A unique virtual reality (VR) film titled X-Ray Fashion will open to the public today (April 1) at Qatar Museum’s Gallery (QM) Al Riwaq, putting the spotlight on ‘the other side’ of the $2.5tn fashion industry – dubbed as the world’s second largest polluter.
Premiered at the 2018 Venice Film Festival (VR section), the exhibition comes to the Middle East for the first time as part of QM extensive 2019 programme. It will be on show until April 21.
“Our goal at QM is to bring unique experiences to Qatar and make them accessible to all. X-Ray Fashion is a powerful statement that transports viewers to a new reality, transforming perceptions and educating visitors on important issues in the world of fashion,” QM’s Director of Exhibitions Sheikha Reem al-Thani said.
“The immersive show is an extraordinary undertaking and I hope many people in Qatar take advantage of this opportunity to see art and technology intertwine in a remarkable manner to make such an impact,” she added.
X-Ray Fashion was created by Danish VR production house MANND and co-produced by the World Bank Group’s Connect4Climate programme and the late Paul G Allen’s Vulcan Productions with the support of Alcantara, a certified carbon neutral company.
Directed by Italian-born director and fashion photographer Francesco Carrozzini (Franca: Chaos and Creation), the show is a cinematic VR experience built around a 49sqm physical installation that guides the viewer through the different stages of the fast fashion garment production; from cotton farm to sweatshop, and from catwalk to consumer purchase to the afterlife of the garment.
Visitors will have the opportunity to experience a 360-degree live-action footage that imparts a stunning and photo-realistic atmosphere. The transitions between the scenes consist of a CGI environment that allows the viewer to walk between the seven different scenes.
The X-Ray Fashion story starts from the catwalk where the person takes a step and enters the beginning of the supply chain: how cotton is produced and under what circumstances the people are working.
Then it moves to a factory in India, showing how the environment is affected by the colouring of all the clothes as, well as the inhabitants.
“From a sweatshop, it continues to a big mall and move into a time lapse so you see how overconsumption just becomes faster and faster,” MANND co-founder Signe Ungermand told reporters. “Then we take you to a landfill, and shows the afterlife of clothes that 60% of what people buy is within one year thrown away or given elsewhere.”
From Italy, the exhibition toured around the US in Las Vegas, Seattle and Los Angeles, and just came from the United Nations Environmental Conference in Kenya before going to Qatar.
“X Ray Fashion – it came from an idea that you had to look behind the curtains so to speak and behind the flesh and come into the bone, the core of the fashion industry, to really show what was going on behind all the beautiful clothing,” stressed Ungermand, who was joined by co-founders Maria Herholdt Engermann
and Jeppe Jost Etzerodt.
This cinematic experience is a pioneering VR piece that tests the implementation of physical and sensory effects through settings that incorporate heat, wind, scent and shifting terrain.
By adding multidimensional sensorial effects, the filmmakers seek to draw the participant into an immersive physical experience that enriches storytelling in a new way.
“VR is a strong and powerful empathy machine to work with, in conveying a message where audiences can take the story to heart. By creating a sensorial VR installation, we not only show, but also make our audiences feel the consequences on their own body”, Engermann said.
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