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Sundance 2017 announces VR projects for New Frontier section

Top brass at the Park City jamboree announced on Thursday 20 virtual and augmented reality presentations and 11 installations.

The eleventh New Frontier programme includes storyworlds in Augmented Reality headsets, and a VR beauty salon producing neuroscience data.

Established VR artist Chris Milk and Aaron Kobli are behind Life Of Us, while immersive journalist Nonny de la Peña will premiere Out Of Exile: Daniel’s Story.

New Frontier will be staged at three Park City venues: Claim Jumper will host ten immersive installations; the VR Palace will feature 17 VR experiences alongside an additional installation; and the VR Bar will offer a line-up of mobile VR.

Three projects are part of the festival’s New Climate programme highlighting the environment and climate change.

Shari Frilot, Sundance Film Festival senior programmer and chief curator, New Frontier, said: “In an era that has recalibrated economies, redefined social realms and rewired the connection between the individual and the world, we must also reimagine what it is to be human.

“Through Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and various crafted immersive experiences, New Frontier this year challenges the very nature of perception and what we consider to be ‘reality.’”

The Sundance Film Festival is scheduled to run in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort from January 19-29.

All synopses provided by Sundance Film Festival. All works hail from the US unless stated otherwise.

FILMS AND PERFORMANCE

18 Black Girls / Boys Ages 1-18 Who Have Arrived At The Singularity And Are Thus Spiritual Machines: $X In An Edition Of $97 Quadrillion
Artist: Terence Nance
In this pair of performances, the artist Googles the phrase “one-year-old black boy” and “one-year-old black girl”, ascending in age to 18, allowing Google’s “popular searches” algorithm to populate what words will follow.

Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun?
Artist: Travis Wilkerson
This documentary murder mystery about the artist’s own family is a Southern Gothic torn apart and reassembled. Journeying straight into the black heart of a family and country, this multimedia performance explores a forgotten killing by the artist’s great- grandfather – a white Southern racist – of a black man in lower Alabama.
Cast: Travis Wilkerson.

World Without End (No Reported Incidents) (USA-UK)
Artist: Jem Cohen
Close observations around Southend-on-Sea, a small English town along the Thames estuary, reveal not only everyday streets, everyday birds, unflagging tides, mud and sky, but also prize-winning Indian curries, an encyclopaedic universe of hats and a nearly-lost world of proto-punk music.

INSTALLATIONS

A Se​lection Of Single-Channel Works By The Collective A Normal Working Day​ /(Switzerland )
A Normal Working Day is an artist collective consisting of the installation artist Zimoun and the choreographers and dancers Delgado Fuchs (Marco Delgado, Nadine Fuchs). Formed from the bodies of the two performers, these splendidly hypnotic projections are visual rabbit holes that shimmer with a presence that is larger than the sum of their parts.

Full Turn (Switzerland)
Artist: Benjamin Muzzin
This installation explores the notion of the third dimension with the desire to get out of the usual frame of a flat screen. The rotation of two tablets creates a three- dimensional, animated sequence that can be seen at 360 degrees, unlike any other type of display.

Heartcorps: Riders Of The Storyboard
Artist: dandypunk
Follow the story of Particle, a two-dimensional light being, as you walk through the pages of a giant, immersive comic book. Hand-drawn illustrations come to life around you using projection-mapping technology, while high-level Cirque du Soleil performers interact with animated characters in this “digital light poem.”
Cast: Ekenah Claudin, Elon Höglund, Youssef El Toufali, Jenni Gamas.

Heroes
Artist: Melissa Painter
The setting: An extravagant movie palace where silent films were shown. One dance – fiercely athletic and romantic – invites you inside. The story comes off the screen, putting you into your body and challenging you to move, navigate heroic shifts in perspective and scale and reach out to touch the experience.
Cast: Helios Dance Theater, Stephanie Maxim, Chris Stanley, Melissa Sandvig

Journey To The Center Of The Natural Machine
Daniella Segal
From stone axe to super-computer, our brain’s evolution has been guided by our tools, evolving it into the most complicated object in the known universe. Explore a holographic brain with a friend on the Meta 2 Augmented Reality Headset, and rebuild your relationship to the Natural Machine.

NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism
Artists: Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ashley Baccus-Clark, Ece Tankal, Nitzan Bartov
A three-part exploration of black women and the roles they play in technology, society and culture –  including speculative products, immersive experiences and neurocognitive impact research. Using fashion, cosmetics and the economy of beauty as entry points the project illuminates issues of privacy, transparency, identity and perception.

Pleasant Places (UK)
Artist: Davide Quayola
A return to, and a modern elaboration upon, Vincent Van Gogh’s Provence landscapes, this series of digital paintings interrogates and reframes concepts of representation and perception through image manipulation and augmented reality. Using bucolic and contemplative images, juxtaposed with raw data visualisation, this project suggests alternate modes of visual synthesis.

Synesthesia Suit: Rez Infinite And Crystal Vibes (Japan)
Artists: Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Ayahiko Sato, Kouta Minamizawa
Experience a multisensory climax with pounding beats and stringed instruments in acclaimed PlayStation 4/PS VR gaume Rez Infinite, or feel vibrations of candy-coloured psychedelic sound rippling through the Crystal Vibes universe. Audiovisual and vibrotactile textures combine to push the frontiers of technology-mediated sensory experience.

VIRTUAL REALITY

ASTEROIDS! (pictured)
Artist: Eric Darnell
From the director of Madagascar comes Baobab’s VR animation. Journey the cosmos aboard the spaceship of Mac and Cheez, an alien duo so mission-focused they forget what’s important in life. It’s up to you to show them what really matters.
Cast: Eric Darnell.

Chasing Coral: The VR Experience
Artist: Jeff Orlowski
Zackary Rago, a passionate scuba diver and researcher, documented the unprecedented 2016 coral bleaching event at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef with this exclusive underwater VR experience.
NEW CLIMATE

Chocolate
Artist: Tyler Hurd
This VR music video experience for the song “Chocolate” by Giraffage sets you in a cat-centric world of sparkling, colourful chrome with a tribe of people doing a ritualistic dance just for you, their robot god, to provide them with their precious resource, cute lil’ chrome kitties.

Dear Angelica
Artist: Saschka Unseld
This project is a journey through the magical and dreamlike ways we remember lost ones and, even though they are gone, what remains of the ones we loved.
Cast: Geena Davis, Mae Whitman.

Hue
Artist: Nicole McDonald
This is an immersive and visually driven interactive film about a man who has lost the ability to see colour. Participants reawaken the protagonist’s sense of wonder and imagination through empathetic action as colour and connection return to his worldview.
Cast: Benedikt Negro.

Life Of Us
Artists: Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin
A shared VR journey that tells the complete story of the evolution of life on EartExperience a shared VR journey telling the complete story of the evolution of life on Earth. From protozoa to post-human, you and your friends encounter first-hand the lives of the those who came before and after. This is a multi-person, participatory narrative about the life of us.

Melting Ice
Artist: Danfung Dennis
Al Gore takes viewers on a transcendent exploration into the devastating consequences of climate change on Greenland’s ice sheet. Stand under collapsing glaciers, next to raging rivers of ice melt and witness rising sea levels – all visceral warnings of our planet’s future.
Cast: Al Gore, Dr. Konrad Steffen.
NEW CLIMATE

Mindshow
Artists: Gil Baron, Jonnie Ross, Adam Levin
Make VR cartoons with your body and voice. Teleport into different characters, and act out all the parts. Create with your friends by passing scenes back and forth, then share your shows in VR and on social media.
Cast: Dana Gould.

Miyubi (Canada)
Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël
Experience love and obsolescence as a Japanese toy robot, gifted to a child in the home of a fractured family in 1982 suburban America.
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, P.J. Byrne, Emily Bergl, Owen Vaccaro, Richard Riehle, Ted Sutherland.

Orbital Vanitas (Australia)
Artist: Shaun Gladwell
This virtual reality experience presents a surreal sci-fi mystery and meditation on death. Initially placed in Earth’s orbit, participants soon notice an enigmatic form floating toward them. What takes place next makes perfect use of the VR format.

Out Of Exile: Daniel’s Story
Artist: Nonny de la Peña
In August 2014, Daniel Ashley Pierce’s family verbally and physically accosted him before kicking him out of the house because they disapproved of his sexuality. Built directly around audio Daniel recorded from that encounter, this project includes thoughts of hope and triumph from Daniel and three other LGBTQ youth.
Cast: Daniel Ashley Pierce, Kyle Wills, Julene Renee, Cyntia Domenzain, Angel VanStark, Phoebe VanCleefe.

The Sky Is A Gap
Artist: Rachel Rossin
The viewer is allowed to precisely move time with space by the use of a positionally-tracked headset. Existing in the physical and virtual realms, the installation depicts a pyroclastic explosion inspired by Zabriskie Point, where the scene’s progress is physically mapped to the participant’s forward and backward movement.

Through You
Artists: Saschka Unseld, Lily Baldwin
Dance is used to inhabit a common mortal story of love born, lived, lost, burned and seemingly gone forever – only to be found again.
Cast: Joanna Kotze, Amari Cheatom, Marni Thomas Wood.

Tree
Artists: Milica Zec, Winslow Porter
This virtual experience transforms you into a rainforest tree. With your arms as the branches and body as the trunk, you experience the tree’s growth from a seedling to its fullest form and witness its fate first-hand.
NEW CLIMATE

What If
Artist: Rosemarie Troche
​A conflicted Christian man carries out a mass shooting. In his past: a same-sex hookup and self-loathing. What if events had unfolded differently? What if his partner had convinced him to face himself? Could that simple act change the course of history?
Cast: Zachary Booth, Mitchell Winter.

Zero Days VR
Artists: Scatter, Yasmin Elayat, Elie Zananiri
A clandestine mission hatched by the US and Israel to sabotage an underground Iranian nuclear facility is told from the perspective of Stuxnet, the world’s first cyberweapon, and a key NSA informant. Audiences experience the high stakes of cyber warfare inside the invisible world of computer viruses.
Cast: Joanne Tucker, Eric Chien, Liam O’Murchu, Ralph Langner, Olli Heinonen, David Sanger.

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