Step back into lockdown at virtual reality festival

The immersive experience into the world of virtual reality

Photo credit: Chris Karaba

The days of lockdown may be behind us but a virtual reality film, part of a 10-day exhibition in Luxembourg, brings that reality back.

After entering the Virtual Reality Pavilion at Neimënster, I put on a headset and entered a neat and well-set room, where I was sitting alone.

I heard voices, all talking over each other – some discussing politics, others just a general conversation, which reminded me of everything I was hearing and reading at the start of the pandemic via the news and on social media. In a strange way, the voices, which were constantly with me through the journey created by directors Markiewicz and Piron, helped me accept this confinement and be creative with finding ways to make peace with it.

The objects in the room started falling to the ground, and I felt like my world was starting to collapse. The memories of being confined to one space came flooding back during this film, called Metamorphosis.

And, that is when the film took me out into the woods, seeming realistically similar to a forest that could be close to my neighborhood which I never bothered to step into in non-pandemic times. It reminded me of the time I suddenly took up a new activity – hiking or observing the nature around me.

Though as stated by the artists “it is broken visual consisting of various images coming together to give your journey a meaning”, which is what the viewer experiences through that journey into the unknown, which pushed us to compromise and be reflective.

The pavilion contains a selection of 10 immersive virtual reality works, some of which have been showcased at the world’s most eminent festivals, including The End of Night by David Adler and Glimpse by Benjamin Cleary and Michael O’Connor, which won awards at the Venice Biennale. The Book of Distance by Randall Okita and We are at Home by Michelle and Uri Kranot, were among the official selection of Tribeca Festival.

Along with the virtual reality projects, the pavilion also consists of a dedicated VR cinema space which screens a selection of award-winning 360° films, from revolving chairs.

At the end of the 10-day event, which starts on 3 March, viewers can rent VR headset for €20 for two to three days.

The Luxembourg City Film Festival has also appointed an international jury for a competition devoted to immersive works, which will award a prize of €4,000 to the best VR work.

View the VR projects’ trailers here. The pavilion is open until 13 March.


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