Following the success of the 2020 edition of the Portland Art Museum’s “Venice VR Expanded” exhibition, the museum will host 2021 edition of the festival from 1 to 19 September in collaboration with the Northwest Film Center and the Venice Biennale (also known as La Biennale di Venezia).
The Biennale is known for being the venue for the Venice International Film Festival–the oldest film festival in the world, for 89 years. Since 2017, the festival has been offering additional competition for both cinematic and interactive virtual reality media. Along with exhibitions at the Venice Film Festival, the Biennial collaborates with more than a dozen museums and institutions around the world. This opportunity to participate in the festival in international venues began last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the first international edition of “Venice VR Expanded,” the Portland Art Museum has acted as the exclusive U.S. partner for the competition.
“I’ve been fortunate to have worked with the Venice Biennale for ten years, both through its film and virtual reality programs, ”said Amy Dotson, the museum’s film and new media curator. the VR of Venice, Michel Reilhac, visited us in Portland just before the pandemic and was able to see for himself what makes our city so unique: our community is creative in so many ways.All these ingredients combined are those that make Portland a unique and bold choice to debut, support and defend some of the most experimental and cutting-edge virtual reality arts in the world. ”
Like all other current face-to-face events, “Venice VR Expanded” faces many health and safety issues and concerns around COVID-19, mostly due to the unique virtual reality setup. According to the state mask mandate, all participants will be required to wear a mask at all times during the exhibition. In addition, ten minutes of each one-hour session will be devoted to sanitation and preparation of headphones for use. Similar to the 2020 section, the museum will use ultraviolet-c (UVC) light technology, designed specifically for Clean Box Tech, to keep headphones clean between sessions.
“Exposure is a fair and accessible way for people to travel and explore with the safety of a hyper clean headset,” Dotson said. “Unlike sitting at home and watching TV or other screens, this medium allows you to be completely immersed in the story.”
In addition, with the exception of out-of-competition titles, festivals can be experienced at home by those who have their own Vive / Valve or Oculus VR headphones. For people without personal headphones, you can book up to two one-hour sessions at the museum for $ 35 per hour (as with all museum exhibits, members can opt for a discounted price). Of course, not all headphones are created equal and some experiences at the festival will be exclusive to certain headphones, so visitors are advised to check out the selection of available titles before they arrive.
This year’s festival lineup is even better than last year’s, with an eclectic and diverse selection of live, animated, non-fiction and interactive means of action spanning the four continents. The “In Competition” section includes a mix of these, many of which come from directors recognized by everyone who is familiar with the world of virtual reality filmmaking.
Taiwanese VR author and former Venice competitor Hsin-Chien Huang has brought his existential film Samsara at the festival, which previously won the best prizes in the South by Southwest virtual film competition and the Cannes XR competition earlier this year. Other promising titles include the second episode of photographer Matteo Lonardi The doubt, which premiered earlier in last year’s Venice VR competition, and the eccentric interactive work of VR animation director Keisuke Itoh Clap.
The “Out of Competition” section also includes a unique selection of titles, many of which are interactive. Some may be known to participants by their name, such as the open world puzzle game Maskmaker or Sam and Max: This time it’s virtual., the VR remaster of the classic click and click game Telltale. But some, like the sensory and folkloric adventure of Rui Guerreiro Great or the animated documentary in brush Reeducated, perhaps not, demonstrating the festival’s commitment to diverse and creative stories.
In addition to the “Out of Competition” section, the festival also offers a number of VRChat world experiences as part of the VRChat Worlds gallery. Some of the festival experiences will not fit into the slot of the participants, so curious attendees are advised to sign up for two slots or choose experiences of less than 50 minutes for which they are allowed to wear headphones. The full selection of experiences is available for viewing at Biennial website.
The Portland Art Museum is no stranger to cinematic installations, groundbreaking art, and innovative art media, but interactive games and media are fairly new to the museum. According to Dotson, Venice VR Expanded is a possible gateway to more exhibitions with interactive media at the museum.
“Immersive, evolving and interactive arts are the future of storytelling and will play an important role in both the continued evolution of PAM and NWFC,” Dotson said. “Artists, filmmakers, animators and media narrators in all their forms are playing with VR, AR and techniques that not only play with time, but also with space. More than any other current medium, RV it allows the audience to feel and experience empathy.Like all fantasy art, mixed reality stories delve deeper into our connection to real and imagined worlds and to mutual understanding.And isn’t that what it’s all about, especially in this time we live in?