The Festival, in partnership with the Goethe Institut Johannesburg, is delighted to announce our second edition of Virtual Encounters – an exhibition of creative multi-platform, documentary storytelling. Ingrid Kopp has again curated a spectacle of award-winning Virtual Reality, Interactive and documentary video games.
119 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood, Johannesburg
Exhibition Opening Hours
2 June 10am – 8pm
3 June 10am – 6pm
4 June 10am – 6pm
The American Corner, Cape Town
Central Library, Cnr Darling & Parade Street Cape Town
Exhibition Opening Hours
8 June 10pm – 8pm
9 June 10am – 6pm
10 June 10am – 4pm
Virtual Reality is no longer in its infancy. Filmmakers and artists working in VR are growing in confidence. They are playing with the form, testing the boundaries and, most exciting for us, we are starting to see more work coming out of the Global South. For the second Virtual Encounters we are pleased to present the first four projects to come out of New Dimensions, an initiative to support VR work across Africa. It is fascinating to see how non-fiction is being interpreted in VR but we are also interested in how documentary works across other platforms, from the interactive projects of Al Jazeera to non-linear films like The Maribor Uprisings to serious games like Vukuzenzele. Join us at Virtual Encounters to explore the frontiers of non-fiction storytelling.
Let This Be A Warning
Creator: The Nest Collective
A group of Africans have left the Earth to create a colony on a distant planet. They respond with disquiet to the arrival of an uninvited guest.
The Other Dakar
Creator: Selly Raby Kane
A little girl is chosen to discover the invisible Dakar.
Creator: Ng’endo Mukii
Two women and a man wrangle. Each must hollow out the other’s core for fruits promised but only ever borne in dreams. A poetic symphony on Nairobi.
Creator: Jonathan Dotse
VR documentary which explores the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra.
We Who Remain
Creator: Trevor Snapp, Sam Wolfson
An immersive virtual reality film that takes the viewer into the heart of the conflict in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan during an active fighting season. The film weaves together the lives of four people – a student, a rebel soldier, a journalist, and a mother – who struggle to improve their lives in the midst of a relentless war.
Creators: Yasmin Elayat, Elie Zananiri
This chilling documentary tells the story of the cyber weapon Stuxnet, a piece of self-replicating computer malware hatched during a clandestine mission by the U.S. and Israel to sabotage an underground Iranian nuclear facility. Told from the perspective of Stuxnet and a key NSA informant, the story places audiences inside the invisible world of computer viruses and allows them to experience the high stakes of cyber warfare
Afripedia Dance Battle 360°
Creator: Marie Skovgaard, Senay Berhe
Afripedia – Dance Battle 360° is an encounter with some of the most advanced contemporary Street Dancers in Senegal.
This Is What The Future Looked Like
Creator: Sam Green, Gary Hustwit
A virtual reality ode to Buckminster Fuller and his signature creation, the geodesic dome. Shot on location at many of the great extant domes, including the Expo 67 Dome in Montreal as well as the dome Fuller lived in for many years in Carbondale, Illinois, This is What the Future Looked Like is a meditation on design, the utopian impulse, and the virtual reality form itself. With original music composed by Yo La Tengo.
The Fastest Ride
Creator: Jessica Edwards
How fast can a person ride a bicycle? In September 2016, cyclist Denise Mueller tried to answer that question. Mueller travelled to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah with a customized bike and a supercharged Range Rover. Her support team, made up of a professional race-car driver and her mentor, a 69-year-old former Olympic cyclist, shared one goal: to help her become the fastest person on a bicycle.
Creator: Darren Emerson
Great Britain is the only EU country that can detain individuals for as long as it deems fit. Immigrants seeking asylum often end up in detention centres – with no way out, not knowing when they will be released. In this psychological pressure cooker people are desperately trying to prove why they should be allowed to stay. The costs for some are dire.
Creators: Jenna Bass & Babalwa Baartman
Eziko is a virtual reality web-series, each episode inviting you into the living rooms, dinner tables and personal spaces where conversations are happening between South African womxn. Episodes 1 & 2 follow a group of friends on holiday in Paternoster, where debates range from relationships to land politics over the course of one day.
The People’s House
Creators: Paul Raphaël and Félix Lajeunesse
American presidents have a long history of using new technology to reach the people in the comfort of their homes—from radio and television to social media. Just before the end of his final term of office, President Obama used VR to take us on a personal tour of the White House. Follow Obama and Michelle inside the West Wing and Private Residences as they reflect on their time as President and First Lady of the United States of America.
Interactive Web Docs
These Memories Won’t Last
Creator: Stu Campbell
A grandpa is losing his memory. A grandson is losing his grandpa. And the world is losing the memories of an ageing generation. What can we do to ensure these memories aren’t lost? Designed as an interactive webcomic, These Memories Won’t Last fades away as you read it.
The Maribor Uprisings
Creator: Maple Razsa, Milton Guillén
In the once-prosperous industrial city of Maribor, Slovenia, anger over political corruption turns to protest and revolt. This participatory documentary places audiences in the midst of the uprising. Like those who joined the actual uprisings, audiences must decide whether to listen to organizers and remain with those committed to nonviolent protest on Freedom Square or to follow crowds toward City Hall and almost certain conflict.
The Great Animal Orchestra
Creator: Thomas Deyriès
What does an ocean sound like? Someone who knows is musician and audio artist Bernie Krause. For more than 40 years, he has been recording the sounds of nature, whether on land or in the water. This website was made as part of an exhibition held in Paris in 2016. It introduces users to five landscapes and their sounds, all of them from Krause’s archive of more than 5,000 hours of recordings.
Creator: Renderheads and iKhayalami
Vukuzenzele is a puzzle game prototype about re-imagining informal settlement layouts through the process of re-blocking (re-blocking is a community driven initiative to reconfigure a settlement layout for better access to basic services). Targeted at members of an informal settlement, the players need to upgrade, move structures around and talk to community members until the needs of everyone in the settlement are satisfied. In this way they are introduced to concept of re-blocking, and learn about the benefits through play.
AJ Investigative / Interactive Showcase
Al Jazeera Digital Producer, Ali Rae, will conduct a session on her work with Al Jazeera, with a focus on the intersection of Investigative documentary and interactive storytelling. She will shed light on the production processes behind the making of projects such as #Hacked: Syria’s Electronic War and discuss creative strategies in ‘gamifying’ investigative current affairs and documentary filmmaking.
Al Jazeera Interactive Web Docs
#Hacked: Syria’s Electronic War
Creator: Juliana Ruhfus
Launched on the 4th of October by Al Jazeera, #Hacked is a web app that invites users to investigative a deadly cyber war in Syria, while the clock is ticking. Through mobile interviews, internet searches, and investigations, users need to un-tangle a network of cyber criminals without having their own phones hacked.
Pirate Fishing – Interactive Investigation
Creators: Juliana Ruhfus & Ivan Giordano
This interactive online game from Al Jazeera places users in the role of an investigative journalist uncovering the story of illegal fishing operations off the coast of Sierra Leone.
Users learn about the multi-million dollar illegal fishing trade’s negative consequences for West Africans and gain insight into the process of investigative journalism.
Life on Hold
Creators: Reem Haddad & Dima Gharbawi Shaibani
Life on Hold presents interactive and personal portraits of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Each ones life stuck in frustrating limbo with no end in sight. Each with their own unique burden of loss to bear.