The Centers for Disease Control can’t write these words anymore. The White House webpage on National AIDS policy is literally blank. Donald Trump just fired the rest of the AIDS Advisory Council by Fedex. Queerskins is a project especially needed NOW.
Thanks to our incredible supporters–we successfully funded our Kickstarter campaign. Special thanks to Chris Vroom (Collector IQ), Ed and Ilene Vroom, Piri L. Welsch and Karen Olson, Dr. Yael Halaas and especially artist T-mo Bauer for their generosity. Check out the short video to get a sense of what Queerskins: a love story for VR is all about.
This is not a partisan political work, but through story and technology, it puts visitors in the position of experiencing the intimate interior worlds of others. You aren’t in the driver’s seat, because, you know, as in life, as in politics, it’s still the dad who drives. Death is final. You can’t change that. The material reality that LGBTQI people experience every day is not something you can wish away. But, you can change your own mind, your own way of accepting and supporting others within or outside your community. You can expand your conception of who is worthy of love and forgiveness and respect. This work allows YOU to create the main character. Who was he, what was his life? Was he worthy? Maybe you will hate that he is religious or maybe you will hate that he has sex with men, wherever you come from, you will construct him a different way. As a woman, trained as a physician specializing an HIV who works in one of the most notorious jails in the U.S. (Szilak) and a gay man (Tsiboulski), we have our own answers, just as you will have yours. There is no judgement right or wrong. Our hope is that, in constructing the story, you’ll learn something important about yourself and your limits. It’s a gift to understand this. Because, only in seeing it, can real change happen.
Please support this groundbreaking interactive LGBTQ centered drama that combines cutting-edge tech with intimate, lyrical storytelling.
We are brave. We take risks. We break rules. We do not take “no” for an answer. We will go to the ends of the Earth for our projects. We have Skyped with a Japanese designer of androids at 2AM, we have toured North Korea, we have spent days driving around rural Missouri eating fried food and shooting 360º video, we have learned foreign languages.
When it comes to trying to make people give us money, we are not the hustlers we wish we were. Getting grants from Sundance Institute and Tribeca Film Institute has been like finding the Wonka golden ticket. It shouldn’t be that way. But, that’s how the world works. That monetary support and the fact that it opens doors has made all the difference.
We are hopeful that through this Kickstarter campaign we will find people of all stripes and types who want to be part of this groundbreaking VR experience that celebrates love in its many forms. We need your money, but we also need your good will to spread the word and publicize Queerskins through your social networks. VR is not yet a widely adopted consumer platform. We know that our major outlets right now will be in film festivals and art exhibitions. Your promoting us helps not only with raising money but with the equally big challenge of getting it out there and seen.
Please. For the price a a couple skim latte’s you can have this…
#VR #Film #interactivecinema #tech #story
We finished shooting Queerskins: a love story episode 1 with Depthkit. The camera rushes are phenomenal. Hadley Boyd and Drew Moore gave their all for these performances. For updates–sign up for our newsletter at www.queerskins. com
Thanks again to Dawn Saito for excellent help with gesture and movement. Because visitors will mostly see the actors from behind at intimate distance, from the backseat of a photorealistic 1986 Cadillac Sedan Deville, actors had to learn to “act from the back” using posture, gesture, muscle tension. I watched the rehearsal tapes, chose gestures that actors actually “felt” and used that to begin choreographing them with Dawn.
We are really excited by this turn of events which came about by my posting a question about sound on the FB Spatial Audio Page. Thanks to Kevin Bolen at Skywalker whose smart, creative answer lead to further discussion and, in short order, a pitch. Sound is critical to this work, not only because of it is a spatial medium, but also because it activates visitor imagination and natural storytelling abilities in a way that visuals simply don’t. We were lucky to work with sound production mixer Laura Cunninham who suggested that we record Sebastian’s voice using binaural audio. It is amazing.
Below are two in-headset mock-ups created in between tech rehearsal and shoot. So many things could have gone wrong–but with the expert skill of Cory Allen, DP and lighting, and Supreet Mahanti, Depthkit director, we made it happen. The video, shot with Richard Hammer in MO, makes it feels like you are driving through a home video or rearscreen projection. It has a veneer of nostalgia and memory.
Devastating. Oscar Raby (VRTOV) once advised me that I shouldn’t flay the user alive when writing a script for #VR. I started out this move into VR by writing an experience based on the truckstop scene in Queerskins online. It’s basically the first time S. has sex. It was going to be abstract, but obvious and especially for heterosexual men intensely disturbing. All the gay men I shared the idea with loved it. Here is a still from the text online.
The picture of St. Theresa in Ecstasy by Bernini is my own, the video is from Derek Jarman’s erotic first feature Sebastiane (Jarman and Genet were muses for all of Queerskins). Eventually, I realized there was no way I would ever be able to make this, so the script morphed. But, it remains emotionally eviscerating. The proximity of the user to the drama between Sebastian’s parents in the front seat means they experience it viscerally. Rehearsals have been a kind of emotional bloodletting. So, I took Oscar’s advice, but then I kind of didn’t.
Can not thank the actors enough, Hadley Boyd as Mary-Helen and Drew Moore as Ed for their skill and commitment. They have given it their all and we end rehearsals hugging each other because it is so raw and painful. Cyril has put up a new page, so follow us there for more updates and information. Sorry, Oscar.
After giving a keynote on storytelling in VR, I was interviewed about Queerskins: a love story, episode 1, our haptic VR experience that will premiere at The Tribeca Film Festival in April 2018. Here I am talking about moving story from one medium (online) to another (VR) and why smell and taste are going to be big in VR.
Progress on Queerskins VR.
We are flying to Missouri with Richard Hammer to shoot 360 video landscapes. In all our work, we are interested in the tension between the very human desire for transcendence through storytelling, art making, love, religion and now, VR, and embodied, material, historical reality. That is why it is so critical to us to actually haul ourselves to the places we write about. look for a photo travel log here and on Instagram/Twitter @atomicvacation.