#1155: Polymorf’s Multi-Sensory “Symbiosis” Explores Speculative Futures Inspired by Philosopher Donna Haraway

Polymorf’s Symbiosis is a multi-sensory VR experience that uses soft-body haptics, a bespoke, microdose smell dispersal system, and different tastes. The piece debuted at IDFA DocLab 2021 (see my previous interview here), and it has a sold out run in Portland, Oregon from November 12 to February 12 at the Portland Art Museum’s Center for an Untold Tomorrow (PAM CUT). There are 6 different characters that you can embody in this “speculative fabulation” inspired by the last chapter of Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble book where she suggests that humans start to combine the DNA of endangered species into humans in order to cultivate a deeper kinship with the world around us. Polymorf takes this idea to the logical extreme as you embodied these human animal/hybrids in the distant future. I had a chance to experience 3 of the 6 different characters at the PAM CUT press preview, and then catch up with the co-creators Marcel van Brakel and Mark Meeuwenoord during my trip to IDFA DocLab 2022 in Amsterdam to unpack their journey, process, and some of my experiential design feedback and critiques.

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Music: Fatality