Artists are always searching for ways how to best showcase their work. Or, let me rephrase that, for a format that provides the best fit for one’s art.
For me, I think I’ve found that perfect fit in the Fulldome format.
For those unfamiliar with the term, it related to the immersive format usually associated with Planetariums and similar Dome theaters.
This summer, I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to create an exhibition in the digital art gallery Artechouse in Washington D.C. Usually being branded as an interactive gallery, we chose a more immersive approach. Apart from 8 VR stations that could be used to watch all my Virtual Reality work, the centerpiece of the exhibit was a 270° projection screen, for which I created a 21-minute film.
People would be able to sit in beanbags in order to immerse themselves in the fractal worlds.
After receiving many positive reactions from visitors, I was convinced that this large-screen immersive format works well, which is why I have been focusing on Fulldome for my latest film, A Strange Travelogue.
What is the Fulldome format exactly?
Imagine completely immersing yourself in fractal space. There’s shapes and formulas around you, 360 degrees. Like in VR.
Now imagine cutting that space in half, and you’re left with a dome, that encompasses 180 degrees of your vision. Usually in a dome theater, this dome fills the roof and the walls, leaving only the floor unprojected. When sitting in a chair or beanbag, looking up, you’ll have the sensation of actually being in this massive space between the fractals.
Isn’t this the same as VR? If VR is 360 degrees, and Fulldome is only 180, why not render for VR?
VR has two major disadvantages. One is that the resolution isn’t that high, so many of the fractal detail gets lost. Fulldome goes as high as you like. The other is that VR is always a solitary experience that can’t really be enjoyed together.
For me, dome theaters are magical temples – movie theaters dedicated to astronomy, science and art. What more could you ask for?
This isn’t the first time I’ve worked with the format. In 2015, the SAT in Montreal contacted me if I was interested in re-rendering my VR film The Cryogenian in Fulldome. Also, earlier this year, I collaborated with Infinity Marketing and artists such as Beeple and Teun van der Zalm on a Fulldome piece at the Coachella Arts and Music festival.
A STRANGE TRAVELOGUE
My new film isn’t fully finished, as I want to change scenes here and there, and the music has yet to be composed. I’m talking to David Levy for this. He created the music for “Fraktaal” and the exhibition “Fractal Worlds” in DC. Yet I’ve organized several pre-screenings in Moscow, LA and Miami.
Since it’s the first time I’m creating a Fulldome-only film, I’m still searching for the perfect timing and pacing. I hope to perfect this in future versions of the film, and future dome films.