Inside the immersive magic of SAT Fest

January 24, 2017

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Entering the Satosphère feels like stepping into a parallel universe. Visitors are stretched out on large cushions, their eyes locked on the dome’s ceiling as they enjoy a unique sensory experience provided by a work based on sound and light.

From January 25 to March 3, during SAT Fest, discover why the films created at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) are the envy of the world.

We spoke with Louis-Philippe St-Arnault, the director of the SAT’s Immersion department, to learn about the creation of immersive experiences, and the SAT Fest.

What is an immersive experience ?

Immersive experiences have existed for a long time – when you get lost in a good book, you’re having one! At the SAT, our work is focused on sensory immersion, in which the participant is surrounded by sounds and images. The Satosphère is unquestionably the SAT’s best space for that kind of audio-visual experience.

At the SAT, you have a program to support the creation of immersive works. How does it work ?

We host residencies for artists who are exploring the language of immersion. Normally, a working residency lasts one year. The artists use the Satosphère and our creative labs. The SAT is more than an exhibition space, it’s first and foremost a place for creation and research. The core goal of the research is to inspire emotions and stimulate the senses, while respecting the artist’s intent. Most works presented during the SAT Fest are developed by artists in residence here.

How is that kind of project created ?

While the approaches are completely different from one work to the next, as often as possible we create experiential works that involve the public. And we try to give them a strong narrative structure. Today we’re able to go farther and farther thanks to the expertise we’ve developed over the years, and to the ways in which technology has evolved. Virtual reality, which is now well known to most people, has helped bring experiential works to wider audiences. Movies and video games are also giving us more and more immersive experiences.

Until March 3, you will be screening immersive short films as part of SAT Fest. What can we expect to see ?

There are seven projects on the program, including four films produced here during SAT residencies, and three from elsewhere. In the Satosphère, visitors will experience a series of condensed immersive experiences with a very broad aesthetic palette. These are extremely high-quality works, making SAT Fest a great way for audiences to discover this avant-garde art form. Our immersive content and our research work are in high demand, and it’s becoming an excellent calling card for Montreal.

SAT Fest

At the Society for Arts and Technology
January 25 to March 3