Platform Collaboration, Creativity and Determinism in Virtual Reality (VR): An artist paper the making of The Key To Time, a work for VR, domes and CAVEs.

Abstract (in English): 

Addressing conference themes of platform utopias, determinisms, identities, collaborations and modes, this conversational presentation discusses ways that concepts of time, space and narrative are expanded in The Key To Time The Key To Time is a surreal and lyrical work for immersive, cinematic art experiences such as domes and 360 degree cinemas as well as for individual viewing on head-mounted virtual reality devices. Bridging 1920's silent film and virtual reality, the surface story draws viewers into a playful exploration of genre, identity and desire. In doing so, the work unravels narrative underpinnings of myths, genres, and technological constructs of time.

The Key To Time is created by media artist/filmmaker Roderick Coover (FR/US) and composer Krzysztof Wołek (PL) as part of a program designed to build cross-cultural, composer-artist collaborations. The dreamlike story follows a scientist who is trapped in the future due to a time-travel experiment gone wrong. His only hope to escape his predicament is to travel through dreams. His dreams, however, are troubled by anxieties, fears and anger. As the scientist travels through time, aesthetics change from those of silent film of the early 20th century to those of VR and a future cinema. There is also slippage between these times, with figures from memories walking into color settings as black and white figures or cartoon ones, and visual references draw upon early cinematic works like Louis Lumiere's Arrival of a Train at Ciotat (1895) and Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927).

Through montage and collage, a mix color and black and white images, animation, intertitles, and sudden changes in dimension and perspective, The Key To Time toys with conventions and expectations. Song and dialog combine with layered and collaged imagery filmed in greenbox studio settings and natural settings. As with works like Guy Maddin's The Forbidden Room (2015) and David Blair's Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees (1991), this experimental artwork plays with the ways differing visual technologies shape consciousness, language and narrative forms.

Whereas in many films, sound composition comes after the film is written, shot and edited, in this case the music was part of the process of invention rather than an afterthought done only in post-production. Five songs were at the center of design. The songs hold essential roles in the movement of the story, which is driven my emotional tensions and unseen forces rather than rational thought. Second, we decided to record the script in advance of shooting the film. This decision enhanced a creative freedom and allowed for lots of play between dialog, images and sounds. The result disconnect between voice and image is evocative of early film and radio drama, and the approach is also similar to a workflow frequently used in animation; in this way too, the platform stimulated news ways of thinking about the collaboration and the creative process.

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Record posted by: 
Milosz Waskiewicz