News / Animation

Aardman’s first VR animation transports users to the heart of the refugee crisis

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Aardman and BBC Research & Development have released We Wait, a virtual reality experience that gives users a visceral depiction of a migrants journey from Turkey to Greece. The film will be previewed on 16 August at Publicis UK for the exhibition, There’s a Good Immigrant, which is set to “celebrate the creativity and diverse perspectives that migrants bring to British culture and the creative industries,” says Publicis UK in an announcement.

Built for the Oculus Rift VR headset as part of the BBC’s work exploring the potential of VR for future audiences, We Wait will be Aardman’s first interactive VR animation. Based on accounts gathered by BBC News, the “hard-hitting” VR film tells real life stories of refugees centred around the current crisis. The subject matter demonstrates a technical and well-researched production that moves away from traditional reporting, while highlighting the “sense of suspense and anticipation” felt by “displaced” people travelling to Europe.

Alongside Aardman’s film, the exhibition will bring together artists — who are migrants themselves, second-generation migrants and those whose work reflects on the topic. The show will present various mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, collage, spoken work and virtual reality animation. Visual and spoken word artists include Ildikó Buckley, David Buonaguidi, Suchi Chidambaram, Inua Ellams, Alison Jackson, Bob and Roberta Smith, Hormazd Narielwalla and many others.

Immigration Is A Good Thing For British Culture by Bob and Roberta Smith will be one of the “highlight works” at the show. The pair are well-known for raising awareness through protest art. “Art is necessarily an international language. Immigration to Britain has made Britain an amazing culture, stronger with depth of appreciation of others woven into it. We are not an ignorant or naive monoculture, we are a polyphonic multi-faceted super abundant multiculture,” say the duo.

Jo Wallace, creative director at Publicis UK spoke about the reasons behind the There’s a Good Immigrant exhibition: “The UK has a wonderfully rich cultural heritage, resulting from generations of different communities coming together, enriching society and inspiring new entrepreneurial visions,” she says. “We need to reflect this melting pot of talent, with diverse voices, skin tones and perspectives in ads and that starts with welcoming greater diversity into agencies and marketing departments. With There’s a Good Immigrant, we aim to not only inspire clients and creatives from all backgrounds but also to provoke positive debate within the wider industry and beyond.”

There’s a Good Immigrant will run from 17 August – 1 September 2017 at Publicis UK, 82 Baker Street, London. Funds raised through the artwork sales at the exhibition will be donated to the arts charity Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Arts.

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Aardman: We Wait

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Aardman: We Wait

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Aardman: We Wait

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Aardman: We Wait

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Bob and Roberta Smith

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Dave Buonaguidi: You Are Here

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Hormazd Narielwalla