Cathedral in the Clouds: A New VR Project
After its huge success on Kickstarter in October 2015, details of the Tale of Tale’s most recent project, a digital collection of animated Christian dioramas titled cathedral in the Clouds have been gradually unveiled.
“We haven’t produced anything yet,” explains co-creator Michaël Samyn, who is collaborating with Aureia Harvey to create the Cathedral in the Clouds. During a presentation recently held at France’s CFIC cultural heritage and digital media forum, Samyn finally brought new information to light concerning the project and walked audiences through the process of coming up with the idea for it and how they intend to translate the Gothic and renaissance-era religious art into virtual reality.
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The presentation started with a brief introduction of the Tale of Tale’s history as a studio as well as what inspired them to begin with. “The art that we enjoy tends to be older,” explained Samyn making reference to various cathedrals and religious structures in their current hometown of Belgium.
He went on to further explain that considering their appreciation of the realistic beauty of older art, the abstraction of modern art “just doesn’t do it for us”. Video games also happen to deal with realistic representations so they made the decision to start making them as a way to “continue the traditions of art before modernism interrupted them”.
Regardless of their atheist’s views, the two of them have always been drawn to work with Christianity as it is central too much of the art from which they draw inspiration. “A lot of these paintings and sculptures depict religious themes and characters,” explained Samyn. “We look up to them, we admire them, and they help us understand and deal with our lives.” It is the universal themes of “kindness, patience, and self-sacrifice” found in the religious art that inspire them and that they hope to make more accessible through technology. “We have a feeling that a lot of people now don’t experience that with old art,” said Samyn. “So we would like to create something that people can connect to more easily.”
All of this ultimately led to the concept of Cathedral in the Clouds which aims to recontextualize Christianity and its many artistic forms into a peculiar digital experience which people all over the world can have access to. The project is divided into two. The first part is a series of digital depictions of Saints for “desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, web, even video and print” and the other one is a fully immersive virtual reality cathedral to house them. Due to its digital form, Tale of Tales also expects the cathedral to be endless with the capability for continuous expansion over time.
The project is going to be made available free of charge as it is a non-commercial project. Whoever has the technology to access the content will be able to do so without charges. But as it is with a real cathedral, viewers and patrons can donate whatever they wish to via PayPal or Patreon to further the cause.