ROCKLAND, ME—Until you’ve experienced virtual reality through a headset, it might be hard to imagine why media companies around the world are so excited about this cutting-edge technology. But, once you’ve tried it, you understand that it can instantly transport you to another place and time. In this case, you could be transported to beautiful islands off the coast of Maine – anytime you like.
The Yarn Corporation, a Portland based startup, has partnered with the Island Institute to create and demonstrate a virtual reality experience of Maine island and coastal life at the Camden International Film Festival on September 16-18.
The viewing area will be in the “Storyforms Barn” at 21 Winter St. in Rockland, across from the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and will include a broader selection of virtual reality and digital storytelling experiences.
The Yarn Corporation seeks to enable all people and organizations to create and share stories via emerging interactive media from social text adventure to virtual reality. “We have partnered with the Island Institute to demonstrate to the public the power of virtual reality to capture and share experiences that are otherwise unavailable to most people – in a way that feels like actually being there,” says Sam Mateosian, CEO of Yarn Corporation.
The Island Institute is a 34-year old non-profit organization working to sustain Maine’s island and coastal communities by strengthening economies, enhancing workforce and leadership for the future, and by sharing solutions across diverse communities through media and events. Established print publications, including theWorking Waterfront newspaper and the Island Journal, have been mainstays of their media strategy for years. To compel more people to care about coastal issues, the Island Institute has recently expanded media outreach through their Climate of Change film series, and aims to build innovative digital multimedia channels to reach new constituents.
For this experimental virtual reality collaboration, the Island Institute provided community context and a set of locations, people and organizations whose stories overlap with the mission of the Institute. Yarn Corporation was able to capture these locations and moments with the help of emerging talent from the Maine College of Art, and the software development expertise of sister company, Big Room Studios.
The result is a non-linear exploration of a variety of aspects of Maine island and coastal life, including: a visit to The Boatworks in Islesford, a LifeFlight helicopter ride along the coast, lobster fishing out of Friendship Harbor, inside a lobster trap, watching great artists at work, and a peek inside a Monhegan brewery.
Rob Snyder, President of the Island Institute said, “I am grateful for Yarn Corporation and Big Room Studio’s interest in helping us extend our reach to new audiences who care about the Maine coast, and for exposing us to new ways of storytelling. It’s great the residents featured were so game to try this out!”
According to Yarn Corporation co-founder Sam Mateosian, “The future of storytelling includes the ability to share new worlds created out of bits of the real world, remixed, restitched and restrung in time and space.”
Maine College of Art: Raffi Der Simonian, firstname.lastname@example.org