Caesar’s Army has taken the virtual concept a step further.
While many in Trinidad and Tobago have relied on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to stage virtual events, the popular party brand has created an actual virtual world where performances can be live streamed and patrons can participate.
Antillea, the virtual world from Caesar’s CreatiV, an offshoot of Caesar’s Army, allows you to create an avatar and participate in events in two sections of Antillea: Antillea East and Antillea West. The name is a play on the word Antilles and virtually unifies the Greater and Lesser Antilles to represent the Caribbean.
Antillea, designed by local company Dingole, is part of the AltSpaceVR platform from Microsoft. The platform allows you to hosts live events, meet-ups, classes and even bible study and gym classes in a virtual world.
Caesar’s CreatiV a bold step for Caesars Army principals
Innovation – once seen as a rare talent for a gifted few – has evolved into a vital survival tool, amid the devastating Covid-19 pandemic. With this in the back of their minds as well as their repertoire, the principals behind the immensely successful Caesar’s Army are making a big step with Caesar’s CreatiV.
The Caesar’s Army brand is synonymous with entertainment and euphoria, having made Caribbean carnival a hub for their colourful, large-scale events. The CreatiV side of the brand, however, will not necessarily be the ‘feathers and powder’ that their fanbase has become accustomed to, but will take on one vital component – the creation of experiences.
Speaking to Observer recently, co-owner and Chief Operations Officer of Caesar’s Army and CreatiV Hasani, Lesedi Wattley, was keen to explain that the move was not necessarily ‘closing the chapter’ on Carnival, but was instead a creative bit of diversification to adapt to the evolved marketplace.
Trinidad’s Caesar’s Army Antillea ‘is too real’ – Organisers say VR Technology is a way forward for carnival
As the popular adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and the Trinidad-based event production company Caesar’s Army has taken the time to lay the necessary building blocks as it creates and maintains an empire within the Caribbean carnival industry.
Now, as the popular season of fêtes is silenced, the company, through its Caesar Creativ is setting a new wave with its ‘too real’ virtual world branded as Antillea. The name signifies the Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles coming together as one said the group’s commander-in-chief, Jules Sobion. “The discussions surrounding the idea started as early as April, during the period when Jamaica’s carnival would have been held. It started off with a virtual island, with more of a beach setting, but the objective was to create something that we could build and build similar to the world,” he said.
“We outlined a number of avenues we were interested in exploring, but our number-one priority was that we all agreed and believed there was a need to adapt and transform what we are good at, which is the power of experience, and not only for events, but for the corporate marketplace for brand activations, and so on.”
A whole new world: building the virtual worlds of Antillea
How did Dingole get involved with Antillea?
Our company specialises in immersive technologies – technology used to create a virtual world for its users. Caesar’s Army approached us with an idea to create an immersive virtual experience that was distinct from current offerings in the market like cloud-based peer-to-peer chat services and live video-streaming services.
The team at Caesar’s Army might not have intended it, but the surreal transition from its tidy beige office on Gallus Street in Woodbrook into the rendered world of Antillea was everything that a sci-fi buff might have hoped for.
While Renata Sankar, the company’s events production manager, was adjusting the Oculus headset, everything shifted into a ghostly grey – the walls disappearing in a fog-like haze of noisy desaturated white, my hands hovering like ghostly appendages on an old black-and-white TV.
As it turns out, I was in a kind of digital netherworld, the wait screen before the Altspace virtual reality app loaded and before I appeared in the equally beige, but far more expansive digital lobby of the Hub – the Antillea project receiving area.
If you are carnival junkie or at least in the loop of the Carnival scene, then the name ‘Caesar’s Army’ is known to you. Known for their innovative and creative events like A.M. Bush, Bacchanal Road, Mai Tai and more, the creative event geniuses are up to something new.
I had the chance to sit down with their Commander in Chief, Jules about the past and what his vision is for the future. While Covid [the rona as we call it on the internet streets] has completely halted carnival events, Caesar’s Army was successfully able to pull off their event ‘Bacchanalia’ in January over a weekend.