A sensual VR experience of poetry, dance, and nature

by Weronika Lewandowska & Sandra Frydrysiak 
6 DOF VR interactive, 20 min, 2020

VR piece Nightsss is a virtual erotic poem. A few minutes of artistic animation with ASMR and interactive elements immerses the viewer in the sensual experience of poetry and dance. Nightsss's script was based on a piece of the spoken word poet Weronika Lewandowska. The artist uses sounds characteristic of the Polish language, creating onomatopoeic landscapes that cross language barriers. The spatially composed poet’s voice takes the immersant to a virtual night environment in which one meets a dancing character. The dancer's organic movements blend with her virtual body.

The character is once a poem and loses its materiality, and in a moment splits into other forms. Other times – it condenses so that hundreds of drops can illuminate the flora and bring out the color from the night scenery. Still another time – it takes on a human form that "passes" through the body of the immersant, and then disintegrates into particles of fluidized substance with unreal behavior.

The night pulsates with a rhythmic space of sounds and movements, it is looped in words. Immersant sees his/her hands in the created world which serves as an anchor, allowing for small interactions.

The creators have used the potential of combining different qualities that can be applied to virtual space – generative forms that have organic movement, and organic forms that exceed the limits of predictable motorics, gravity and matter (just like imaginary objects). Nightsss integrates many sensual experiences with metaphor and language game – thus playing with the perception of the immersant and constructing a synesthesia environment. Dance and choreography in a transmedia spirit transform the poem, exploring its new dimensions. The character “dances” the poem, but also builds up new meanings to it. The relationship between the immersant, the poem, interactive sound space, dynamically changing image, movement of the character and objects of the night – creates a unique experience.

Rhythmic transformation ends in a daytime environment that brings meditative space for reflection on one's body and movement in virtual space. After many transformations we can stand for a moment in front of the large virtual Sun and absorb its heat, resonating not only in our virtual body.

Nightsss explores the possibilities of VR storytelling and dance in the context of the changing perception of technologically created spatial experiences and the development of the kinetic empathy of the immersant in the embodied experience of virtual space. The animation was made in 6 DOF on Oculus Rift S as part of vnLab projects at the Film School in Łódź. It has premiered at 2021 Sundance Film Festival and got a Best VR Sound Design award at 2021 Cinequest Film Festival.


Artist Bio

Weronika Lewandowska, Ph.D. – is the director, screenwriter, and the executive producer of the “Nightsss” VR experience. Weronika holds a doctoral degree in humanities. She researches new and digital ways of storytelling. She is also a spoken word poet and performer. Her poem “Nightsss”, which she performed at slam poetry events in over 20 countries on three continents, has been translated into 13 languages. For example, the poem was presented at ”The Liberated Voice – Sound Poetry” event at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2019) that showcased the most important phenomena and sound poetry of the 20th and the 21st centuries. In 2020, Weronika was awarded the Bazaar Festival/Cross Attic art fellowship provided by the International Visegrad Fund, which allowed her to focus on the application of the 360° technology in live performance in Prague. She is also a recipient of an art scholarship, granted by the City of Warsaw (2021). She teaches creative writing, digital storytelling and performance.

Sandra Frydrysiak, Ph.D. –
is Assistant Professor at the Department of Cultural Studies at SWPS University in Warsaw, is a director and screenwriter of the “Nightsss” VR experience. She holds a doctoral degree in humanities and cultural studies. Her research focuses on new media, dance studies, and gender studies. She has written a book on “Taniec w sprzężeniu nauk i technologii. Nowe perspektywy w badaniach tańca” (Dance in the Coupling with Science and Technology. New Perspectives in Dance Research) (2017). She is a member of the Interdisciplinary Humanities/Art/Technology Research Center at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Sandra is also a feminist, social activist, and antidiscrimination educator. She researches the category of sisterhood,  women strikes in Poland and the perception of the dance movement in virtual reality.

Producers: Krzysztof Franek, Krzysztof Pijarski,
Pola Borkiewicz, Jacek Nagłowski
Production: Film School in Łódź, Visual Narratives
Laboratory (vnLab), VR/AR Studio
Executive Producer: Weronika Lewandowska
Production collaboration: Anna Piekarska-Szczerba

Poem Translation: Bohdan Piasecki
Reading of Translation: Sandra Frydrysiak
Motion Capture: Roman Savchenko, Sławek Tejkowski
360° Camera Consultation: Wojciech Olchowski
Stunt Coordination: SAS-RIG Antigravity: Andrzej
Słomiński, Piotr Nowacki, Tadeusz Perkowski
Choreography: Kaya Kołodziejczyk
Research Supervisor: Sandra Frydrysiak
Audio Production: Emma Production
The sound was recorded in #Venice Bitch#
Voice recorded at Black Kiss Studio
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