Jake Lee-High (Panelist)

Jake Lee-High
Chief Executive Officer
Future Collosal

12:30 am to 1:30 am
Exploration Narrative: Agency and VR experience
VR/AR/MR effects on experience in theater, advertising and games


Jake Lee-High is an artist, creative technologist, and CEO of Future Colossal, an award winning innovation lab for experiential technologies in art and advertising.  Prior to receiving his Master’s in Art and Technology from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Jake ran an architectural consulting firm that designed retail and residential buildings throughout the western US.  During this time, he actively showed installation and sound art works at galleries and museums throughout the country.  His art has been featured in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Artillery Magazine, and Art in America.  Jake’s work creating massively multi-channel sound works lead him to learn electronics and programming to overcome the limitations of traditional sound systems.  In 2009, Jake closed his architectural consulting firm and moved to NYC to focus solely on commercializing his passion for creative technology and to develop new avenues for distributing his artwork outside of the traditional gallery/museum scene.

In 2012, after spending several years as the award winning Creative & Technical Director of out-of-home advertising agency Inwindow Outdoor, Jake founded Future Colossal.  His vision continues to shape Future Colossal’s trajectory through the innovation of new technologies and experiences for commercial and artistic works.  His work for clients such as BMW, Showtime, Jay Z, Disney, and Citi Bank have been featured in major publications including the Washington Post, Fast Company, Creativity, PSFK, and MediaPost.  Future Colossal’s projects have received prestigious awards from Cannes Lions, Clio, Andy, Adweek Project Isaac, the One Show, the Art Directors Club and more.

Reflective Essay:
Storytelling is an ever-evolving art form.  Today there are increasingly more tools for storytellers to immerse their audience into the narrative experience.  From the spoken word to immersive holographic mixed reality experiences, the art of storytelling is as important now as it was ever.

With a background in architecture, installation art, and hypnosis, my artwork has traditionally been void of a defined narrative.  These works create opportunities for user implied narratives, but do not confine the user to a restrictive storyline.  It is human nature to understand the world around us through our own narratives and these artworks develop opportunities for users to reflect upon and create their own narratives based on personal experiences.

I have long been obsessed with creating immersive experiences, whether this takes form as architectural abstractions that are physically walked through or VR experiences shared freely over the web.  Before consumer ready VR was a reality, I worked with CAVE VR systems and video game engines to create immersive user experiences, but found these systems to be graphically limiting at the time.  I took inspiration from my years of practicing hypnosis and began inducing users into lite hypnotic trances while projecting auditory, olfactory, and somatic (touch) stimulus onto them.  Using this sensory stimulus to spark memory and imagination, I took advantage of the user’s brain for visual processing and created highly immersive virtual experiences without the need of HMD’s and powerful computing.  Through these projects, I learned how to use sensory stimulus to profoundly transform the user’s perspective and understanding of an experience.  These works exemplified how misdirection could be used to control a user’s journey without them feeling a loss of control or personal choice.

Jump forward in time eight years to today. VR technology, graphic processing, computer vision, and sensing has advanced dramatically.  Now the experiences that I previously could only create in the imaginations of users are accessible through everyday consumer devices and able to be freely distributed throughout the world on the web.  While the technology has advanced, the challenges have remained the same.  As a creator, I desire to control the users experience without them perceiving my involvement, I want to enrich these experiences by allowing users to inject their own narratives, and I strive to transport users out of the everyday and into a shared imagination.

As CEO and Creative Director at Future Colossal, I utilize these immersive techniques to connect brands with consumers on a personal level and create long lasting memories that humanize the brand experience.  By creating opportunities for the user to inject their imaginations and personal narratives into the brand story, they gain a feeling of ownership over the brand that creates and strengthens brand loyalty.  From AR photo experiences to 4D physically immersive environments, this same philosophy applies with all our projects.

There are more mediums today for storytelling then have ever existed in the past, but the art form has stayed much the same.  Even as we explore new paradigms like generative narrative engines and artificial intelligence, storytelling remains as much about story listening and personal interpretation as it ever has.