Punchdrunk is a 20 year-old immersive theater company who likes to blur the line between what’s real and what’s an imaginal dream-like storyworld. They collaborated with Samsung in 2016 to create a blend of immersive theater and virtual reality in an experience called Believe Your Eyes. The Phi Centre sponsored a VR Gallery at Venice, which included VR experiences by a number of contemporary artists as well as Punchdrunk’s Believe Your Eyes.
I was able to catch up with one of the directors and co-creators of Believe Your Eyes Kath Duggan in Venice to talk about their experiential design process, some of the cinematic and embodied language they use to communicate with each other, and how they’re committed to putting the audience at the center of the experience while continuing to blur the lines between what’s real and what’s a dream-like fiction. She says that dreams are an associative, non-linear structure of experience that people are comfortable with the fragmented and cut-up nature of, and a lot of the work of Punchdrunk aims to try to replicate that dream-like quality of presence.
This conversation is spoiler-free for the experience of Believe Your Eyes as we try to abstract out the deeper experiential design principles that Punchdrunk uses.
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