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Virtual reality and augmented reality gets exposure at Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Institute, the body responsible for coordinating the annual Sundance Film Festival made an announcement regarding an Arts & Culture District partnership initiative with the Kimball Art Center. The program will be carried out in Park City, Utah, the hosting city of the Festival. An architect for the Sundance HQ is yet to be chosen. BIG has been chosen by Kimball as its new museum designer. The program will prepare the festival floor for receiving the latest group of architecture-related movies.  

An attendee wears an Oculus VR Inc. Rift virtual reality (VR) headset while watching a film at a festival. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

Among the featured movies at the festival, is a short-length documentary named ‘It’s Going to be Beautiful’. Directed by John Henry Theisen and Luis Gutierrez Arias, the documentary focuses on the US-Mexico border.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco, a movie by Joe Talbot, showcases a youth’s dedicated efforts to preserve a broken down Victorian houses which his family had lost. The property, obtained by the family, has stained windows, wooden passageways, a witch’s hat, and an organ. The movie explores different aspects including artistic expression, the identity of black males and gentrification.

The Sound of Silence by director Michael Tyburski features Peter Sarsgaard as the “house tuner”. The character portrayed by Sarsgaard aims to address the issues of New York City residents by studying their odd domestic sounds. He is able to point out which notes the sounds are in and rectify ones that are not in sync. The story follows Sarsgaard’s character’s idea being commercialised without his consent by a corporation, who goes on to sell virtual home inspections to residents on the New York City streets.

Velvet Buzzsaw by Dan Gilroy, is an apt representation of the art world, features many famous Hollywood actors. Jake Gyllenhaal plays an art critic, Toni Collette is a curator, John Malkovich plays an artist, and Rene Russo portrays a gallerist. The characters are shown in the backdrop of their residences and workplaces, some of which include venues like the Diller Scofidio + Renfro Broad Museum, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall by Gehry.

New Frontier, the venue’s section dedicated to media artforms, exhibited artworks based on virtual reality and augmented reality. Many of these artworks dealt with themes relating to community and race.

THE DIAL by Peter Flaherty, Trey Gilmore, and Jesse Garrison, is an AR artwork, focused on the epicentre of a murder mystery. Travelling While Black, an AR artwork by Paul Raphaël, Roger Ross Williams, and Félix Lajeunesse, focuses on the 20th century African- American guide called the Green Book.

The Dial

Marshall from Detroit is a 360-degree VR documentary created by Caleb Slain, Paul Raphaël, and Félix Lajeunesse. It shows Detroit musician Eminem in conversation with Sway Calloway and contains many vivid visuals of local attractions, including an abandoned building where hip hop battles took place, a church, and a skyscraper.

A virtual reality short feature named Kaiju Confidential shows a battle between two monsters with the aim of destroying Japanese cities.

Several other immersive audio-visual artworks will be showcased at the Festival.

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