Project Description

I met Chou Tung-yen founder of VM Studio / Very Theatre in Taipei summer 2023. Founded by theater and media artist Chou Tung-yen with the resource of it’s partner company- Very Mainstream Studio. Very Theatre takes new media as core and focuses on creating interdisciplinary works with strong emphasis of narrative and text which strive to envision new ways of seeing and performance experience.

After their participation in the Venice Film Festival, I facilitated a short residency for Very Theatre director Chou Tung-Yen and producer Sebox Hong from Monday 11 till Friday 15 September in Felix Meritis, Amsterdam. I invited professionals in the Netherlands so we could pitch and discuss collaborating, co-producing, presenting, and facilitating VR/AR/Immersive projects here in the Netherlands and Taiwan.

It resulted in the world premiere of Chou’s project Traversing in the Mist at IDFA DOC:lab 2023 and I continue to work with them as their international consultant and possible future producer on their projects.

Traversing the Mist:

In Traversing the Mist visitors, embodying a Taiwanese young man, venture into a surreal gay sauna, a poetic dreams-cape woven by desires and fears. Crossing eyes with the other sauna-goers who all have the same face, you walk along every floor, corridor and room. Each layer of the maze irreversibly unravels behind your back, and eventually everything disappears. With Traversing the Mist, CHOU Tung-Yen pushes the boundaries of real-time XR technology and narrative, and expands the visionary XR universe with this free-roaming 6DoF multi-user immersive experience.

*13-24 November 2023 – worldpremiere IDFA (NL)

*24-28 April 2024 – Competition Newimages Festival Paris (FR)

* 26 April 2024 – Winner Grand Prize Newimages Festival Paris (FR)

* 14 – 25 May 2024 – Competition Cannes Festival (FR)

 

DOClab Programmer Casper Sonnen: “Traversing the Mist opens up a world that is uncomfortable or intimidating for many people, in this case the gay sauna.” In a dim and steamy environment, vague but clearly naked male figures emerge staring at you or ignoring you. Sometimes the men look sensual, and sometimes shy. As you stroll through the spaces, you’ll experience both the intimacy and solitude of a gay sauna. “You’re there, but you’re not, because the VR glasses keep you an outsider.” An extra layer to the experience is the presence of other participants who are also in the same room as you in real-life with VR glasses on. “The game of watching and being watched is therefore even more exciting. Moreover, VR glasses are also a bit of a blindfold. In a much layered and also tasteful way, you get to know the ambiguity of a subculture.”

JURY REPORT Newimages Festival: “We would like to recognize a work that rendered us speechless and knowingly connected, after we took off the headsets. This groundbreaking communal, immersive experience offered us a cohesive and viscerally embodied voyeuristic journey that spanned the full spectrum of fear, desire, discovery, corporality, community, aging, and death. And onto a timeless state of cosmic being, as we joyously join the stars as a key to a bathhouse locker. The Grand Jury Prize goes to Traversing the Mist.” – Shari Frilot (Jury of the 7th NewImages Festival)