wo 16 sep 2020

NFF Interactive Interview: Abner Preis about EDEN’S ADVENTURES

Who doesn’t want to go on a trip through time and space? Especially if it’s drawn in a vibrant, colourful style that has all the energy of a children’s drawing. Underneath its eye catching surface, EDEN’S ADVENTURES tells the stories of overlooked women inventors throughout history. It is inspirational in nature, not in the least because the heroine’s name happens to be the same as the six year old daughter of maker Abner Preis.

In a nutshell
“EDEN’S ADVENTURES is completely contemporary, although it deals with history. It’s a VR-experience in a fun style that might suggest it’s made just for kids. Since I’m a kid of 45, it’s fair to say it’s for adults as well. In this work you make a journey through the world and through time, alongside a little girl. It makes the point that women get very little recognition for their contributions to history and technology. It definitely deals with social issues, but that’s not at the forefront. Above all I’m a storyteller, and the storyline is quite positive. All my stories have happy endings, even if they deal with difficult issues.”

What kind of experience awaits the viewer?
“I think people are going to feel what it would be like to step into a time machine. A beautiful colourful world awaits, filled with funny people. There will definitely be a lot of laughter from the audience. They will encounter a break dancing mummy, and a whale that comes up to you to kiss you. And what generates the most joy is at the end, when you return to Eden’s class and everyone’s hair is standing up.”

What are the interactive elements?
“One could say that the interactivity is modest. Most of the time you are watching the scene, which you can do in 160 degrees. But it could be argued that travelling from one universe to the next is quite interactive! You can also lean in to look better at all the different elements. For instance, you can read texts on the computer screens. In a way, it almost works like an encyclopedia.”

 What is a unique aspect of your work?
“If I look at the picture on the flyer with all the nominated projects, my one sticks out as an ugly one. I love it! It’s hand drawn, rough and punk. Originally, I come from the fine arts. Although I had success in museums and galleries, I never quite found honesty with my style. I was never good at making things clean and beautiful. It never felt completely honest. Finally with VR I found a tool that has the wow-factor for me, that lets me get back to what I was the strongest at. Art has to inspire in order for it to have the power to start a revolution or a change. You can do that by opening eyes, not by punching the viewer in the face in order to open them.”

What are you most proud of?
“I’m proud that I was able to make something different. I feel that – for the first time in my working life – being different has really worked out. The reaction this work got is also completely different from before. It won the Golden Lion at Cinekid. Erik Kessels wrote beautifully in the jury report: ‘The execution of this VR installation is maybe its best feature. Drawn in a crazy, rough and punk illustration style, something rarely used in this field of work.'”

Which of your fellow nominated interactive projects is first on your to do list?
“The one with the shortest queue! Just kidding, I want to check them all out. First on my list would probably be a virtual reality one. But that’s just me; it’s not a statement about the works of the others. It’s just that I like VR so much and I think it is such a cool technology.”

More about EDEN’S ADVENTURES