The Oculus Cinema Show
apr 2019 24

LONDON - Oculus Rift was one of the special guest at the Sundance Film Festival. Sundance describes the New Frontier portion of its annual film festival as a “creative space” for “multimedia performances, transmedia experiences,” and other interactive art forms. This year that translated into a room of pure sensory overload: orange-red walls with matching plush couches, video projections, and in one corner, five stations gilded in chrome. That’s where a constant stream of visitors would sit down, plug in, and get transported into another world.

The Oculus Rift headset is tested by attendees at the Eurogamer Expo at Earls Court in London.Since its Kickstarter debut, much of the public focus on the Oculus Rift VR headset has been on its potential as a gaming device. The uses there are obvious, but talking to Nate Mitchell, Oculus’ VP of product, it’s clear the company sees the Rift having much broader applications in everything from immersive experiences to narrative storytelling. Opening eyes to those possibilities — and enticing other artists to dive in — was a big part of what it hoped to achieve at New Frontier. “To be invited to be at Sundance, and share the canvas and show people, ‘Hey, here are some cool things that artists are doing,’” says Mitchell. “We’re big believers in that.

Everyone that’s been able to strap on the Rift understands the potential. What people will actually do with the headset remains the great unanswered question. The Sundance demos offer a hint of what’s next: each contained one or two of what could be considered minor innovations, but all of them together — compounded by the lessons learned from every other Oculus project — are slowly beginning to form the collective vocabulary of VR design.  (A.A)