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23° & RAINY ON FRIDAY 23 FEBRUARY IN BRISBANE
By Sarah Ward
September 09, 2017
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Melbourne's ACMI to Open Permanent Virtual Reality Lounge

The dedicated space will showcase a rotating array of VR works.
By Sarah Ward
September 09, 2017
  shares

If the Venice Film Festival can dedicate an entire island to virtual reality, and Brisbane can host its own VR festival, then Melbourne's year-round cinema hub can make the interactive technology a permanent part of its collection. As well as launching a new limited-offering VR commission, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is adding a VR Lounge to its screen-filled spaces.

Come September 23, ACMI will not only say hello to Prehistoric VR, a free two-week step back in time, but will also ask visitors to get comfy in their newest addition. The former, called the first 360-degree VR puppetry experience of its kind, comes from performing arts company Erth Visual & Physical Inc and award-winning visual artist and filmmaker Samantha Lang, while the latter will showcase a rotating array of VR works.

The third ACMI commission that has asked established performing artists to turn a live stage work into realistic 360-degree virtual reality, where Prehistoric VR is headed isn't a surprise — when it comes to interacting with creatures that no longer roam the earth, life finds a way. Until October 8, the immersive experience dives onto the ocean floor, and back 200 million years, to encounter the aquatic critters from the Ediacaran to the Cretaceous periods.

On the permanent front, ACMI's new ongoing VR Lounge will form part of its free Screen Worlds exhibition, kicking off with mystical fairy tale The Turning Forest. Created by Melbourne-based VR company VRTOV, who also have space at ACMI's co-working space ACMI X, it premiered to rave reviews at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, even earning comparisons to The NeverEnding Story.

ACMI's commitment to virtual reality isn't new, with the centre premiering the spooky Ghost, Toast and the Things Unsaid and immersive dance experience Stuck in the Middle With You in 2016. As ACMI Director and CEO, Katrina Sedgwick explains, "as the national museum for film, TV, games digital culture and art, ACMI is fascinated by the rapid evolution of VR and the new ways practitioners are engaging audiences through this platform."

Image: Renee Stamatis Photography.

Published on September 09, 2017 by Sarah Ward

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