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Festival: VR Arles, a virtual & mixed-reality showcase

Text by CLOT Magazine

Returning for the fourth year, VR Arles Festival celebrates this innovative art form with a showcase of the best virtual reality films produced by directors and artists from all walks of life. It draws the audiences to experience the vast potential of this interactive medium.

In addition to the extensive VR exhibition and film screenings for the whole duration of the festival, it also offers a mixed-reality live show, Rencontres Du Virtuel – a day of conferences and talks featuring international artists and tech designers about VR production; Young Audience Program – VR-involving activities created specifically for children; and the VR Writing Residency where artists are invited to participate in workshops, coaching, and specialist training to advance their VR expertise and artistic practice. VR Arles Festival is part of Rencontres d’Arles – the globally acclaimed photography festival celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019.

Prizes are awarded by a multinational interdisciplinary panel led by the celebrated actress Charlotte Rampling in the following categories: Fiction, Documentary, Art and out-of-competition Special Presentation. Submissions in Fictions: Imagining the Real tell incredible stories of post-apocalyptic worlds, peculiar universes, whimsical creatures, ghosts and zombies.

By contrast, films in Versions: Narrating the Real recount various experiences of different kinds of people, from stories of people ascending from the edge of extinction using technology to accounts of immigration, racism and political struggle. Finally, the artists in Visions: Beyond the Real experiment with the immense possibilities of VR medium as an artform to create a diverse range of immersive, imaginative, and fantastical visuals, audio and narratives.

Artist Jakub Kudsk Steensen will be presenting RE-ANIMATED, an acclaimed and successful piece based on the last Kauai’O’o bird, whose 1987 death marked the extinction of its species. RE-ANIMATED meditates on our paradoxical techno-scientific trajectory. The virtual landscape is both an entrancing ecosystem and a biotechnological laboratory for a resurrected, monstrously-scaled bird.

VR Arles Festival runs from July 1 to August 25, 2019, in Arles, France.

(Media from VR Arles Festival)
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