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The artists, working in virtual reality and other new media, will take part in a weeklong lab, running May 19-24 at Robert Redford's Sundance resort in Provo Canyon. They will meet with creative advisers including artists, writers, filmmakers and tech experts and take part in an industry day to discuss ways to make their projects financially viable.
In a statement, Michelle Satter, founding director of Sundance's Feature Film Program, said, "the massive Virtual Reality revolution now underway signals a broader shift towards increasingly immersive storytelling forms. Our New Frontier Story Lab positions artists at the forefront of this technological evolution and allows their new stories and ideas to lead us into the future."
Here are the six New Frontier Lab projects, with synopses provided by the Sundance Institute:
• "Aria End," by Peter Burr and Porpentine Charity Heartscape, "a science fiction video game and installation about Aria, a trans woman with cyborg intestines who works in a subterranean mega-ruin the site of a bizarre disaster that changes all who are exposed to it. By inhabiting a series of underground base camps and modifying a network powered by intestinal flora, the player comes to identify with the space through the act of maintaining virtual architecture." Burr is an artist specializing in animation and performance, formerly under the alias "Hooliganship"; Heartscape is a new media artist, writer, game designer, and "trash woman" credited with influencing the contemporary hypertext renaissance, and popularizing the accessible text art software called Twine.
• "The Art of Dying Young," by Shawn Peters and Barry Cole, "a film installation and new media bike tour that examines the lives, local histories and place-making initiatives of the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford Stuyvesant and South Williamsburg told through the lives of two young men who have been memorialized through murals." Peters has shot music videos for the likes of Esperanza Saulding and Michelle Williams, and worked on shorts and features that have premiered at many film festivals; Cole is a Grammy-nominated music supervisor, and produced the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winner "Alive Inside."
• "Happy," by Josephine Decker and Jess Engel: "When Madeleine shows up for Kazie's birthday, the other guests and she discover Kazie curled up, half-dressed on the shower floor. So why is everyone looking at Madeleine? 'Happy,' a live-action virtual reality exploration, takes us into the architecture of mental illness, where the most unreliable narrator might be … yourself." Decker directed "Butter on the Latch" and "Thou Wast Mild and Lovely," and is working with the Museum of the City of New York on their Future of the City Labl; Engel is a VR producer at Virtualize, where she produces both branded and original VR content, which made the immersive VR project "Giant" that was featured at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
• "Hue," by Nicole McDonald and Rob Auten: "For Hue, life has lost its color. What once was bright and bawdy is now pasty and pallid. With the help of your hands and your heart, only you can help Hue find his formerly full spectrum. (A haptic VR interactive tale.)" McDonald is a multi-disciplined creative lead with over 20 years of experience in games, traditional advertising, and interactive experiences; Auten is co-founder of Hexagram, a creator of backend technology for immersive experiences, and served as lead writer on such gaming franchises as "Gears of War" and "Battlefield."
• "The Passengers," by yako (Jean-Christophe Yacono), Ziad Touma and Nicolas Peufaillit: "Take a seat among 'The Passengers,' an immersive virtual reality fictional series set from the different point of views of strangers on a train, as you enter their subconscious to journey beyond the image they project." The artist yako creates interactive experiences on the web, mobile or VR devices, art performances and installations, and is founder of the studio decod.ca; Touma recently created the interactive series "The Judas"; and Peufaillit was a co-writer on the 2009 Palme D'Or winner "A Prophet," and a writer on the TV series "The Returned."
• "Seeing-I," by Mark Farid, John Ingle and Nimrod Vardi: "For 24 hours a day, for 28 days, artist Mark Farid will wear a virtual reality headset through which he will experience life through another person's eyes and ears." Fardi is a multimedia conceptual artist who investigates the perceived autonomy of the individual; Ingle is a director-cinematographer whose work challenges the audience's morality and ethical standpoint; and Vardi is the director and curator of arebyte, a gallery named as one of London's most experimental spaces, and Arbeit Project, a co-working space located across London.