You know that feeling you get after watching a really, really good thought-provoking film? It’s a feeling often associated with Christopher Nolan’s work, whether it be Memento, Inception, Interstellar, or even The Prestige. You’re caught somewhere between a feeling of complete awe and utter confusion, with a dash of delight sprinkled on top.
Spheres: Songs of Spacetime by Eliza McNitt in collaboration with Oculus Studios, Protozoa Pictures, Crimes of Curiosity, AtlasV, and Kaleidoscope, is a short VR experience about the vastness of space and simulating the sights and sounds of two blackholes colliding. To date, it’s the first VR experience I’ve had that replicates a small portion of what it feels like to watch a Christopher Nolan film. I was immediately reminded of Interstellar.
Now to level your expectations I want to be clear: Spheres isn’t up to the same standards as a Nolan movie by any means, but it certainly does a good impression. The basic premise in Songs of Spacetime, the first part of Spheres, which is intended to be a three-part series, is all about black holes. You’ll take on the role of one of these enormous space anomalies and interact with various stars and objects around you.
Everything is portrayed with exquisite narration by Jessica Chastain (Interstellar, Crimson Peak) over the top of it all, who lends a very poignant but subtle voice over to the experience.
Fans of Interstellar will adore the pulsating visuals, thumping audio tracks, and sheer sense of bewilderment as swirls of color, gravity, and time itself cascade around you. It’s difficult to interpret the themes and events that are involved with blackholes and the universe in its entirety, let alone to visually depict them. The fact of the matter is that we really have no idea what something like two blackholes colliding looks like, but it’s certainly interesting to theorize about.
You know that feeling you get in VR when the sense of scale around you is just overwhelming? Those moments when you have to crane your neck upwards just to take it all in? Spheres is full of those moments and I definitely think my mouth was hanging ajar much more often than it was closed.
Spheres: Songs of Spacetime is on display this weekend at Sundance and can be found in the NF VR Experience section. The runtime is about 13 minutes.
Let us know what you think from what you’ve heard about Spheres so far down in the comments below!