5 min

Biolum, an interactive VR experience by Abel Kohen

Biolum is a virtual reality experience that plunges us into a vast underwater cavernous system in search of a luminescent parasite. 


Immersive technology

Biolum is the work of Paris-based animation director and motion designer Abel Kohen, working with Jon Rowe for the story and screenplay. In this narrative VR video game, available on the online platform Steam, the user is immersed in an underwater mission that allows him to discover a natural environment that is both hostile and enchanting. An experience developed by the studio IKO and co-produced by Reynard Films and Prefontal Cortex. Biolum also benefited from the support of the CNC and the Rhône-Alpes Region, and the Albyon studio, which handled the modelling and animation, to create a believable and lively aquatic universe. 


A psychological thriller in the abyss

By donning a virtual reality headset, Biolum puts the user in the shoes of Rachel (Dominique Tipper), a scientist who undertakes an unprecedented dive into the depths of a cavernous system. This expedition into the abyss, guided by the voice of Eva (Charlotte Rampling), becomes oppressive and claustrophobic with the arrival of a third, unexpected, protagonist: a bioluminescent parasite, as fascinating as it is dangerous. In search of a new host, it soon sets its sights on Rachel. We come to learn that the relationship between these two characters is in fact more complex than it appeared at first sight. 


Immersion in our primordial fears

The title of Biolum refers to the phenomenon of bioluminescence, a form of light production by living creatures often found in underwater fauna, which has always fascinated humans. Taking inspiration from science fiction, the film Blue and the video game Subnautica, Biolum is a short and intense narrative experience, which confronts our fears and fantasies about the world of the abyss. Technically very demanding, it is a work that also presents itself as a psychological thriller, offering an intense thirty-minute session. Biolum becomes a real philosophical investigation, situated halfway between transhumanism and connection with the animal kingdom.


Winner of international awards

With an international cast of actors including Dominique Tipper and Charlotte Rampling, who lend their voices, Biolum has also been dubbed entirely in French and Chinese. This is an opportunity to reach a wider audience and to demonstrate French know-how in virtual reality storytelling. Compatible with several VR headsets (Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift), this interactive film has been selected and awarded in many international festivals: SXSW, NewImages, UNIFRANCE, Courant 3D, and VR Grand Prix. 

The Institut français and the work

Biolum is presented on IFdigital, the new website dedicated to French digital creation (digital art, immersive experience, video games, innovative books, cultural education and web creation). 

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