CineMart Catch-Up: Duchampiana VR by Lilian Hess

30 January 2023

Film still: Duchampiana


CineMart Catch-Up: Duchampiana VR by Lilian Hess

30 January 2023

Departing from Marcel Duchamp’s infamous painting “Nude Descending A Staircase No. 2,” Duchampiana VR by Lilian Hess tells the story of a woman on the day that she decides to turn around and climb the stairs instead. Guiding us ever upwards, into the midst of a virtual women’s march, this real-time installation culminates in a sensory celebration of sisterhood and allyship.

The project won the 4DR Studios Award, comprising a bespoke workshop at 4DR, the first and only volumetric video studio in the Netherlands and one of the few high-quality volumetric video studios in the world.

“She is a warrior, an avatar of female empowerment on a quest towards a more just and equal future,” Hess says of her VR’s heroine. “She very much resembles the painting, in that her limbs are an assembly of cubist objects, textured in hues of brown. The materials I interpret as wooden and rusted metal. The world of Duchampiana VR follows this aesthetic of 'impossible structures', though balancing more on the verge to realism in its design, featuring a highly realistic, evocative skyscape. Most importantly, the piece does not feature spoken language, which makes body language even more important. The whole story is about the body, and the body in relation to (social) space.”

"Her limbs are an assembly of cubist objects."

Since CineMart 2022 the project has received funding from Medienboard Berlin and FFF Bayern to develop a prototype of the VR. What’s more, producer Sarah Arnaud of Tchikiboum (France) signed with German mYndstorm productions as German co-production partner on the project.

“It's really Lilian’s intention to tell a story whereby everyone – whether identifying as male, female or non-binary – will feel inspired to reflect on a new perspective regarding how women are represented and how they may move in our society, in the social space,” Arnaud comments. “This is really her core intention on this project, and our job as producers is to make this vision work technically and artistically, spread it to the world and to tell the story to as many people as we can.”

"As a producer, I prefer to go worldwide" 

Could this project have been produced solely out of France? Was the international dimension essential to its realisation? “No, I don't think I could do this in France, even if France has an excellence in VR,” Arnaud responds. “As a producer, I prefer to go worldwide, to be honest. I think international works better on this kind of project. I think other countries also have a better understanding of what VR could be. I think Asia manages in a better way their audience towards this kind of project. What’s more, in the case of Duchampiana VR Lilian is German and she has lived eight years in London. So the international dynamic comes from her. She is one in a million. She's unique and she's brilliant. So I'm following her lead.”


CineMart 2023

Details of our co-production market CineMart in 2023.


4DR Studios Award

The 4DR Studios award goes to an outstanding Immersive project at CineMart.

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