The Hangman at Home – VR, by Michelle and Uri Kranot
An award-winner at the Venice VR Expanded 2020, the Venice Biennale virtual reality festival, The Hangman at Home VR (2020) is an interactive experience that immerses us in five stories exploring the consequences of our choices and of our failures to act.
Animation and new technologies
The Hangman at Home – VR is the work of Michelle and Uri Kranot. This couple of film-makers from Israel founded the research and development studio TinDrum. They are also producers and creative directors of Anidox, a programme producing animated documentaries in Denmark. Both artists like to explore the boundaries of immersive art and images in movement such as we find in The Hangman at Home VR project, blending animated images and virtual reality.
The Hangman’s private life
The Hangman at Home – VR is a triptych composed of a 30-minute virtual reality experience, an animated short film to be released in 2021, and a multi-user VR experience, We Are at Home, intended for large audiences. “What does the hangman think about when he gets home from a long day at work?” The experience begins with these words and asks the user to strike a match to begin the story. Through five interweaving stories that capture a life’s defining moments, the work invites us to reflect on the issues of involvement and responsibility.
The issue of responsibility
The work is inspired by the eponymous poem by Carl Sandburg, written in 1922. While it took three years to acquire the rights, the development, prototyping, and production took place over two years. For Michelle Kranot, virtual reality as a medium makes it possible to bring together the worlds of stage, literature, cinema, and fine arts. The animation is hand-painted, image by image, with acrylics. The work delivers a message, making viewers aware of their influence on events, of their decisions, and of their decisions’ consequences.
The Grand Jury Prize at Venice
The Hangman at Home – VR won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice VR Expanded 2020 for the Best Virtual Reality Immersive Work. The work is in the official selection at the VR Competition of the Ottawa International Animation Festival in Canada. The project is a joint production between France (Miyu Productions, Floréal Films), the National Film Board of Canada, and Denmark (Late Love Production). The experience is available on the VIVE, VIVE Pro, Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, and Oculus Quest virtual reality headsets in three languages: English, French, and Danish.