The Electric Lens Company's thought-provoking 'Coral & I' film project continues successful run

Coral_And_I_04.jpgElectric Lens' ongoing concept piece "Coral & I' is not just doing the rounds, it's growing at the same time. It showed in Cannes in June, was recently selected to play at Kaleidoscope's 'First Look' in Los Angeles and has also picked up a research partner at the University of Sydney to extend its functionality into new territory.

The work was the brain child of ELC's Matt Hermans in partnership with Luke Bubb from Moving Peaks. Two innovators in the world of 'electric dreams', they both set out to use emerging technology to tell an important story set in the mind of the viewer. "Coral & I" takes viewers beneath the waves in what begins as an artistic wonderland of coral and sea creatures and ultimately aims to have people feel the impact of humans on the reef.
Says Hermans and Bubb: "It was designed to explore new levels of interaction in storytelling. We wanted the audience to feel a sense of responsibility as witnesses to mankind's effects on the ocean and making this such a personal experience is a way to give the audience the power to trigger their OWN emotional response. We as the authors can play a much smaller part in these kinds of narrative and for me, that's one of the joys of VR."

Hermans and Bubb wanted to place the audience inside an environment for just long enough that they find an empathetic connection and it's that connection which drives our response to the subsequent events. The tranquil mood is broken when a deafening fishing boat passes over head and ushers in a rain of plastics, cigarette butts and debris. Amidst the now plastic ocean, we find ourselves at the heart of a coral bleaching event, the destruction emanating from our exact position in the world. A situation that, for many viewers, leads to an inescapable feeling that somehow we are a part of the cause...

Says Hermans: "If this experience changes the mind of someone, even slightly, to the matters of the destruction of the oceans and critically - that they have changed their own mind - then the piece has succeeded its mission."

And succeed it did. The reactions were quite intense for some of the audience in Cannes, with one person having to take the headset off, quite overwhelmed by the content.

Says Hermans: "She was crying and said she was a bit too affected to keep going. Initially I felt pretty bad but on the other hand, it showed how powerful this tool can be. We're letting the ocean speak for itself through our interpretation of the effects of plastics, noise pollution and bleaching - important subjects that should encourage strong responses."

The next stop on its emotional journey is Kaleidoscope, describes as an "exclusive network for top virtual reality creators and industry leaders", where it will show during a three-day L.A. based event.  In association with WIRED magazine, the exhibition is designed to showcase the newest and most innovative content in the world.

Says Hermans: "Being accepted into the Kaleidoscope program and having our artwork playing next to the best in the world is really a chance for ELC to launch its vision on the global stage. I think we're equal parts humbled and thrilled.

"But the really exciting part of this project is the research we'll be doing in partnership with Sydney University."

While the actual research paper is under wraps, the aim is to have the experience change based on unconscious reactions from the viewer.

Continues Hermans: "This is what the 'Electric Dream' is all about, real responses and effects on the brain from synthesised inputs - real magic! We're exploring the matters of the mind to deepen our connection with the viewer and having genuine research to back this up is thrilling."

So with the future so fluid and evolving, what's next for The Electric Lens Company?

Alley.jpg"Building a culture to support this new industry is a big next step. We've enjoyed creative collaborations with The Pulse, Nylon Studios, The Mill and StaplesVR in the past year, recently had excellent branding completed by New Holland Creative and have a fresh, new physical space in Redfern to call home. The team is now in the process of creating a stunning virtual piece for one of the world leaders in robotic hydraulic systems. We really want to take what we're doing in the VR space and combine it with the real world. We're getting better at moving people emotionally, now we want to move them physically."


Coral & I
Created by Matt Hermans and Luke Bubb
Animation by Benjamin Mattern
Sound by Kevin O'Neill
Additional Sound by Stuart Welch
Co-Produced by J'aimee Skippon-Volke of Byron Bay Film Festival


BIG FAN said:

Hermans is a phenomenal and progressive talent. Get on board while you can people, before he takes off to the next stratosphere and leaves us all behind.

Bigger Fan said:

Excited to see a studio committed properly to VR. The world needs more of this stuff.

Kent said:

Congrats Matty. Well deserved mate!!

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