Queerskins: ARK UPDATE

We are so pleased that ARK, the second episode in the Queerskins VR drama been chosen for The Tribeca Film Festival 2020. We hope to be able to share it with you soon.

Reading a diary left behind by her son, lost to AIDS, a devout Catholic mother living in rural Missouri finds away to transcend her self and her grief by imagining him alive and in love. Harnessing Intel’s 3D volumetric video technology, Wwise interactive audio software and spatial sound, Ark allows you to co-create the story through your body position and movements. In the first scene, you find yourself in a dimly lit attic. Here, we purposefully limit your agency with 360 video. A middle aged woman lumbers upstairs, carrying a cardboard box. She removes objects from it including the diary, which she begins to read. Entering her imagination, you suddenly gain freedom to move. How close you position yourself relative to the lovers determines how much of their intimate conversation you hear. With the last line, “touch me,” the two begin a dance choreographed by Brandon Powers (with beautiful score created for this piece by noted video game composer Wilbert Roget, II.) This transitions into a cathedral-like space. Here, your own body projects a colored light onto the dancers making them visible even in darkness. The light is most intense when your arms are abducted in a gesture of openness and vulnerability. The experience of the dance, choreographed in segments and randomized, is co-created by you. Depending on where you move in the space, you will trigger audio fragments of the mother reading the diary entry which inspired that segment of choreography. In one segment, if you move within a meter of the men, their movements slow and the sounds of their breathing override the score. At the end, the lovers fade. Turning towards the sound of pages turning, you see the mother reading the diary, and are gaze triggered back to the attic. You have lost your agency, but the room is different. Time has passed. The space is suffused with golden light and the sounds of a summer evening. Rising from her reverie, Mary-Helen catches sight of herself in a mirror. Touching her face and chest, she takes off her dress and contemplates herself in her slip. The slamming of a screen door makes her body tense, she reaches for her clothing, then decides against it and walks downstairs as she is.

 

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