Shanghai Interactive Theatre Festival (SHIFT) is a new event which existed for the past two years. WVRF participated in the first edition and got invited again this year, 23-26 October, 2017.

This event takes place at the same time as the prestigious China Shanghai International Arts Festival (CSIAF) and SHIFT is its new explicitly experimental little brother, fusing together new technologies, arts, and performing arts in the city of Jieping, approximately an hour drive from main Shanghai.

This year the organizers have put together a hackathon so for two days participants were invited to create an interactive experience. It was co-produced between SHIFT and 3-Legged Dog Productions from NYC. There were four teams participating in the hackathon and Salar Shahna, WVRF’s CEO was invited to be part of the jury to designate which was the most compelling work produced in the 48-hour period.

The hackathon was an excellent experimental event and the project which we chose as the best one was simply stunning as it was made as a VR art installation. One person was in VR, other people were watching from the outside. Everything happened in a cube with four projectors and the project itself was in the middle of that cube designed by 3-Legged Dog Productions. The project which won was questioning the gun violence in the USA and the impact that video games could have on violence.

According to Shahna, who tried this VR experience, one viewer stands in the middle of the stage wearing the VR mask in a white environment shooting at targets marked by the circles and everytime you shoot, you win.

At the end of the experience, you get a message saying, “to know the truth, remove your headset.” When you take off your headset, everyone watches you in a very weird way, since on the four screens that were around you on the outside, the projections showed what happened inside the VR headset,” said Shahna, “the projection was very different from what the viewer was seeing, I was seeing targets whereas everyone else was seeing kids.”