The Bartlett School of Architecture


Where the Waves Conspire

Alfredo J Lopez Nieves

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Where the Waves Conspire is a cinematic virtual reality (VR) experience allowing the viewer to interact with the narrative of the film. Using a head-mounted display (HMD), the VR film follows a middle-aged man’s voyage into a dreamlike world. The viewer’s movement within the cinematic virtual environment sets the film in motion.  

The enthralling impression of film which overwhelmed the audiences of the 1930s can be explained by the universal delight of witnessing something truly novel. Since then, cinema has not been able to sustain its ability to amaze audiences to the same extent as a new and original phenomenon. One challenge for contemporary cinema is thus to once again experiment with its methods to allow filmmakers to communicate as fully as possible their unique perception of the world and enchant audiences anew. Virtual reality technology offers hitherto unrivalled possibilities.

In addition to the production of a cinematic virtual reality experience, the project also results in an exploratory tool and assembles an archive that strives to collect moments of novelty in VR cinema’s admittedly relatively short history. The film is constructed in an innovative manner by immersively drawing scenes and controlling camera moves using virtual reality devices and applications. The cinematic environment is constructed using an array of specifically recorded photographs and videos which are crafted and grafted into hybrid mixed-media manipulations to forge the embodied atmosphere and experiential depth that the filmmaker aims to communicate. Where the Waves Conspire is a truly cinematic experience which has a cohesive internal logic and evolution which responds sensitively to the movements made by the viewer, achieving a deep sense of presence in this otherworldly environment.