For many years Halloween celebrations have seen people dressed up in a white sheet with circles cut out for eyes. The people at Sandpit, a digital studio experimenting with the latest technologies, wanted to take that concept a little bit further.
For two weeks in November, visitors to ACMI will be able to take part in Sandpit’s Ghosts, Toasts and the Things Unsaid exhibition – a virtual reality piece put together in collaboration with Google’s Creative Lab, and digital technology laboratory Grumpy Sailor.
It invites the audience to become the ghosts of a couple, Steve and Maude, and revisit the kitchen where they fell in love, grew old, and then, finally, apart.
“It’s a universal story,” says Dan Koerner, director of Sandpit. “It is about all the things you wish you had said, all the things they never said to each other. And, over a long time, that can escalate into a problem that was never intended from the get go.”
This world that the viewer is plunged into is what sets it apart from other virtual-reality works. “When most people think of virtual reality the things that come to mind are zombie hunts or first-person shooters,” Koerner says.
The most pleasing aspect of the project for Sandpit, Koerner says, is the reaction of the participants. “People are genuinely moved by it. It is very touching and that surprises them,” he says.