Estelle Van Warmelow Updates Us On Her & Antonia Koop's Development Bursary Project

After several meetings with Antonia where we cross-referenced what works for VR with ideas for site-inspired script content, I drafted a piece that would be process-led. Deliberately crafting an event that is designed to evoke a variety of emotional responses while bringing to life an ancient site through rich text, immersive experience and imaginative sound design, we have designed the piece as ’transformative’ ie one that would work to incite wellbeing as a secondary benefit.

As a theatre practitioner, I felt massively out of my depth in the world of VR and it took ages to write what was originally thought of as a 5-10 minute piece and somewhat inevitably has ended up over 20 minutes… It is ambitious but will ultimately be much more satisfying than a 5 minute version. At first draft I ran it past Antonia and her Corncutter team for feedback and further VR guidance (largely exploring the crossover point between imagination and VR). Two drafts later, it was more or less VR-friendly and last Monday I spent the day with our sound designer Anthony Murphy recording the vocal, defining structure, ambience, arc and identifying sound effects (as well as discussing subjects like Uncanny Valley, remote viewing, the relevance of musical keys on emotion etc…!) That’s where we are at the moment, waiting for Murphy to weave it all together through his magical soundscaping abilities.

So far it’s been a fascinating and difficult process and I’ve learnt a ton of stuff I never thought about before. As Feral is a site-inspired company I’m intrigued to see how we can use the art of the Virtual world to access (even enhance) the real one, history and all. Once Murphy’s worked it up to the next level we’ll ping it back to Corncutter for reflection, feedback and VR development but I genuinely think that with the combination of skills involved it has the potential to be a truly unique project with potential for significant further development.

Grant Black