''LOOKOUT'' - VR Production for BBC Arts
Future Artists are an established creative collective who specialize in producing original art and immersive experiences and events from their HQ in Manchester.
In 2019, the company was commissioned to work on LOOKOUT - a BBC Arts New Creatives project, inspired by up-and-coming, Leeds-based artist, Marnie Simpson.
Rather than make a traditional short film, however, Marnie approached Future Artists to create an immersive Virtual Reality experience. She sought to create an engaging, dramatized illustration of what life might look like following decades of hyper-urbanization, incessant consumerism, and the constant promise of ‘more’ simultaneously churned out by governments and corporations alike.
“We needed someone who could produce a high-quality piece of VR. Someone we could trust bring the artists vision to life, seamlessly, and within a reasonable timeframe. We were told by someone in the know that Keith was that person.” - Mark Ashmore, Future Artists founder.
BBC Arts New Creatives Project
Unfortunately because of the COVID-19 pandemic, what was supposed to be a project created and presented to audiences in-person, became a project managed and distributed virtually.
Our company director, Keith Myers, was responsible for working remotely with a multidisciplinary team of artists – including sound designers, illustrators, graphic designers, and game developers - to pull the many different elements of this experience together in the game engine, Unity.
In game footage
The result of this remote work, conducted over (how many?) weeks was LOOKOUT – a bright and colourful, virtual world with a dark, satirical undertone.
The experience is presented as an advert commissioned by the imaginary political party, ‘GovCorp’, to give you – the resident - a taste of your future city life, which it promises “you will love.”
As users are led through the city by the ‘GovCorp guide’ - a cheery robot spokesperson for the dystopian government - they’re met with scenes of frantic shoppers, compulsive workers, and caffeine-addicted consumers.
And although users have no control over the content’s direction, the lifelike 3D imagery and 360 surround-sound still makes LOOKOUT a highly immersive experience. Not only that, but by addressing the audience directly throughout, the GovCorp ad puts users at the heart of the narrative which nudges them to consider the consequences of intensifying capitalism, consumerism, climate change, the imbalance of power in society, and the notion of ‘free will’.
To experience the LOOKOUT for yourself, click here.
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