Bodyless was one of my favorite VR experiences that I saw at the Venice International Film Festival. The experience was the most like walking into someone else’s dream that I’ve ever had in VR. The experience alternated between an on-rails guided journey mixed with some open-ended exploration where you could raise your hands and point them in a direction in order to fly around. Director Hsin-Chien Huang is from Taiwan, and he uses the medium of virtual reality in order to metaphorically explore his childhood of growing up during martial law in Taiwan as well as sharing ancestral rituals that are a part of the cultural heritage of Taiwanese culture.
I had a chance to catch up with Hsin-Chien Huang at the Venice International Film Festival where we talked about his journey into VR, and we unpack many of the personal and cultural metaphors that he included within Bodyless. The experience stood on it’s own without having to know about the deeper meaning behind all of the metaphors and symbols that he included, but it also provided an embodied and experiential context in order to connect deeper about his history and culture. There’s also a lot of interesting virtual reality work that is coming out of Taiwan, which was recently summarized by Variety. If you have a chance to see Bodyless, then I highly recommend it as I think that there’s a lot of interesting uses of metaphor, dream logic, and the flying mechanism is particularly effective.
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