March 13, 2018

The Four Worlds Is An Immersive Journey of Visual and Sonic Splendor

Filmmaker Jonathan Zawada explores the creative potential of immersive media as an Artist-in-Residency at the TEC.

  • The TEC's Artists-in-Residency program offers guidance from immersive creatives and thought leaders, as well as access to cutting-edge technology for an accelerated learning curve.
  • In The Four Worlds, four installations immerse the audience in new worlds via looping VR experiences augmented with extra-sensory stimulation.

Visual artist and filmmaker Jonathan Zawada is again collaborating with musician/producer Mark Pritchard on his latest project, The Four Worlds. This 13-minute immersive film experience by Zawada will accompany Pritchard’s new eight-track collection upon its release – as the duo continues to explore sonic geographies and reimagined landscapes, a journey first undertaken with 2016’s Under The Sun.

The Four Worlds is a co-production of Future Classic, Warp Records, and the Technicolor Experience Center (TEC). As one of the TEC’s first Artists-in-Residency, Zawada received guidance from Technicolor creatives and thought leaders, and access to technology and other resources to create The Four Worlds. Ultimately, the accelerated technical learning curve allowed Zawada to more fully explore the creative potential of immersive media.

“The TEC Artists-in-Residency program was a unique and invaluable opportunity to explore the technologies around VR and AR with the support of various highly experienced experts and passionate proponents of the medium,” said Zawada. “At this point, the technical learning curve…is almost prohibitively steep and having a space in which you can make mistakes and test ideas quickly is invaluable.”

The Four Worlds is an immersive, meditative experience with four installations comprised of looping VR experiences augmented with extra-sensory stimulation in real life (day/night cycles, wind, temperature, touch, vibration). Each scene is a microcosm of a different environment, unreal but realistically rendered with color and texture, accompanied by a track from the new Pritchard collection. It has been likened to “resting at the top of a rise and taking in a landscape after a long hike.”

“I find it very easy to get lost in the weeds with technology-based mediums…to have preconceived notions and assumptions that become hard to dispel,” explained Zawada. “Being surrounded by individuals with a diverse set of skills and areas of expertise around VR and AR gave me the chance to quickly get to the bottom of those assumptions. Having a group of passionate people around me also provided me with a source of energy and enthusiasm which was exciting to feed off, quickly helping me get past the stage of feeling buried by information to being able to see how the mediums can work with my existing art practice.”

On the TEC side, The Four Worlds experience was executive produced by Marcie Jastrow and produced by Abbey Tate and Brian Frager. Technical direction and hardware fabrication were provided by Dave Witters, with Unreal development by David Naney and Romalis Taylor.

The film by Zawada will have its premiere at SXSW (March 9-18) and Pritchard’s new album releases shortly thereafter on Warp Records (March 23).

Check out the mesmerizing clip ‘Come Let Us (feat. Gregory Whitehead)’ from The Four Worlds.


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