As is the case with most film festivals, the main area of Venice Film Festival was shaped by petty gossip, celebrity culture, and directors more concerned with getting invited to Valentino parties than watching films – and debating who spat on who.
Meanwhile, Venice Immersive Island had a totally different vibe. Creators were nerdy and actually excited by what they were doing. There is more freedom and room for experimentation within VR as an industry, due to it being in an embryonic stage.
For example, emerging producer Ecegül Bayram, from Turkish creative studio Institute of Time, and creator Sjoerd van Acker, brought Elele to Venice Immersive. In Elele, your movements are tracked in real-time, as you choreograph a dance with another unknown user, using just your hands. The dance is accompanied by an original techno score composed by renowned musician Max Cooper, in a trippy 360 degree world with psychedelic colours and surrealist shapes. Elele just shows how VR is capable of creating experiences which cinema cannot, especially in how we can engage with other people.
When we imagine the metaverse beyond white, capitalist and patriarchal parameters, AKA how it is fed to us on our newsfeeds, the possibilities could be more akin to an inter connected utopia. There is an increasingly growing community of WOC virtual reality (VR) creators who are breaking-down myths around their profession, with the aim to educate young women on how to control their tech, and take charge of their futures.