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Swiss startups stir up public excitement

26.01.2018 11:50

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Javier Bello Ruiz and Mike Shinoda

Visitors at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah (US) can barely wait to experiment with Swiss made VR creations. Two Swiss startups: Imverse with the documentary Elastic time and Artanim with its VR_1 virtual dance are showcasing their innovations. The two have also sparked interest from celebrities and renowned companies including Facebook and Intel.

Organised by the Sundance Institute, the Sundance Film festival is a famous event that showcases a curated collection of cutting-edge independent experimental media works at its "New Frontier exhibition". Two Swiss projects, Elastic Time by Imverse SA and Mark Boulos, and VR_I from Cie Gilles Jobin and Artanim, were selected alongside an international group of ground-breaking VR and Mixed-Reality projects at the festival.

Elastic Time – is a mixed-reality interactive documentary about space-time narrated by astronomer Tony Stark (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics). It includes a real-time hologram of the user’s body integrated into an observatory room. Using controllers, the user can bend space and time to their will, creating black holes, wormholes, and time portals. Elastic time was created and produced by Imverse SA, a spin-off from EPFL, developing software and providing services for photorealistic Mixed Reality content creation, and written and directed by Mark Boulos.

VR_I – is a 100% virtual dance piece in which five spectators are immersed, in real time, within a virtual space. Immersive and contemplative, the performance invites viewers (or rather their avatars) to follow their own point of view. This unique installation addresses the user’s perception of reality and own ability to adapt instantly to possible worlds—worlds that they accept as long as they meet certain criteria of our reality.

The performance is Swiss-made and was created by Cie Gilles Jobin and Artanim, both from Geneva. As pioneer in its field, Artanim has created an innovative system which ranks as a leader in virtual reality technology, while Cie Gilles Jobin has been producing original artistic content recognised across the world for 20 years.

Great interest
Both projects arouse keen interest at the Sundance Film Festival not least because of the support of the DART 17 program.  Imverse is currently one of the start-ups in the DART 17 program. Prior to the film festival, Sophie Lamparter and Arijana Walcott who are leading DART 17 have actively contacted potential partners for the Swiss start-ups. “Since the opening day of the event, the two founders of Imverse have received requests from Intel, Facebook, Paramount, Technicolor, Techrunch and various US investors” says Sophie Lamparter, Co-Founder of DART 17.

Artanim is attracting visitors attention because of their deal with Dreamscape Immersive, a U.S. company backed by backed by Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Steven Spielberg. Dreamscape will use Artanim's technology for VR multiplex cinemas. “The Sundance crowd is lining up for the Artanim project, partly because they all want to try the Swiss technology that Hollywood has bought for so much money", added Lamparter.

DART 17 and the participation of the start-ups at the Sundance Film Festival have been supported by Engagement Migros, Pro Helvetia and swissnex San Francisco.

In the video, musicians M.I.A and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park experiment with Elastic Time

Picture: Javier Bello Ruiz (l) and Mike Shinoda (r)


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