This year, Animateka is delighted to present the first VR competition alongside an out-of-competition program of VR works. Spotlighting artists who employ immersive tools to bring visionary ideas to life, these extraordinary and award-winning immersive experiences will take you on a journey beyond imagination. As you explore this dynamic showcase of narrative XR projects, you’ll encounter a diverse range of stories and artistic visions that promise to captivate and inspire. From a heartfelt journey inside a father’s mind struggling with aphasia, a poetic exploration of life, following a boy’s quest to collect the voices of memories, interactive pieces highlighting the influence of bystander actions and going on an odyssey from galaxies to coral reefs, guided by a lonely shrimp. Participatory experiences that confront inner hardships and their remedies all through the immersive power of VR. From dream-inspired drawings to the incorporation of dream sounds into music and the belief in dream lessons, the program showcases diverse narratives. Explore a multiplayer installation offering a unique twist on the exquisite corpse concept within virtual reality and an anti-war tribute searching for peace within an online war game. How Artificial Intelligence can bridge our connection with nature, decoding the unique languages of animals and plants.

Join us in redefining the future of storytelling.

VR@Animateka Competition

Flow VR

Directed by: Adriaan Lokman
Short synopsis:

Flow invites you to surrender to the whims of the wind on a seemingly ordinary day, concealing within its turbulence a captivating night in the life of a woman, portrayed through the dance of air currents. The interplay of scents, warmth, respiration, and both natural and artificial gusts of wind, influenced by invisible forces, renders the imperceptible tangible. These atmospheric movements unveil a sequence of events inviting us to follow the woman on her meanderings, plunging us into a realm crafted entirely from air. However, as the storm subsides and the woman awakens from what transpires to have been a dream, her world is no longer the same.

Missing 10 Hours

Directed by: Fanni Fazakas
Short synopsis:

How could it have happened, in a public space and in the company of people who call themselves friends? This is the question that always arises in response to yet another news story about date rape. But rape cases like this often involve more people than just the perpetrator and the victim. Missing 10 Hours makes you realize how much the decision and actions of bystanders can drastically influence the course of an evening.
In this interactive VR piece, the viewer is led on a night out by Greg, a big-headed guy with bad intentions. He spikes 22-year-old Mara’s drink with the drug GHB, and she gradually loses control of her actions. A walk through the night ends in a backstreet, where Greg maneuvers Mara into a dark corner. The choices the viewer makes during the evening—go along with Greg, watch passively or intervene—determine the outcome: a safe ending, or arrest and questioning at the police station.

Omračitev / Tmání / Darkening

Directed by: Ondřej Moravec
Short synopsis:

How is the world perceived by someone with depression? The animated immersive film uses virtual reality to address depression and the ways to cope with it. Director and protagonist Ondřej guides us through diverse landscapes associating the story of his struggle with depression since puberty. We share his feelings during the first depressive episodes at a family trip in his childhood, at university when striving for perfect results, at work in his everyday fights with the depressive “darkening”. Through animation, combining a stylized form of Ondřej’s environment and abstract images of his emotions, the viewers will experience and understand what it is like to live with this illness, how to tackle it and what mechanisms are used by people with depression to feel better. Most of the interactions are voice controlled. The main character Ondřej finds out that his tool to get the depression under control is his voice. He uses humming, singing and even shouting as a calming and relieving technique.

Kabaret

Directed by: Gina Thorstensen
Short synopsis:

Kabaret is an interactive VR experience about synchronized coral spawning, and a singing shrimp’s worries about the future. It’s a playful and explorative journey from the edge of our galaxy to the depths of our oceans. We strum out a chime on glowing phytoplankton, swim through a portal of seafood aspic – the titular “Kabaret”, a dish once popular in Norway – and are carried by the moon to a coral reef in mating season. But all is not well here. Can we help save the coral’s yearly spawning? Part musical, part documentary, Kabaret invites us to indulge our curiosity of the natural world, and reflect on our relationship to it.

Kvartet v mojem ušesu / 耳に棲むもの / My Inner Ear Quartet

Directed by: Koji Yamamura
Short synopsis:

What lives in the ears of a lonely boy? And why in a boy's ear?
Every day the boy dug in the dirt and collected what he found in a cookie tin. In his notebook, he recorded his life and the lonely voices of the things he found. Behind his ears lived four musicians and two shrimps that lived in a lace-shaped kairou-dou hole. They encouraged the boy by playing and dancing whenever he shed a tear. In return, he would shake the cookie tin filled with found objects. In this way, the boy grew up.
As an adult, the boy became a salesman selling hearing aids and no longer picked up lonely voices or shed tears. One day, he saw a brooch on TV news, a handmade bird brooch found in a Japanese American internment camp, and was fascinated by it. What did he find there?

Cesar / Empereur / Emperor

Directed by: Marion Burger, Illan J. Cohen
Short synopsis:

Emperor is an interactive and narrative experience in virtual reality that invites the user to travel inside the brain of a father suffering from aphasia. It is the story of a man who’s lost his ability to speak, and of the daughter trying to communicate with him. It is the story of a woman who wasn’t given the chance to know the man behind her father, now obscured by this illness. As she tries to piece together what remains of his language, she discovers that his relationship to words is connected to his memories. The memories of an entire lifetime... Step by step, clue after clue, we will dive alongside her into the inner world of this man, in an attempt to decipher the story he can no longer tell us. In a monochrome aesthetic, close to traditional animation, this personal story is told as a journey with surreal overtones, exploring aphasia as a faraway land. Empereur is a poetic experience of the loss of one’s faculties, of the passing of time, and of the bonds that, despite everything, remain.

VR@Animateka Hors concours

Making Art In My Dreams 

Leena Jääskeläinen

Finland, VR Documentary, 2023, 15′

What do artists dream about? Repressed androids, trees full of panthers, surreal cities – their work. And a lot of times their work is influenced by dreams. A theremin player, a painter, and a poet share their inner worlds in a documentary in virtual reality. Arina Baranova is at the beginning of her career as a visual and performance artist. She has had periods of time when she bases all of her drawings on her dreams. Sometimes, if she feels stuck with a picture, she takes a break, and sees a solution the next night. Susanna Viljanmaa is truly multitalented! She’s a theremin player and a composer of electronic music, she also does illustrations, and is a skilled 3D-modeller. Susanna’s dreams are filled with sounds and tunes, and she incorporates them in her music.

Donna Owindi is a writer, poet and natural healer. She believes that dreams teach valuable lessons, and it is important to remember them. That is one reason she keeps a dream diary. The other one is that she feels dream journaling helps her artistry.

Featured XR Artist: Leena Jääskeläinen

Leena Jääskeläinen is a Helsinki-based animation filmmaker and a media artist with a passion for different forms of storytelling. In her opinion, virtual reality gives great freedom, as the story is not tied to a beginning, a middle part or an ending. Things can just exist and happen in a place!

Mixed Signals AR

Kennedy+Swan

Germany, AR Book, 2023, 15’

How can something technical like Artificial Intelligence – so often associated with our alienation from Nature – help us listen to and communicate with non-human beings?

Upon closer examination, most animals and even plants have their own unique forms of communication – languages that we’re only beginning to decode with modern technology. Yet, the real question remains: Is humanity prepared to embrace the profound insights offered by Nature’s own sonic dialogues?

VR Exquisite Corpse

Various artists

VR Multiplayer Installation, 2023, 10’

Step into immersive worlds of a multiplayer installation featuring a collaborative artistic journey. Various artists came together to explore the boundaries of creativity, offering a unique twist on the exquisite corpse concept within the realm of virtual reality.

How to Disappear

Total Refusal

Austria, 2020, 21’

An anti-war movie in the true sense of the word, How to Disappear searches for possibilities of peace in the most unlikely place of an online war game. It’s a tribute to disobedience and desertion – in both digital and physical-real warfare.

VR@Animateka

This year, Animateka is delighted to present the first VR competition alongside an out-of-competition program of VR works. Spotlighting artists who employ immersive tools to bring visionary ideas to life, these extraordinary and award-winning immersive experiences will take you on a journey beyond imagination. As you explore this dynamic showcase of narrative XR projects, you’ll encounter a diverse range of stories and artistic visions that promise to captivate and inspire. From a heartfelt journey inside a father’s mind struggling with aphasia, a poetic exploration of life, following a boy’s quest to collect the voices of memories, interactive pieces highlighting the influence of bystander actions and going on an odyssey from galaxies to coral reefs, guided by a lonely shrimp. Participatory experiences that confront inner hardships and their remedies all through the immersive power of VR. From dream-inspired drawings to the incorporation of dream sounds into music and the belief in dream lessons, the program showcases diverse narratives. Explore a multiplayer installation offering a unique twist on the exquisite corpse concept within virtual reality and an anti-war tribute searching for peace within an online war game. How Artificial Intelligence can bridge our connection with nature, decoding the unique languages of animals and plants.

Join us in redefining the future of storytelling.

VR@Animateka Competition

Flow VR

Directed by: Adriaan Lokman
Short synopsis:

Flow invites you to surrender to the whims of the wind on a seemingly ordinary day, concealing within its turbulence a captivating night in the life of a woman, portrayed through the dance of air currents. The interplay of scents, warmth, respiration, and both natural and artificial gusts of wind, influenced by invisible forces, renders the imperceptible tangible. These atmospheric movements unveil a sequence of events inviting us to follow the woman on her meanderings, plunging us into a realm crafted entirely from air. However, as the storm subsides and the woman awakens from what transpires to have been a dream, her world is no longer the same.

Missing 10 Hours

Directed by: Fanni Fazakas
Short synopsis:

How could it have happened, in a public space and in the company of people who call themselves friends? This is the question that always arises in response to yet another news story about date rape. But rape cases like this often involve more people than just the perpetrator and the victim. Missing 10 Hours makes you realize how much the decision and actions of bystanders can drastically influence the course of an evening.
In this interactive VR piece, the viewer is led on a night out by Greg, a big-headed guy with bad intentions. He spikes 22-year-old Mara’s drink with the drug GHB, and she gradually loses control of her actions. A walk through the night ends in a backstreet, where Greg maneuvers Mara into a dark corner. The choices the viewer makes during the evening—go along with Greg, watch passively or intervene—determine the outcome: a safe ending, or arrest and questioning at the police station.

Omračitev / Tmání / Darkening

Directed by: Ondřej Moravec
Short synopsis:

How is the world perceived by someone with depression? The animated immersive film uses virtual reality to address depression and the ways to cope with it. Director and protagonist Ondřej guides us through diverse landscapes associating the story of his struggle with depression since puberty. We share his feelings during the first depressive episodes at a family trip in his childhood, at university when striving for perfect results, at work in his everyday fights with the depressive “darkening”. Through animation, combining a stylized form of Ondřej’s environment and abstract images of his emotions, the viewers will experience and understand what it is like to live with this illness, how to tackle it and what mechanisms are used by people with depression to feel better. Most of the interactions are voice controlled. The main character Ondřej finds out that his tool to get the depression under control is his voice. He uses humming, singing and even shouting as a calming and relieving technique.

Kabaret

Directed by: Gina Thorstensen
Short synopsis:

Kabaret is an interactive VR experience about synchronized coral spawning, and a singing shrimp’s worries about the future. It’s a playful and explorative journey from the edge of our galaxy to the depths of our oceans. We strum out a chime on glowing phytoplankton, swim through a portal of seafood aspic – the titular “Kabaret”, a dish once popular in Norway – and are carried by the moon to a coral reef in mating season. But all is not well here. Can we help save the coral’s yearly spawning? Part musical, part documentary, Kabaret invites us to indulge our curiosity of the natural world, and reflect on our relationship to it.

Short synopsis:

What lives in the ears of a lonely boy? And why in a boy's ear?
Every day the boy dug in the dirt and collected what he found in a cookie tin. In his notebook, he recorded his life and the lonely voices of the things he found. Behind his ears lived four musicians and two shrimps that lived in a lace-shaped kairou-dou hole. They encouraged the boy by playing and dancing whenever he shed a tear. In return, he would shake the cookie tin filled with found objects. In this way, the boy grew up.
As an adult, the boy became a salesman selling hearing aids and no longer picked up lonely voices or shed tears. One day, he saw a brooch on TV news, a handmade bird brooch found in a Japanese American internment camp, and was fascinated by it. What did he find there?

Cesar / Empereur / Emperor

Directed by: Marion Burger, Illan J. Cohen
Short synopsis:

Emperor is an interactive and narrative experience in virtual reality that invites the user to travel inside the brain of a father suffering from aphasia. It is the story of a man who’s lost his ability to speak, and of the daughter trying to communicate with him. It is the story of a woman who wasn’t given the chance to know the man behind her father, now obscured by this illness. As she tries to piece together what remains of his language, she discovers that his relationship to words is connected to his memories. The memories of an entire lifetime... Step by step, clue after clue, we will dive alongside her into the inner world of this man, in an attempt to decipher the story he can no longer tell us. In a monochrome aesthetic, close to traditional animation, this personal story is told as a journey with surreal overtones, exploring aphasia as a faraway land. Empereur is a poetic experience of the loss of one’s faculties, of the passing of time, and of the bonds that, despite everything, remain.

VR@Animateka Hors concours

Making Art In My Dreams 

Leena Jääskeläinen

Finland, VR Documentary, 2023, 15′

What do artists dream about? Repressed androids, trees full of panthers, surreal cities – their work. And a lot of times their work is influenced by dreams. A theremin player, a painter, and a poet share their inner worlds in a documentary in virtual reality. Arina Baranova is at the beginning of her career as a visual and performance artist. She has had periods of time when she bases all of her drawings on her dreams. Sometimes, if she feels stuck with a picture, she takes a break, and sees a solution the next night. Susanna Viljanmaa is truly multitalented! She’s a theremin player and a composer of electronic music, she also does illustrations, and is a skilled 3D-modeller. Susanna’s dreams are filled with sounds and tunes, and she incorporates them in her music.

Donna Owindi is a writer, poet and natural healer. She believes that dreams teach valuable lessons, and it is important to remember them. That is one reason she keeps a dream diary. The other one is that she feels dream journaling helps her artistry.

Featured XR Artist: Leena Jääskeläinen

Leena Jääskeläinen is a Helsinki-based animation filmmaker and a media artist with a passion for different forms of storytelling. In her opinion, virtual reality gives great freedom, as the story is not tied to a beginning, a middle part or an ending. Things can just exist and happen in a place!

Mixed Signals AR

Kennedy+Swan

Germany, AR Book, 2023, 15’

How can something technical like Artificial Intelligence – so often associated with our alienation from Nature – help us listen to and communicate with non-human beings?

Upon closer examination, most animals and even plants have their own unique forms of communication – languages that we’re only beginning to decode with modern technology. Yet, the real question remains: Is humanity prepared to embrace the profound insights offered by Nature’s own sonic dialogues?

VR Exquisite Corpse

Various artists

VR Multiplayer Installation, 2023, 10’

Step into immersive worlds of a multiplayer installation featuring a collaborative artistic journey. Various artists came together to explore the boundaries of creativity, offering a unique twist on the exquisite corpse concept within the realm of virtual reality.

How to Disappear

Total Refusal

Austria, 2020, 21’

An anti-war movie in the true sense of the word, How to Disappear searches for possibilities of peace in the most unlikely place of an online war game. It’s a tribute to disobedience and desertion – in both digital and physical-real warfare.