to the real, but rather to the actual…

Well, it is said! Doesn’t virtual reality aim to allow us to free ourselves from the present, to master the time? This time that slips by and escapes us, this time that we don’t have, the future that we don’t know how to predict! And, if what we are doing today – and which is already fantastic – thanks to VR, from digital twins to virtual worlds, including all the useful and practical uses in design, production, maintenance, training, marketing, etc was only a small first step… 

What if tomorrow, dreaming of infinite storage capacities and computing power, we could finally travel in time? Going back to change our choices, hearing the little voices we didn’t listen to… Projecting ourselves into a simulation of the future to validate our choices today… Living through avatars interposed in parallel worlds…

That’s it, I’ve turned crazy! But let’s admit that it seems plausible if not possible today! Let’s also admit that these are now recurring themes in science-fiction literature or films… and that most artists’ dreams have often come true one day!

But today! This opposition between virtual and actual poses a real anthropological question in the relationship of each of us to the rest of society, a question that digital technologies already pose. Our teenagers spend on average more than 4 hours a day in front of the screens, thus escaping from the present, from the current and we know, my friends, that VR is even more addictive…

Last year we organized and hosted at the opening of Laval Virtual the first National Conference on Ethics in Immersive Technologies. And one of the topics discussed was precisely the fact that we are living in a strange time where we have never been so connected with others and yet never so disconnected from the current, from the present moment, from shared joys, which is the very essence of our lives… So what can we say about the promises of the Metaverse… What balance will our children, and grandchildren be able to build between virtual reality and their actual reality? I do not have the answer to this question, however, what I am certain of, is that we must all, because we are aware, act with precaution and anticipation.

Thank you, and I wish you a great 24th edition of Laval Virtual!

Thanks to…

Thank you very much to Laurent Chrétien for the time dedicated to this video interview and to all the protagonists of the video, to all the staff of LAVAL VIRTUAL, and all people present during he event, without whom this experience would not have been so special!

LAURENT CHRÉTIEN at “Flying Into The Metaverse Through Books & Culture” – Laval Virtual Europe 2022
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