Transformed | Virtual reality outside the helmet

The immersive experience takes on another dimension in the OASIS Immersive Space Galleries, located in the Palais des Congrès. On the eve of its second anniversary, the Montreal venue is offering Transformedan exhibition of short reality works – about courage and sensitivity – that have been adapted for a walking tour, without headphones.

For this fourth exhibition presented since its opening in 2020, OASIS immersion offers a dive into the heart of human existence, its dramas and challenges, its beauty and sensitivity. From January 19, the public will be able to discover eight works of virtual reality, some of which have won international awards.

Lasting 80 minutes, the exhibition resides in the country’s three galleries, which, on this occasion, are sometimes devoted to the bright purpose of disaster, sometimes to overcoming territories or acceptance as a driving force for transformation. In addition to projecting the works out of the frame, in 360 degrees, the third gallery offers several touches of interactivity that unfold under the feet of visitors.

“We chose eight works that were strong in terms of the human message,” said Johnny Ranger, the exhibition’s co-creative director, during his media presentation on Monday. According to him, this is the first time that an immersive experience is built exclusively from works originally created for virtual reality.

Although it has become more democratic, there are still few who have been able to come into contact with the artistic works produced for this medium. By taking virtual reality out of the helmet, the OASIS diving team wants to make the experience accessible to as many people as possible.

Virtual reality is a more individual experience. We put on a helmet and are transposed into another universe, while diving we are in an ambulatory and collective space.

Johnny Ranger, co-creative director of the exhibition

Virtual reality has created a different way to tell a story, he added, creating an experience that pushes for empathy. This is what his team wanted to bet on by presenting visual and audio narrative works based on true stories. Three are in French, three in English with French translation, and two are without text.

IN residue (Aaron Bradbury), narrated by French actress Marion Cotillard, we hear Lisa Elin talking on the phone about the death of her boyfriend Erick. As the conversation progresses, pieces of the happy life they led together appear on the walls of the room. “Worrying is fear,” Lisa says, her voice enveloping the room. Mourning is the unknown, this time suspended between your weaker, more suicidal self and your stronger, brighter self. »

Goliath: Playing with reality (Barry Gene Murphy), which won the VR Grand Jury Prize in 78e edition of the Venice Film Festival, for its part, explores the limits of reality by immersing visitors into the mind of a schizophrenic man who has found acceptance in online games. This adapted version is narrated by Quebec actor Emmanuel Schwartz.

More figurative and meditative, Tokyo Light Odyssey (Nakazi Takuma, Moriwaki Daisuke and Kudo Kaoru) is one of the works where the transposition of the immersive experience of virtual reality is the most successful, the image movement and depth effect allows the spectators to forget the walls.

A technical and creative challenge

Adapting these virtual reality works, composed of spherical videos, for the cubic space of the OASIS immersion required “hundreds of hours of research, trial and error, testing and discussion”, pointed out Julie Castonguay, executive producer of OASIS immersion.

The adaptation of the works is the result of a collaboration between their creators and the team of this multimedia company. Image resolution, fluidity of movement as well as sound are among the elements that had to be reviewed. “The challenge is both technical and creative, because the two are interconnected,” noted OASIS Immersion co-founder Denys Lavigne, who says he hopes the exhibit can be presented elsewhere in the world. When you’re in the immersive world, the components are all interconnected: the visual elements, the narrative elements, the technical aspect of the files, the audio elements. »

Other works presented as part of Transformed They are In the morning you wake up (until the end of the world) on the false ballistic missile warning sent to Hawaii residents in 2018, DISHES on invisible slavery, Ferenj on identity and the intermingling of cultures, Notes on blindness in the diary of a professor who lost his sight and Conscious existence on the power of surprise.

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