Kinetic Light and Double Eye Studios Announce Virtual Reality Collaboration

Kinetic Light and Double Eye Studios Announce Virtual Reality Collaboration

Internationally-recognized disability arts ensemble Kinetic Light and award-winning XR studio Double Eye Studios announce their upcoming project, Territory. Utopic and dystopic all at once, Territory is an immersive virtual reality experience centered in a future disabled world. 

Currently in development, Territory immerses the witness in a disability-centered, fantastical universe that offers encounters with boundaries, cosmic figures, dark forces, partnership, and new worlds. This new project is a reimagining of Kinetic Light’s stage production Wired, a potent aerial and contemporary dance experience that tells race, gender, and disability stories of barbed wire in the United States. Territory is directed by Kiira Benzing and Alice Sheppard; featured performers are Alice Sheppard, Laurel Lawson, and Jerron Herman, with scenography by Michael Maag, and sound design/spatial mix by Q Department, with sound technology by Mach1.

Enacted in a post-apocalyptic landscape created by human insistence on barriers and borders, Territory follows an encounter between the Guardians, Agents, and Herald of the Wire. Territory – the first equitably aesthetically accessible VR headset and dome experience of its kind – explores how the technology of barbed wire (dis)connects humans (from)/to their environment and each other. 

Expected to be available via headset and dome installation, Territory is a lush combination of immersive cinematography, dance, animation, visual effects, science fiction, and fantasy. Kinetic Light has partnered with award-winning XR company Double Eye Studios and Director Kiira Benzing to transform live disability arts performance into an accessible VR experience that surrounds the audience in movement, light, vibration, and sound. 

Territory invites us into a post-crisis world where human relations are uncertain and the landscape permanently changed,” shares Kinetic Light Founder & Artistic Director Alice Sheppard. “Dynamic aerial performance, layered grounded choreography, luxurious music, and a completely disabled universe ask us to question who we are. This is a true first-of-its-kind project, and I cannot wait to share it with the world.”

“This multi-sensory experience takes us into a liminal state where the participant at the center, the Witness, will ask questions about human existence and the boundaries humanity creates,” comments Director and Founder of Double Eye Studios Kiira Benzing. “The achievement of the production is impressive because the capture process lifted a performance composed of many individual pieces into a virtual world layered with depth that can continue to transport future audiences.” 

Access is central and generative in all Kinetic Light projects and practices. For Territory, the team is integrating its live performance, artistically equitable access practices into VR development while also creating new technology for the full-reality immersive experience. Access is in development and will include multitrack audio description, creative captioning, haptics, and more. Additional details will be available later in 2024.

Release date TBA.

Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson of Kinetic Light film Territory. Photo by Cherylynn Tsushima