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
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