“Let me share with you the creatures that once belonged to these lands. The creatures of the land, the sky and even the ones from the Murky Sea. I’ve not seen any of them in my lifetime but I still believe they have existed long before the Junk Age.” – Melinda Rivet, year 2285
Held as part of the Game Changer: ACMI VR Festival on Thursday 3 November 2016, Melbourne-based artist and animator Marco Ryan created the animated short Before the Junk Age, a 360-degree immersive experience viewable in virtual reality (VR). The piece is a commentary on how our consumerisation and technological progress has been at the detriment of the natural world around us.
Already an accomplished artist and animator, with his film Clockwork Gentleman featuring in the 2011 Melbourne International Animation Festival, Ryan decided to venture into the VR field after attending the 2016 Virtual Reality Developers Conference in San Francisco USA.
“I never really wanted to settle into just one creative practice.” Ryan humbly states when asked about the breadth of his work, “I’ve always enjoyed the outcomes of self-teaching, acquiring new skill sets, being able to combine mediums and expand upon ways you can express yourself and your ideas.”
The Game Changer: ACMI VR Festival was presented by ACMI, HTC and Nvidia as part of Melbourne International Games Week, and predominantly focussed upon the plethora of emerging VR titles that are set to change how we view computer games (quite literally), but also highlights the promising future VR entertainment has beyond gaming. The only downside was that this exhibition was held for only a single day.
“Working primarily on animated projects, I was really lucky to finally explore the realm of VR this year after receiving a free development kit from Oculus.” Ryan states. By utilising VR technology, he was able to translate his intricate steampunk inspired works that are primarily created using only a ballpoint pen. Before the Junk Age took Ryan only two months to produce, adapting from a previous exhibited art series Marvels of the Junk Age.
Ryan sees an exciting future in VR entertainment and sees himself producing more VR work in the future stating that “after such an overwhelming response it’s received I’ve chosen to delve more into VR storytelling for creative projects as it’s allowed me to capture and reveal so much more detail to my stories than if I were to produce the same thing for TV.”
“VR storytelling invites the viewer to not only watch your story unfold around them but also lets them step into this world you’ve created, and as a storyteller that’s a really exciting thing to see,” added Ryan
Image: Before the Junk Age (supplied)