Chosen by an expert jury from more than 290 submissions, this year’s 33 Immersive Pavilion selections and 15 VR Theater selections at SIGGRAPH show how fast technology is moving the art of storytelling.
SIGGRAPH 2019, the 46th international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques, is the place to go if you want to understand how the industry is changing. From July 28 until August 1, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, it is possible to listen to the global innovators who are changing what’s possible in computer graphics, animation, VR, Gaming, and Emerging Technologies, and understand how all those changes affect filmmaking and storytelling. Among the multiple activities available during the event, two areas offer a unique perspective into some of the most advanced technologies being used to tell stories: the Immersive Pavilion and the VR Theater.
The Immersive Pavilion gives visitors a chance to see how immersive technologies are changing the ways we create, play, learn, communicate, and interact. There, visitors can experience first-hand the latest and greatest advances. The Computer Animation Festival’s VR Theater is a marquee destination in the conference’s Experience Hall that showcases state-of-the-art virtual reality storytelling. Because, in the end, it is always about telling stories, building narratives and sharing them with audiences.
Four world-premiere experiences
Established in 2017, the VR Theater has quickly become the talk of the conference and a hot ticket to get. As the art of VR evolves, it becomes more interactive, more social, and more accessible. This year, the VR Theater will showcase works of art that are experimenting with new ideas, including how the audience may participate in the story.
The SIGGRAPH 2019 Immersive Pavilion and VR Theater offer the conference’s largest selection of immersive programming to date, including four world-premiere experiences: “Undersea” from Magic Leap (Immersive Pavilion), “a kite’s tale” from Walt Disney Animation Studios (VR Theater), “Mary and the Monster: Chapter One” from Parallux and New York University’s Future Reality Lab (Immersive Pavilion), and “Il Divino: Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling in VR” from Epic Games.
More than 290 submissions
“With this latest edition, the Immersive Pavilion cements its status as the perfect place to experience, play, and learn about technological advances across the constantly evolving mediums of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality,” shared SIGGRAPH 2019 Immersive Pavilion Chair Victoria Rege. “In addition to fun, quirky projects aimed to entertain, the content our creators will share is often thought-provoking and informative. These platforms are well-positioned as a tool to teach us more about the human experience, and I am so excited to share that with attendees.”
Chosen by an expert jury from more than 290 submissions, this year’s 33 Immersive Pavilion selections and 15 VR Theater selections are ready to wow participants this summer. A true mark of how technology thrives, immersive content at SIGGRAPH bridges technology from past conferences in a way that showcases how dreams really do become reality over time, a true mark of how technology continues to thrive.
Notes SIGGRAPH 2019 VR Theater Director Maxwell Planck, “If what we’ve seen this year is where we’re at now, I can only imagine where we’ll be in 20 years. As we launch the third annual VR Theater at SIGGRAPH, it’s important to note not only impressive growth in the quantity of submissions, but in the quality as well. I look forward to celebrating the future of a medium that, much like the early days of the Electronic Theater, will only get bigger and better.”
Immersive Pavilion and VR Theater
Immersive content at SIGGRAPH 2019 is available in five distinct venues across two programs. In the Immersive Pavilion, work can be experienced across three physical spaces—the Arcade, Museum, or Village—while the VR Theater offers both five-film, 1-hour screenings daily and individual viewing kiosks. Highlights for each area include:
Project Jua [Arcade]
- Contributors: Brian First, Raymond Ononiwu, Ayuba Audu, and Dunni Abiodun, Microsoft; and, Max Sacker and Ioulia Isserlis, Another World
- Project Jua is an interactive VR experience that raises awareness of the impact of not having easy access to electricity, taking the player to a rural farm in Kenya to experience firsthand the challenges of living off the grid to discover an African solar power solution that is improving lives.
- Contributors: Szilvia Ruszev and Noa Kaplan, University of Southern California
- Heterotopias is an interactive VR experience based on Michel Foucault’s lecture, Des espaces autres. It leverages eye-tracking technology, transforming blinks into cinematic cuts. Suspended in a hanging chair, the user progresses through a series of virtual spaces resembling an abbreviated life cycle — a well, a garden, and a mausoleum.
Being Henry [Village]
- Contributor: Sarah Berkovich, independent
- After experiencing a stroke that left him paralyzed, Henry Evans uses cutting-edge technology to keep him connected to the things he loves. In this first-person interactive documentary, see the world through Henry’s eyes — and the eyes of his robots.
Doctor Who: The Runaway [Screenings]
- Creator: Mathias Chelebourg, BBC VR Hub, BBC Doctor Who, Passion Animation Studios
- Step inside the TARDIS with the Doctor in this beautiful, interactive story from the “Doctor Who” team. Armed with a sonic screwdriver, it is down to you to help the Doctor as she faces the forces of evil, and teenage angst, in this animated, 13-minute VR adventure from the team behind “Doctor Who” Series 11.
- Creators: Carl Krause and Dominik Stockhausen, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
- In a last desperate attempt to communicate, a man decides to lock his boyfriend inside his mind. A raging stream of consciousness unfolds, shedding light on a flawed relationship.
MindPalace is an animated 6DoF VR Experience that explores the emotional landscape of a breakup. It is an experiment of how to create different perspectives within VR and an example of how frail our interpersonal communication can be at times. It ventures into the minds and broken souls two lovers. All their truths lying bare for us to see. Uninhibited and uncontrollable.
MindPalace celebrated it’s world premiere 2018 at the Venice Film Festival as part of the Official Selection. It was nominated by ASIFA Hollywood for an ANNY Award for Best Virtual Reality Production. The project was produced as part of the subject area Animation at the Animationsinstitut of Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.
Final notes on SIGGRAPH 2019
The Immersive Pavilion and VR Theater Kiosks are open to conference participants with an Experiences badge and above. VR Theater Screenings are open to those with Full Conference and Full Conference Platinum registration only. Visit SIGGRAPH 2019 website for more information about VR Theater ticketing.