The Tribeca Film Festival has already come and gone, and this year’s event boasted more than 20 celebrated immersive works.
Located in the heart of Manhattan’s popular Tribeca neighborhood, audiences flocked to the central festival center of Spring Studios. The significant efforts of TFF’s dedicated curators included the immersive showcase of mixed reality works, representing international, innovative and diverse creatives, who took their subject to new worlds and new media.
For VRScout, I explored the festival’s XR titles with a discerning eye, critically assessing which narratives best utilized new technologies to tell their story.
This 180 degrees VR film was one of the most compelling uses of the format I have experienced. Deeply disturbing and undeniably imaginative, I was the unpleasant witness to those who were left invisible to society; they forgot, they dismissed.
I was blown away by the somewhat simplistic storytelling – moving along what appeared to be a suspended dolly track, back and forth through shipping containers, each containing the lives and deaths of several characters, all of whom were literally or figuratively was trapped inside. one box after another until their stories begin to overlap.
This non-linear art film, reminiscent of other multi-universe narratives (Zbigniew Rybczyński’s “Tango” stands out), is painful and important. The use of 180-degree VR puts pressure on the viewer and takes the discomfort to a necessary next level.
LGBTQ + museum
This virtual rum, a touching dedication to identity and expression, was an act of love and consideration for the queer community. The experience offered a personal exploration of oneself by using objects (volumetrically captured and interactive) such as clothes, technologies and teddy bears, as well as art on the digital display.
Designed literally as a museum, the experience was easy to understand as I effectively “walked” room to room, reading every single art object label. Interestingly, the pervasive array of artifacts in the museum ranged from “art” as creation to meaningful objects associated with identity contextualization of life experiences. I was touched by the quality of personal transparency that each of the over 15 contributors shared about themselves to a global audience.
This joking, poetic ode to life itself was an opportunity to experience the perspective of air moving through a human body. In a glimpse of reality, this multi-viewer experience had added depth as those of us who participated simultaneously breathed in and out together in the same room as we quietly moved through a larger than life depiction of the oxygen flow through a single being .
Trance-inducing and eerie, Evolver is a dedication to the art of existing that changes in every moment and influences each other with the seemingly simplest action: breathing. This inspired work of art about the breathing cycle was best experienced through VR as a personal and emotional interaction that brings us back to ourselves.
Clever and stylized, Iago was an extended experience not to be missed. Polished and ready for consumption, it felt like a dollhouse-sized toy, carefully designed with full consideration for a 360-degree engagement.
The next generation music video tells the story of Shakespeare’s infamous villain, Iago, rethought as a woman. The exhibition offered an interesting and memorable physical scenography for the festival. Numerous platform pedestals with sculptural, small, flat worlds, transitioned to a well-closed extended experience with a complete production scaled down to size.
While the music itself was incredibly repetitive and I was disappointed with the lack of interaction, the animated assets and production value were well executed and brand new.
Described as “a surreal work of eco-fiction, an invitation to explore the human influence on the environment, and conversely an exploration of how the environment affects human evolution,” Platisapiens was a strange and supernatural journey to understand the potential consequences of merging with plastic waste.
Platisapiens took me on a strange and close experience into an abstract bodily landscape and then transported me to the beginning of evolution itself. The sci-fi-like narrative provides an outrageously honest take on how close we are to becoming full-time residents of the Plastosphere. The visual timeline was designed to be both historically accurate, as well as playful and engaging.
I found the use of VR compelling as I played the role of a spectator watching the skin breathe up and down in front of me; I touched plastic particles and then swam in the depths of the oceans with ancient, stylized aquatic life evolving and transforming; changes once again to exist in the human body, observing and touching plastic parts that bubble over organic veins – a completely unique perspective on an invasive, environmental PSA.
Feature Image Credit: Marshmallow Laser Feast