Virtual Reality (VR) The Best So Far

VR: The Best So Far

JAC meeting room / May 19, 20, 21 / free admission / all welcome

We are delighted to present these Virtual Reality (VR) films as examples of some of the best made so far in this exciting genre. Come along to the JAC and try out this new cinematic experience!

“These four works represent a broad overview of the power of virtual reality as an emerging narrative form. From an in-your-face documentary about climbing Mount Everest, to a ‘virtual oratorio’ that mourns the world’s lost languages, each experience uses the specific strengths of the format—three-dimensional imagery and user interactivity—to share stories and worlds beyond the scope of any other medium” – James Pallot, Curator.

Notes on Blindness

Arnaud Colinart, Amaury La Burthe, Peter Middleton, James Spinney

30 mins / 2016 / France

This beautifully crafted piece piece is based on cassette tape recordings made by theologian John Hull during the course of losing his sight in the early 1980s. VR is brilliantly used to show how other senses, especially sound, become more dominant as the writer’s vision fades. Notes on Blindness incorporates 360° imagery, spatialized audio, and 3D animations; interactive elements allow viewers to move the story forward, and trigger specific effects, by using a hand controller or simply directing their gaze at certain objects.

Everest VR: Journey to the Top of the World

Jonathan Griffith / 15 mins / 2020 / USA

In 2018, filmmaker Jon Griffith and Sherpa Tenji attempted a historic ascent of Everest to honor the memory of Ueli Steck, a renowned climber who had died the year before while trying to reach the summit without using supplemental oxygen. This documentary account of the climb features visceral 360° footage and evocative time-lapse sequences, giving viewers the sensation that they are right alongside the climbers. Everest VR has been the best-selling non-gaming title in the Meta Quest store since its release in 2020, and has been remastered by Jon Griffith in 8K exclusively for the 13th Parish Festival.

Last Whispers

Lena Herzog / 30 mins / 2019 / USA

A memorial to the thousands of languages the world has lost over the last few decades, Last Whispers is also a rallying cry in support of the movement to preserve our linguistic diversity. Made by artist and photographer Lena Herzog in collaboration with the SOAS World Languages Institute, the piece immerses viewers in a gorgeously rendered, ghostly universe where fragments of lost tongues are whispered, murmured, recited, and sung in a “virtual oratorio” that also features processed natural sounds—including sonic renderings of the gravitational waves produced by dying stars.Last Whispers is now touring globally in conjunction with the UNESCO decree naming 2022-2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages


May Abdalla, Barry Gene Murphy / 25 mins / 2019 / USA

Goliath deploys bold graphics and video game-play to tell the true story of a man diagnosed with schizophrenia. The title character works through his condition by becoming involved in the online gaming community, where he finds acceptance and support. VR is used to question the relationship between the “real” world and our perceptions of it, and encourages empathy and mutual understanding: “All realities are imagined, but the ones we share, endure.” Narrated by Tilda Swinton, the piece features several highly inventive uses of the VR hand controllers, including emulations of classic video gameplay.

With thanks to Jersey Gaming Hub.