Tribeca’s Storyscapes Returns For An Epic Second Year

on Tuesday, Apr. 15th

The Tribeca Film Festival leapt into the vanguard of transmedia art last year with the inaugural edition of Storyscapes, an event led by TriBeCa’s Director of Digital Initiatives Ingrid Kopp.

Net week will see the second crop of projects curated by Kopp and her team make their bow at the The Bombay Sapphire® House of Imagination (At Dune Studio) when Storyscapes opens for its April 23-26 run.

After the jump: the works that we wish we could be in New York City to see.


The project we’re watching most closely is Nonny de la Peña’s Use of Force.

Use of Force is a fully immersive documentary experience that puts you on scene when migrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was killed by border patrol on the U.S.–Mexico border in 2010. Using custom built virtual reality headsets, participants stand alongside witnesses who were trying to stop the events unfolding, offering a profound and visceral experience. Nonny de la Peña is a pioneer of immersive journalism and this is an experience that really puts you in someone else’s shoes.

De la Peña has been pioneering a technique she refers to as “immersive journalism” which uses virtual reality to put participants into recreations of real world scenes. Grounded in two decades as a journalist (Newsweek, The New York Times), de la Peña’s recent work is pushing forward an aspect of virtual reality that is often overlooked in the chatter about its role in the future of entertainment: VR’s unique potential to create empathy through a sense of presence.

Choose Your Own Documentary

One of the unique properties of transmedia is that a project has the potential to embody what I like to call “the thing itself.” That’s my shorthand for the kind of interplay between text and meta-text: the subject of an artwork stops being something referenced and instead becomes the very form of the work.

That’s what the makers of Choose Your Own Documentary appear to have pulled off. A chance encounter with a diary page in a Choose Your Own Adventure book starts a quest to find the diary’s author. Instead of a linear film, CYOD uses the Choose Your Own Adventure format. A live audience interacts with the documentary’s lead investigator on stage, and the audience’s collective choices guide the edit of the film that they see.

The trailer hints at the possibilities:

Choose Your Own Documentary: Tribeca Film Festival 2014 from Choose Your Own Documentary on Vimeo.

CIRCA 1948

The National Film Board of Canada is one of the best producers of transmedia art, and this year’s entry into Storyscapes appears to be no different. It sounds a bit like history as taught by the developers of the video game Bioshock:

Circa 1948 is a new project from internationally renowned artist Stan Douglas. Together with NFB Interactive, he has recreated areas from Vancouver’s history that no longer exist. The locations have been meticulously researched and are recreated in historically accurate 3D detail, where they become the site of the disembodied voices of the people who once inhabited them. Eavesdrop on the past and explore a seminal turning point in the history of Vancouver through the voices of homeless veterans, gamblers, prostitutes, and police officers. Hearing—but not
seeing—the inhabitants, you can navigate the different environments and be immersed in a plot peopled with characters from a disappeared world.

The house will also feature the interactive documentary CLOUDS and the music/video experiment On a Human Scale, which gives participants a chance to play an instrument made up of New Yorker’s voices.

The entire Storyscapes venue, the aforementioned House of Imagination, will be taking advantage of iBeacon technology to provide a guided tour experience of the exhibits.

While visitors are experiencing Storyscapes they can choose to be guided by the Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination app for iOS , which will enable interaction with the projects, creators and @TribecaFilmFest, facilitating social conversations directly on their mobile devices like never before. Through iBeacon technology which is new to TFF this year, the app alerts visitors and dynamically reacts as they approach projects, screens and bars throughout the event with facts and stories about the five selected Storyscapes projects and creators.

That’s a rather different use set from the privacy woes we we’re discussing earlier today.

Note: Storyscapes is a 21+ event.


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