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VR “Nightsss” Created by Our Lecturers to Premiere at Sundance Festival

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VR “Nightsss” Created by Our Lecturers to Premiere at Sundance Festival

We are extremely proud to announce that a VR animation “Nightsss”, directed by Weronika Lewandowska, Ph.D. and Sandra Frydrysiak, Ph.D. from SWPS University’s Department of Cultural Studies and School of Ideas will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, the largest and most prestigious festival of independent cinema in the world. The animation created by our lecturers will be screened in the New Frontiers category as one of 14 films selected from hundreds of sbumissions from around the world. This is the first Polish VR animation submitted and accepted to the Festival. Sincere congratulations!

"Nightsss" – Immersive Sensual Experience

“Nightsss”, created by two first-time directors Weronika Lewandowska and Sandra Frydrysiak, is a virtual erotic poem, developed at the Visual Narrative Lab (vnLab) of the Lodz Film School, in Poland. Thanks to VR goggles, the audience of the Sundance festival will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in an interactive 3D experience of dance and poetry.

See the trailer:

VR Nightsss (Trailer) from Weronika Maja Lewandowska on Vimeo.

The script of the 7-minute experimental animation, was inspired by a slam poem by Weronika Lewandowska, where she employs onomatopoeia, using sounds characteristic for the Polish language, to create visuals that break language barriers. The directors were also inspired by a research project, conducted at SWPS University, focused on perception of dance and movement in Virtual Reality, which was part of their doctoral dissertations. Weronika Lewandowska focused on an immersive experience in performative art practice, while Sandra Frydrysiak researched dance as a cognitive practice in the context of new technologies and neuroscience.

Meet the Directors:

– “Nightsss” is a very sensual and embodied experience of poetry. We offer international audience an immersion in the sound structure of the Polish language. We have designed interactions with a poem that, thanks to hand movements in the VR environment, enable the immersed person to ‘play’ on the vocal layer,” says Weronika Lewandowska..

– “In the 'Nightsss" world, we also meet a dancing figure, who invites us to explore the virtual space and simultaneously develop kinetic empathy. The players intuitively mimic the movements of the figure, and when they move, the level of the VR immersion increases - there is scientific proof for this phenomenon,” adds the researcher.

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More about the VR „Nightsss” »

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Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival, established in 1978 in the United States, is the largest and most prestigious festival of independent film. This year, Sundance focuses on equality and diversity. According to the organizers, half of all the films accepted to the festival, i.e. as much as 70 movies, were directed by women, while six films were created by one or more non-binary persons. 71 films were directed by one or more persons of color, and 21 by one or more people, who identify as LGBTQ+.

During the festival, close to 140 films and VR/AR/XR experiences, selected from over 14,000 submissions from around the world, will be presented to an international audience. “Nightsss” will be shown as part of the “New Frontier” category, presenting innovative ways of storytelling that make use of new technologies. The VR experience created by Weronika Lewandowska and Sandra Frydrusiak is the first Polish VR production presented at Sundance.

This year’s edition of the Sundance Film Festival will take place from January 28th to February 3rd on the Internet and at the selected movie theatres in the United States. Tickets are available via the Festival's website ».

258 Weronika Lewandowska

Weronika Lewandowska, Ph.D. – is the director, screen writer, and the executive producer of the “Nightsss” VR experience. Weronika holds a doctoral degree in humanities. She researches new and digital ways of storytelling. She is also a spoken word poet and performer. Her poem “Nightsss”, which she performed at slam poetry events in over 20 countries on three continents, has been translated into 13 languages. For example, the poem was presented at ”The Liberated Voice – Sound Poetry” event at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2019) that showcased the most important phenomena and sound poetry of the 20th and the 21st centuries. In 2020, Weronika was awarded the Bazaar Festival/Cross Attic art fellowship provided by the International Visegrad Fund, which allowed her to focus on the application of the 360° technology in live performance in Prague. She is also a recipient of an art scholarship, granted by the City of Warsaw (2021). She teaches creative writing, digital storytelling and performance.

258 Sandra Frydrysiak

Sandra Frydrysiak, Ph.D. – is Assistant Professor at the Department of Cultural Studies at SWPS University in Warsaw, is a director and screen writer of the “Nightsss” VR experience. She holds a doctoral degree in humanities and cultural studies. Her research focuses on new media, dance studies, and gender studies. She has written a book on “Taniec w sprzężeniu nauk i technologii. Nowe perspektywy w badaniach tańca” (Dance in the Recursion with Science and Technology. New Perspectives in Dance Research) (2017). She is a member of the Interdisciplinary Humanities/Art/Technology Research Center at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Sandra is also an antidiscrimination educator, specializing in gender mainstreaming, and a supervisor of the “MyGender” Research Club at SWPS University. More information »

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