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VR Residency

Crans-Montana, Switzerland

The Artists

Pierre Friquet

A pioneer in virtual reality since 2010, Pierre Friquet has directed more than a dozen VR fictions, documentaries, music videos, dome and location-based experiences. Hailing originally from paris, and having lived in four continents Pierre’s vr clients include projects for ABC, FOX, and Reddit,… created under the umbrella of Ando + Pyare. He’s also a passionate conference panelist, patient workshop conductor and dedicated consultant. His VR original fiction (co-created with Ando Shah), JETLAG, won the best live-action award at the Kaleidoscope VR festival Vol. 1 and was selected at Cannes Next in 2016 . RED PATTERNS, a room-scale VR experience for the HTC Vive, was selected at the World VR Forum and was awarded at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal. After lived in 4 continents he’s based now in Paris. He has joined the production company Providences.
www.lair.tv/pierre
www.andoandpyare.com

Meredith Thomas

Meredith is an artist and creative technologist based in Berlin. He studied biomedical engineering and science communication at Imperial College London. After moving to Berlin he became interested in creative uses of technology. His work now focuses on intersections between artistic tradition and practice and new technology.

Suart Campbell

Also known as Sutu uses art and technology in new ways to tell stories. He is an illustrator, interactive designer and writer. He is best known for Nawlz, a 24 episode interactive cyberpunk comic book series created for web and iPad. As part of BigHart?s YijalaYala Project, he has adapted traditional Australian Aboriginal stories into interactive iPad storybooks and created NEOMAD interactive comic, a space opera set in the Aussie outback. He has also created multimedia installations for the Australian National Museum and designed pilot training programs for the Australian Defence Force. His work has won Webby, FWA, ATOM and JMAF awards.

Philip Miller

Philip Miller is a composer and sound artist from South Africa whose work includes music for live performance, film, video and sound installation. Miller’s work has included among other the award winning choral composition, Rewind (2007) a cantata for voice, Celebrate Brooklyn, (New York), as well as The Baxter and Market Theatres (South Africa). His sonic works and installations have been also exhibited in famous places as the Venice Biennale. Miller has scored numerous soundtracks for film and television including his Emmy-nominated soundtrack to Miner’s Shot Down, HBO’s The Girl and BET’s The Bookof Negroes, and Roots. His long time collaboration with artist, William Kentridge includes the recent project Triumphs and Laments, (Rome 2016).

Gavan Eckart

Gavan Eckhart is a sound engineer, producer and owner at Soul Fire Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has been working with Philip Miller and William Kentridge for more than 10 years and has recorded and mixed the sound for most of their collaborative works, as well as Miller’s extensive film score repertoire.
His vast experience in theatre, TV, film and music culminates in the creative utilisation of sound technology for visual arts and music production. He also tours with top South African and international bands, including Freshlyground, Bombshelter Beast and Thandiswa Mazwai. He installs sound systems for museums and venues, and produces and mixes a variety of musical and visual artists, both in studio and on the road.

The Manager

Valérie Félix

Valérie Félix is both an art historian specialized in cultural and digital studies and a visual artist. With a background in teaching and managing residencies (overseas and by setting up her own residency), she is also active in research with publications and presentations. She lives and works in Valais, Switzerland.

The Project

SEA OF TRANQUILITY

Pierre Friquet

Since 2016, Crans-Montana has hosted the world congress of virtual and augmented reality, bringing together three days of conferences, a competitive festival and a market. For the first time this year, the World VR Forum is setting up its VR artist residency in Crans-Montana, offering an ideal setting for the creation and development of new concepts, while highlighting the potential of new economic opportunities for the region. For this first edition, the artist’s residency takes place at the Sport Palace, in the heart of the village of Crans-Montana. During two months, Pierre Friquet and his team will explore the different possibilities of the SEA OF TRANQUILITY project. Pierre Friquet’s main reference is the famous film “Voyage dans la lune” (1902) by Georges Méliès. This allows him to set up successive layers, a process that is typical of his work. The theme of exploring a fantastic universe remains important in the aesthetics and narrative aspects of the work, however it does not canalize his whole project. By his reflection, Friquet questions the inherent possibility of the cinema destabilization on reality. And that is why his artistic project is so close to this film – if virtual reality is not, above all, a disruption of our reality, what is it?

Seen too often as a threat to our own reality, or rather embodying the utopian promise of a better world, virtual reality is approached as an element that creates a gap between true and false. Inevitably, this has an impact on our virtual consumption. Whereas if we associate these entities both called reality, this distance established by distinction would reduce. It is in this sense that Friquet’s work constantly sets up anchorages between us and our different environments. Seen as conflicting layers – water and moon – psyche and conscious – globality and individuality … but also reality and virtuality, they form a heterogeneity that is recomposed by Friquet, in order to make this border more porous, but also more fantastic. Then, diving into the water with a VR headset (world’s first VR underwater headset) for a “Voyage dans la lune », becomes an experimental pretext, a journey, an encounter, a metanarrative with all those opposites. We become, as Friquet likes to call it, a “psychonaut” a hybrid between astronaut and psyche, exploring unknown territories. The connection of these multiple interfaces allows us to deconstruct structures of the impossible, and the VR seems to have this inherent capacity to embody such a position. Wearing a headset, getting immersed by water to see beyond, are elements that can be associated to a ritual that positions us, forces us to reflect on our own individuality, our actions, our way of being in the world (which one?)

Valerie Felix, Art Historian / Cultural & Digital Studies

Concept

World VR Forum in partnership with Crans-Montana, Valais Wallis Promotion and Service de la culture du Canton du Valais is pleased to announce the first edition of its Artist Residency for VR projects, which will take place in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, during 2 months.

Home for the WVRF Annual Summit, Crans-Montana has become a relevant hot spot for the VR connoisseurs around the world. This is why we considered that, by extension, this should also become the home of an artist residency exclusively dedicated to VR and AR projects. We think the mix of first class alpine air and breathe-taking mountain views together with a warm and welcoming working space equipped with last generation gadgets can be highly inspiring and most stimulating for developing high quality projects. Therefore we invite artists from all around the world to apply individually or as teams up to 4 participants. The team will be followed by professionals throughout the creative process. The final selection will be made by an international committee and the selected artists will be invited to live and work in specially designated spaces in Crans-Montana.

During the two months of the residency, they will have to prototype an interactive experience in virtual or augmented reality. While any reference – direct or purely abstract – to the Swiss Alpine environment as a main source of inspiration is highly encouraged during the creative process, there are no restrictions or obligations in what concerns the type of artistic expression, style or medium.

The team will be followed by a board of international mentors throughout the creative process and will also be invited to get involved with the local community by giving workshops and presentations in the most prestigious schools with a technical and artistic profile of the region.

At the end of the residency, the team must present the project to a committee composed of experts and supporters of the initiative, while the official premiere will take place during the WVRF Annual Summit. The team will be able to share the thoughts on their experience during the WVRF conferences, and the project will be displayed in the following weeks in a special designated exhibition place.

Programme

Residency

Located on a high plateau in the mountains, bathed in sunshine and looking out over the Rhone Valley at an altitude of 1,500m, Crans-Montana is one of the major tourist destinations in Valais. Crans-Montana is also well-known for its air being the purest in the Swiss Alps, not forgetting the 300 days of sunshine a year. The perfect destination to develop creativity.

Sport Palace in Crans-Montana is an apartment complex featuring an indoor pool and a bar. The Crans Cable Car is 1.2 km away. The studios and apartments at Sport Palace are fitted with a balcony, a sofa, a bathroom and a kitchen.

Comittee

Antoine Widmer

Adventures Lab (CH)

Antoine Widmer is a professor in information systems at HES-SO Valais-Wallis doing research in VR and AR applied to eHealth, eTourism and eLearning since September 2016. He obtained his PhD in software engineering in…

    Chuck Peil

    Reel FX Animation (USA)

    As a founding member of Reel FX, Peil has participated in the studios significant growth over the past 22 years which now employs 315 team members in their 75,000 square foot Dallas and 17,000 square foot Santa Monica…

      Hélène Joye-Cagnard

      Service de la culture du Valais

      Hélène Joye-Cagnard is currently Head of the Cultural Activities Promotion Section of the Valais State Department of Culture. She previously directed the Biel-Bienne Photographic Days and held the post of Deputy Director of the…

        Lemony

        Pinta Studio (CN)

          Max Rheiner

          ZHDK / Somniacs (CH)

          Max Rheiner is head of the Master Design Interaction Program at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK), who has been teaching in both the bachelors and masters programs for the Department of Interaction…

            Raphaël Favre

            Valais Wallis Promotion

            Raphaël Favre is Head of Business Development and member of the Management of Valais/Wallis Promotion (VWP), the promotion organisation of the canton of Valais. He is particularly responsible for the development of new promotion…

              Salar Shahna

              World VR Forum (CEO)

              Salar Shahna, a native of Geneva, Switzerland is the Creative Director and CEO of the World VR Forum. His vision shaped the artistic orientation of WVRF’s annual summit which was acclaimed unanimously by its…

                Shari Frilot

                Sundance Film Festival (USA)

                Shari Frilot joined the programming team in 1998 and currently focuses on U.S. and World Cinema dramatic features, as well as films that experiment and push the boundaries of conventional storytelling. She is also…

                  Sponsors

                  Want to be part of the initiative? Please contact us here.

                  • world vr forum
                  • service culture
                  • Valais Wallis Promotion
                  • Crans-Montana