Introduced last March for Oculus VR headsets, Pollinator Park is a futuristic farm, a safe haven for pollinating insects and an eye-opener for its visitors, imagined by ‘archiobiotect’ Vincent Callebaut.
A beautiful virtual reality experience about the ugly future we face without pollinating insects, that’s what you get when you visit Pollinator Park. The year is 2050, and following a cascade of ecological crises, our world has been deprived of pollinating insects, healthy ecosystems and wealthy flora. Amidst this dystopian landscape lies a lavish green utopian beacon of hope: Dr. Beatrice Kukac’s Pollinator (P)ark, a safe haven for pollinators and an eye-opener for mankind.
Pollinator Park does not exist but in the projects created by Belgian-born, Paris-based lead Archibiotect Vincent Callebaut, who designs and builds with the future in mind. Biomimetic and plus-energy buildings that produce their own power, vertical forests, pollution-removing towers and boats, floating cities and oceanscrapers, vertical food farms. The park was a request from the European Commission’s DG Environment, who wanted the project to be used as a wake-up call for mankind to start caring for animal species on the verge of extinction.
Pollinator Park is a crossover between a zoo, theme park, an interactive museum and a crystal ball: fun, educational and emotionally engaging. It’s a VR experience but also a documentary using a mix of film, animation and interactivity to share an urgent message. As a park visitor in 2050, unravel the story of the fictional character Dr. Beatrice Kukac, founding mother of Pollinator Park, who is your tour guide. Discover the personal story behind her efforts to restore the balance between nature and mankind, as she walks you through the park, hoping to change your perspective. Try your hand at pollination, shop for grocery shopping in a pollinator-deprived world, rediscover nature’s perfection and find out how you can help protect it in the real world.
An exciting journey of discovery
This is a hybrid experience, available for flat screens, on Mac and PC, using Chrome, Edge or Firefox browsers, but you’ll get the most from it with a Virtual Reality headset. Unfortunately, now, the experience is only available on Oculus Rift and Quest, meaning users of PCVR headsets as Steam’s Valve Index, the Vive family and Windows Mixed Reality units from HP or Samsung can not watch this FANTASTIC interactive documentary.
At launch the experience was only usable standing, requiring, according to the developer, a 2×2 meter area, but following suggestions from users the seated option was added, making Pollinator Park accessible to all and much more comfortable to view. The camera is rotated using the thumb stick, and teleport is also possible using the controller, which is used to start/stop videos, activate buttons and try some activities as you puzzle together the full story via Beatrice’s diary entries: collect at least 5 for access to the final Zoom Room and a new perspective on the world outside.
Pollinator Park is an exciting journey that should be experienced long after the celebrations of World Bee day, today, May 20th. It’s a virtual wake-up call that shows us how important those little creatures are and what we can do to help them… help us! This 30-minute interactive and emotionally engaging virtual reality experience immerses you in a futuristic world where man and nature co-exist in harmony, hoping to change your perspective and help write a better scenario for the future.
Nothing beats the sense of immersion in VR
Poppins & Wayne, a company whose mantra is “When story meets technology, imagination comes to life”, is behind the concept and creation of the project, produced by ESN and Cousteau Studio, with many others contributing to the experience: concept artist Bart Lommelen (Fixion Design), composer Stijn Cole (Eaburg), 3D artist Pepijn Reijnders (Sakari Games), AudioNinjas and more.
Pollinator Park “follows the science” being designed with the contribution from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona. As Part of the EU Pollinators Initiative, Pollinator Park supports the European Green Deal, better known as the initiative that puts ecological crises on the map while also supporting the ambitious nature agreement, Convention on Biological Diversity, later this year.
Pollinator Park is FREE, and a must have and share with friend Virtual Reality experience. If you’ve no chance to see it in VR, do check the flatscreen options, but believe me, nothing beats the sense of immersion you get from this VR reproduction of the futuristic domes designed by ‘archiobiotect’ Vincent Callebaut. To end this note on yet another VR title you should add to your growing Virtual Reality library, I find no better way than to use Dr. Beatrice Kukac’s words: “Do you remember a time when the sky was filled with birds and bees, and colourful fruit grew from the trees? Did that world cease to exist, or did you simply cease to notice it? “