tribeca 2016

Reading time ~2 minutes

enter the triangle below canal

last year, i had a splendid time attending an all-day event hosted by tribeca interactive, but sadly had to miss due to its simultaneity with #ttw2016. so i did the next best thing and stopped by for the virtual arcade, a selection of 13 innovative vr experiences.

one enters the arcade, a long room filled to the brim with unearthly purple light. ultraviolet and magenta tones to play chords on the retinal cones. all around are lines for the more immersive experiences (the crystal reef, dragonflight). arranged in the middle of the hall are futuristic-yet-inviting swivel chairs in which one might sample the delights of full headset + headphone virtual reality.

my time was limited so i only was able to submerge myself in a few pieces. the two that stood out were:

the misdemeanor

the modern murder mystery, told through the eyes of the four involved: two young black men and two police officers. the short film brings the viewer directly into the issue of police brutality. this film from specular theory uses the point-of-view perspective as a storytelling device. in turns, the viewer is obligated to see each side of the story. the technique is quite effective, as it becomes difficult to squarely assign blame when the issue is presented in totality. this approach also highlights the systemic issues at work. punishing an individual does nothing to solve the overall problem of excessive force, gross miscommunication, and threat escalation endemic to so many urban social interactions. misdemeanor disturbs, but also provokes questions and holistic thinking.


a tragic love story, also a bit of a mystery. this short vr film from jessica kantor and vrideo tells the classic story of love and tragedy through dance, in 360 virtual reality. this film innovates on the medium with a single timeline play out in three parts, simultaneously. the narrative is divided, with a scene to the left, center, and right showing different segments of a linear narrative. at once, one can watch the grace of two lovers dancing together, a horrific discovery, and its aftermath. the use of simultaneity lends the subject matter a feeling of predestination. while in reality, the story arc is no less inevitable than any other screen-based narrative and yet it is rare that the audience sees the threads of fate so directly.

i’m sure that i missed many amazing projects, and look forward to the offerings at next year’s festival.


a venture to the museum of the moving image for theorizing the web 2016, an undertaking to understand how our network-connected lives recapitulate human sociality.

time signatures

Published on 11 November 2015


Published on 06 November 2015