Avant-garde Interactive VR Story Catalog, ‘Corpus Misty,’ Now Available On Oculus App Store
Find yourself by getting lost in the world of Corpus Misty.
The pastel, textured, and amorphic experience that is Corpus Misty is an exploration of the soul. This quiet journey into the vulnerable ruminations of several women, queers, and gender-bending dreamers is spun on hopes of a better reality via five intimate interviews. The loose narrative revolves around several audio clips with themes of self-healing and transition and explorations of identity by a myriad of fascinating voices, including reflections of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Lotic.
“This is not just about queer people or women; Corpus Misty is about people deeply reflecting on life, love, liberty,” says Aubrey~Dove Heichemer, Berlin-based musician-turned-mixed reality producer. “I made this to talk to people and get wisdom and understand how they lived their lives so that I can figure out elements of who I am or [how I want to live my own]. Of the stories in Corpus Misty, people always find one that they feel is very healing and tell me they don’t feel alone anymore.”
“In a way Corpus Misty helps people to understand the perspective of [physicality], gender, sexuality—the entire spectrum of being, which I think queer people have to confront in a deeper way and we’re able to speak about in a more clear way, too. Not everyone in the piece is queer, but they speak to transitional moments, like finding out their body isn’t “normal” in our culture, or finding otherness and being open about that, [in doing so,] traversing and healing the rift.”
Born out of a desire to humanize hard truths and intersect different realities, Corpus Misty was created by the female and genderqueer-run collective, VR Coven. The internationally scattered team only came together in-person for a handful of weeks in 2018 to build and test the experience before returning to their respective corners of the globe for two years from prototype to polish.
Regarding the experience of producing a piece as abstract as it is factual, Heichemer reflects, “Let the work change you and heal you through the process of doing it…Allow yourself to be kind-of changed by what you make, ritually involve yourself into the piece so that you come out different as the creator.”
Peering behind the scenes of Corpus Misty, VR Coven strategically chose to create the assets using Oculus Medium, one of the project sponsors, to promote accessible tools and design standards encouraging non-technical artists to feel represented by the project process.
“When we did the first prototype, it was actually with cis-men in their 30s-40s at a Google hack day. After seeing the piece they seemed to really appreciate it and some wanted their daughters to watch it,” Heichemer shares. “They were saying they could understand what women were going to or had gone through. The feeling I got was that people who didn’t go through those experiences could better understand others who had [by watching]. I think the piece serves as an offering in some ways.”
“[After initial ideation over Zoom calls, the whole team got together and built it in my living room! It was the hottest summer in Berlin,” they continue. “We set up three desks. I had to soak my curtains in cold water and then hang them back up to try to cool the room down. By being together we had some very important, intense conversations. We could also decide what to throw out or change by how much we were developing together in the moment.”
With a final funding round from the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Lab Programs with a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Corpus Misty finally screened during an in-production showcase at the Cannes Film Festival and made its world premiere this year during SXSW online. To date, the award-winning VR title has been featured in four gallery shows internationally with plans of further exhibitions moving forward.