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Sanctuary

Sanctuary

“I’m thrilled to share SANCTUARY with my Vancouver area friends through PuSh Festival Feb. 3-7. It’s hard to put the experience into words, so I hope some of you can visit it for yourselves. Due to COVID-19 safety – which is our top priority – there are very limited opportunities, so I encourage you to book now: www.pushfestival.ca/shows/sanctuary.
What an adventure this has been, with my creative friends Cease Wyss, Olivier Leroux and many others. This past summer, I got a call from Ross Muirhead at Elphinstone Logging Focus – tireless defenders of forests on the Sunshine Coast – about a rare ecosystem, home to 2,000-year-old yellow cedars and dozens of families of black bears. All on the chopping block from planned clearcut logging. I reached out to some of the most talented creative people I know, and they all stepped up to join the effort.
In September and October, we took two short trips into this incredible place with cutting-edge gear – a Titan 360 camera loaned graciously to us from the iM4 Lab, Zach Moxley and his Inspire 2 drone with 360 camera, Edo Van Breemen and his ambisonic microphone system – and proceeded to record an immersive story with our amazing guide Cease.
This forest is part of her unceded Skwxwú7mesh territory and her history as a voice for conservation, coupled with her knowledge as a cedar weaver and ethnobotanist, made her the perfect host for this 360 experience. Working with Edo and his colleague Alba Vega Mulet, we supported Cease’s narration with a blend of music and the sounds of the forest. Cease added a traditional drum song in the forest to complete the soundscape. With projection technologist Eric Chad, we built our own geodesic dome and mapped projectors to it to create a fully immersive experience that is surely the closest you can come to being in this forest without actually being there.
We launched the experience with the help of Sadira Rodrigues, M. Simon Levin and the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in November, part of a beautiful multi-artist meditation on this and other wild places. And now, we embark on the next phase of sharing this experience with the world, starting with Vancouver’s PuSh Festival. For my first time working with VR, this has been an incredible crash course that has opened my eyes to the potential for immersive experiences like this to help preserve wild places and drive conservation values.
Above all, this is about the Dakota Bear Sanctuary, which should never, ever be logged. If you get a chance to enter the SANCTUARY, I’m sure you’ll agree. Join the effort to protect it at www.loggingfocus.org and come see us at PuSh.
Damien Gillis,
Campbell River

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