A Heightened Sense of Presence

BRIEF. The hybrid installation "Separate Silences" combines sensory input and live-action VR to create an experience of slowly waking up after a coma. Venice Virtual Reality Competition 2017.

"Separate Silences," taking place in a theatre-like environment, combines multiple points of view, physical stimulation and traditional film formats to achieve a heightened sense of presence.

The story revolves around two siblings, who are each in a coma, constantly floating between different perceptions of worlds within themselves and the hospital they are kept in. The viewer, wearing a VR headset, takes on the role of one of the two siblings, inhabiting his or her mind during the 21-minute performance. Through synchronised effects of touch and smell, sensations and visuals combine. What ever may happen to the virtual body will also happen to the corporal body. 

The VR installation is created by five film students from the Film & Transmedia programme at VIA University College in Aarhus, Denmark, as their graduation project:

Maria Herholdt Engermann is VR Experience Designer, and Signe Ungermand is VR Technical Artist. David Wedel wrote and directed, and producer is Mette Alsen Vittrup. Communication manager & PA is Amalie Grynderup Kroun.

Two of the group members, Maria Herholdt Engermann and Signe Ungermand, have been specialising in VR and new media storytelling for the last couple of years. After graduating in January 2017, they founded the VR company MANND, who is distributing "Separate Silences."

MANND has received support from the Danish Film Institute and the regional film and media center in Western Denmark, Filmby Aarhus, and VIA Business.

Read more about MANND

This is a revised version of an update published in May for the Cannes Festival.

Festival competition

"Separate Silences" is selected for the Virtual Reality Competition at the Venice Film Festival (30 August – 9 September).

Watch trailer