Your brain can fuse together so many different layers of reality so seamlessly that it’s quite flexible and capable of blending the digital and the real in a way that will soon be completely indistinguishable. The Dial at Sundance New Frontier blends together a physical installation with projection mapping on to a house on a table, and then audience members watch a narrative through a phone-based AR window. He’s also blending direction audio of dialogue through bone conductance headphones, and blending together a dynamic soundtrack with quadraphonic sound. It’s also a social experience in that there is one navigator and two passengers who are watching the experience, and the navigator controls the flow of the authored narrative by walking forward or backwards. There’s a lot of technological innovation that’s happening within The Dial, and director Peter Flaherty has thought deeply about the implications of storytelling with AR and produced one of the most technically-sophisticated experiences showing in all of Sundance New Frontier this year. I had a chance to have an extended conversation where we were able to unpack many of the challenges that Flaherty Pictures & Nightlight Labs had to overcome, lessons learned from immersive theater, the open questions about spatial storytelling and augmented reality, and how to seamlessly blend together many different layers of digital reality.
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Photo by RYOT.
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