Skywalker Sound Will Do Audio Design for Queerskins: a love story

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.

Queerskins: a love story updates–I’m sorry Oscar

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. queerskins screenshot

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.

Missouri Here We Come

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.  missouri-river-valley-steve-karol

VR MX Fest photos and recap

Cyril and I went to give a workshop on Intro to Storytelling in VR and I gave a keynote about that based on our experience with Atomic Vacation. Both went really well. Our hosts were amazingly gracious and the creative energy was magic. Here are some shots of the workshop, venue, and afterparty. The students were so engaged. Can’t wait to see what VR experiences start coming out of Mexico! Also, yes, that’s me with a virtual man at the Post office in Mexico City. I make friends wherever I go.

Revisiting Reconstructing Mayakovsky

Almost nine years old now and still going strong. Reconstructing Mayakovsky has been written about and taught on the university level as an example of experimental literature and narrative game.  Check it out if you haven’t yet–like all our stuff it is free!

Mechanism b which you can play with on the site

is a seriously playful investigation of the power of language. It is concrete poetry for the Twitter age–the novel in ten words–lovingly picked by me for their sound, meaning or remix potential then randomly chosen from that list of 500 or so words by the computer. In the parenthesis you see the number of times the word appears in the “novel.” Clicking on the word brings you into one of the chapters where it is found. The beauty and surprise of these poems comes from the peculiar combination of my own desires and the computer algorithm (a process which has taken over the entirety of writing Atomic Vacation)
SUCK PEACOCK and MUNIFICENT BITCH are the luck of the draw!