Falling in love and dying at IDFA DocLab
For 10 days Amsterdam is all about the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). I visited the DocLab Expo: Seamless Reality. The mission of IDFA DocLab is to “showcase interactive documentaries and other new digital artforms that succesfully push the boundaries of documentary storytelling in the age of the interface.” Sounds interesting, right? You will find all kinds of digital non-fiction experiences, ranging from interactive stories and data art to multimedia journalism, immersive installations and virtual reality projects. These are three project that I really liked:
LoVR is a four-minute virtual reality experience about the staggering moment that you fall in love. Creator Aaron Bradbury not only wants to show us what the brain does when it’s in love, but he also wants us to feel it. I followed the abstract visualization (as seen in the image above), with the music raising my heartbeat and the magnifying images opening my eyes. I thought this would never work, but I have to say it really made me feel as if I was falling in love! LoVR made me think of something John Green wrote: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep. Slowly, and then all at once.”
In this installation you and another person sit across each other with transparent glass in between. A Chinese man who was poisoned while manufacturing Apple screens contacts you through your shiny screen. Because the video is shown as a reflection on the glass, the face of the Chinese man merges with face of the person sitting opposite. It’s an impressive way to show this sad story.
Ever wanted to know what it feels like to be inside a mortuary cabinet? At Doclab you have the opportunity to be shoved into one of these things for four minutes. In complete darkness, you’ll hear and smell what John F. Kennedy or Gaddafi experienced right before their death. Kind of freaky.
I’ve been wandering around the expo for a few hours, watching, playing and experiencing a lot of different projects. I can really recommend you to go and check it out. You can visit Seamless Reality at de Brakke Grond until sunday. Oh, and it’s free!