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Fri, Mar 05


Virtual Cinema


Set in a near-future when commercial space travel has begun, this speculative documentary combines observational footage with virtual reality to create a lyrical meditation on progress, history, and how we navigate a sense of loss within ourselves and a changing world.

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Time & Location

Mar 05, 2021, 12:00 AM – Mar 26, 2021, 11:59 PM

Virtual Cinema

About the event

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES (2020) Dir. Hannah Jayanti, 103 mins. 


In 1950, celebrity television show host Ralph Edwards put out a national challenge for a town to rename itself after his game show. The little town of Hot Springs won, and became Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Seventy years later, T or C is the closest town to the world’s first commercial spaceport. Funded and maintained by tax dollars, Spaceport America has cost $220 million to date. It’s rented out to private companies like Virgin Galactic, who have sold tickets for individual spaceflights for $250,000. The Spaceport and private companies promise a burgeoning commercial industry that will democratize space and transform the way we live. Alongside the rhetoric is a shared fear that Earth is dying, and for humanity to survive we have to move elsewhere. 

In a new practice called “speculative documentary”, the filmmakers take the present day potential of commercial space travel and subtly posit that it has already happened, considering who would be left behind. As with science fiction, this allows a closer look at the challenges of today - environmental, societal, personal. Subtly recontextualizing observational footage through this speculative premise alters the way that we experience it, allowing sublime epitonies to emerge from the familiar. Most importantly, it creates a new space of listening to the people, who are the heart of the film. 


To echo the experience of remembering, the film applies sequences that were created in virtual reality worlds. Creatively led and built by artist Alexander Porter, they feel as though a future archeologist is trying to piece together that which came and went. These worlds were made using photogrammetry, a technique which creates 3D models from images. Photogrammetry is a scientific and technical process used in archeology, cultural preservation and Google maps. Alexander creatively altered this technique by using the documentary footage as source material. Collaborating with Hannah Jayanti, Elliott Mitchell and Claire Hentschker, they found clips where a space had been documented and then painstakingly extracted individual frames from the footage. This allowed them to create 3D models of places in the film. They placed these 3D models into the video game engine Unity and built a custom recording software. The 3D sequences in the film are first person recordings of them walking around this strangely incomplete yet familiar world in virtual reality. 

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