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PRY by Tender Claws
by Karen Pecota

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.