Did you love the ghost train ride when you were a kid? Art director and HRTK frontwoman, Jonnine Standish, did. Now she and Photoplay director, Jasmin Tarasin, have mapped out a whole new kind of ghost train journey. A VR one.
Their Ghost Train travels through rooms of the mind and finishes with a “choose your own adventure” story that takes visitors to either purgatory or bliss. The multi-sensory carriage ride, which combines virtual reality, narrative adventure film, “ghostly” images and haunting music will feature at this year’s Sydney Festival.
The ride, which you take in a physical train carriage with a Samsung headset, will make you think about the decisions you make, showing you how in the blink of an eye you can change the entire course of your life.
The two co-creative directors originally conceived Ghost Train as a more traditional, cinematic experience – using a train, screens and projections. But the idea confronted a series of technical challenges and progress was slow. Virtual reality solved their technical issues for them and allowed the pair to create an even more immersive experience.
The ride’s theme is self-displacement and the idea of the transference of repressed energy. Overriding is a message of self-love and acceptance of all others we share the planet with equally. Its tagline is the provocative question, Can you save yourself from yourself?
Tarasin explained, “We wanted to explore a ghost train of the mind, a psychological journey that maps out how the mind works and how we make choices, so the imagery your eye focuses on, and the directions you choose to look, will make decisions on the actual course of the train ride itself.”
Instead of using the 360-camera often employed in VR, Tarasin worked with an RED camera to map out the storyboards and to ensure the project had the same cinematic aesthetic that influences her commercial film work.
Ghost Train is the first original VR concept of its kind to be developed in Australia.
The multi-platform project also shows off the works of numerous artists and is the second multi-scale installation that Tarasin has delivered for Sydney Festival. Her first installation LIVE (2011) explored the art of performance and featured musicians including Juliette Lewis, Jarvis Cocker, and Martha and Rufus Wainwright.
Photoplay executive producer, Oliver Lawrance, commented, “Jasmin is a truly interdisciplinary artist, just as comfortable with interactive platforms as film direction. She has a strong vision within which her art and commercial work both thrive and we are super pleased to see her talents come together in this highly immersive project.”
Photoplay has 20 complimentary tickets for any agency creatives or producers who’d like to attend Ghost Train at the Sydney Festival. To get yours, email Oliver Lawrance.
Creative Directors: Jasmin Tarasin & Jonnine Standish
Music: Mika Vainio & HTRK
VR Artists: Patrick Hamilton & Joe Hamilton
Technical Production: Richard Dinnen & Matt Scott
Producer: Liza McLean
Technology: Samsung & OptiTrack
Costume Design: Michelle Boyde (Unconscious Collective)
Concept Technical Advisor: Nimrod Weiss – Eness
DOPs: Katie Milwright & Sky Davies
Hair & Makeup: Nadja Mott
Logo Design: Manuel Bürger
Underwater Dress: Bianca Spender
Casting: Folk Collective
Featuring: Rachel Rutt, Nynno Bel Air, Henry Charles Law, Rowan Oliver, Karina Utomo, Zeina Thiboult & Arlo Jack