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 companyErth 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."