FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seattle, WA, July 29, 2018 –”The Book of True Feelings,” a cinematic virtual reality experience from Ahlquist Media Lab won the Best Transmedia Project award at the Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival (STIFF) today.
The experience, directed by Jason Ahlquist and Starring Phillip Wheeler (Western Sol, The Junkie) is a simple and fascinating experiment with how performance context cues in virtual reality can shape experienced emotion. Ahlquist describes the work as an inverse of the Kuleshov experiment that discovered essential principles in context cues to convey meaning and emotion in film editing. The experiencer is presented with Wheeler’s unnamed character performing an emotionally ambiguous monologue in an equally emotionally ambiguous voice. Wheeler inhabits the experience in four locations simultaneously, with each avatar exhibiting his own physical, emotional performance of the monologue.
No two avatars are visible at the same time. The experiencer must move and personally confront each version.
“The effect of the experiencer’s exploration of the space is that they get to observe how language on it’s own can be plastic and molded by context cues,” Ahlquist said. “The hope – and I think the observed results at the festival bear this out to an extent – is that VR’s reputation as an ’empathy machine’ can tested and explored by observing experiencer reactions. And that lessons learned can be used to fine-tune the art of what makes immersive VR uniquely powerful for future projects.
The experience was featured for four days of the festival in the Transmedia Gallery at Factory Luxe in the historic Old Rainier Brewery complex in Seattle. Further appearances at other festivals are pending.
Ahlquist Media Lab, in partnership with Different Paths Productions is currently in pre-production for a new experience called “The Response” that will use experimental VR storytelling techniques to explore human emotion in ways that are unavailable to conventional filmmaking.