A guest contribution
24.03.2020 | 6 minutes readingtime
What would it be like if we could move like a frog through the undergrowth of the Amazon rainforest? Float through the water like a caiman waiting for its prey? Or take off and circle the treetops of the rainforest like a harpy?
The interactive VR experience Inside Tumucumaque, created by the Interactive Media Foundation & Filmtank, takes us to a clearing in the middle of the endangered nature reserve in northwest Brazil: Tumucumaque. As soon as you put on the headset, you dive deep into the ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest and discover it with all its facets. A varied environment with over 7,500 plant species, closely coordinated with experts from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, allows users to discover the journey – as a human being or as one of the animals living in the rainforest.
How animals see the world
Virtual reality allows us not only to perfectly simulate reality, but also to interact with this ‘new’ reality. We can control the flight of the harpy or dive up and down from the water like a caiman. Inside Tumucumaque lets us dive into the Amazon rainforest and slip into the role of animals living there.
A sensual journey of discovery - scientifically based
Based on scientifically profound findings, we experience the perception of animals, which is transformed into a visual, spatial and haptic language and tonality that we humans can intuitively recognize, understand and sense within the VR experience. The perception of the animals is interpreted on the basis of scientific findings and thus research is communicated in a playful and exciting way.
This unique virtual research trip to the Amazon rainforest, created together with the digital production artists of Artificial Rome, can be experienced internationally at festivals and exhibitions since 2018. The Museum für Naturkunde contributed its scientific expertise: It opened its digital archive of animal voices, and the museum’s scientists accompanied the development of the virtual models, especially the movements and the representation of the perception for the animals. The Mediasphere For Nature supplied technical equipment for the production, and established the necessary contact with the Berlin Botanical Garden for the correct classification of the plants in the virtual world.
The immersive installation celebrated its premiere two years ago at the ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien in Karlsruhe and has been touring worldwide ever since. In 2019, Inside Tumucumaque experienced a rush of visitors in the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin.
Deutsche Welle also reported about the creation of Inside Tumucumaque and the cooperation with the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin in its Eco India-Programm.
Photographic material:: © Interactive Media Foundation/ Artifical Rome