Creative directors Danny Cannizzaro & Samantha Gorman
PRY is one of ten installations chosen by Big Pictures Los Angeles dedicated to emerging independent artists working in hybrid, immersive, and developing forms of digital media art. These ten works showcase at the Slamdance Film Festival 2016 under their new DIG (Digital, Interactive and Gaming) program.
DIG is co-curated by Big Pictures Los Angeles founder Doug Crocco and Slamdance's President and co-founder Peter Baxter along with Deron Williams. Baxter states, "We deleted the rules and regulations to help encourage and find emerging artists pushing and breaking the boundaries of interactive storytelling through digital media and technology." He continues, "We hope people coming to the showcase will find as much curiosity, fun and appreciation interacting with the work as we did programming it."
The co-curators continue their description of DIG stating, "Collectively, DIG represents a discovery of unique experiences. The latest showcase features meta-narrative iPad applications, short films made for VR (virtual reality), cubist-inspired video art pieces and video games being developed for PlayStation and the personal computer." Continuing they share, "DIG projects emphasize touch, personal visual perspective, innovative connections between space and movement, and finding sense in uncertainty."
According to Tender Claws creators Cannizzzaro and Gorman, they describe their digital project PRY as set in a gray zone. It's experience vs. story. It's VR (virtual reality) works more as a spectacle vs. a story. It's been a four-year project that opens the door to more of what's inside the tech world but doesn't replace it. It's function works in addition to this world that is huge. Cannizzaro says, "One thinks that VR is new but Samantha has worked in this field for eight years already."
The premise of PRY is to explore the mind of a demolition expert from the Gulf War, named James. He's been back from the Gulf War for six years. His vision is failing and his past starts to collide with his present.
Gorman explains, "PRY is an app hybrid of cinema, gaming and fiction that reimagines how we might touch, close and pry into a text, moving seamlessly among words and images to explore layers of a character's consciousness." For example, with an app we view on an iPad screen, James' conscious interactions viewed is his story's context. A touch pries open memories and thoughts James has with his failing vision and loss of friendships he made during the war. The words we touch on the screen are about these issues. When we pull apart more words on the screen (like we do when we want to see a photo bigger) it takes us deeper into the words that share his emotions and thoughts. What becomes clear are the unstated words not expressed prior to this because they are held deep in his soul. We pull apart his narrative to read between the lines of his life. It's complicated but intriguing.