BFI Flare’s inaugural immersive programme includes the world’s first virtual LGBTQ+ museum

The free programme of new immersive works by LGBTQIA+ artists can be experienced for free at BFI Southbank.

LGBTQ+ VR Museum, ‘Memorial to a Marriage’ by Patricia Cronin

For the first time, the 37th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival presents BFI Flare Expanded, a free programme of cutting-edge immersive projects from four boundary-pushing LGBTQIA+ artists. Using emerging technologies to tell their stories, the projects presented span multiple mediums including virtual reality, screen-based installations, volumetric video, 3-D scanning and interactive games. BFI Flare Expanded takes place in a dedicated exhibition space at BFI Southbank over the first four days of the festival from 16 to 19 March, as part of the full festival programme from 15 to 26 March.

Works presented include the world’s first ever LGBTQ+ VR museum; the world premiere of a new configuration of We Are Here Because of Those That Are Not, an interactive digital archive dedicated to the preservation of Black trans history and culture; the UK premiere of He Fucked the Girl Out of Me, a powerful video game which tells the story of one trans woman’s journey through sex work, and the UK premiere of the visually stunning Chroma 11, which reunites two lost lovers and dance partners through the power of virtual reality.

Ulrich Schrauth, BFI Flare Expanded programmer, said: “We’re thrilled to bring this free programme of immersive art and extended reality works to BFI Flare for the very first time. BFI Flare has always celebrated and foregrounded queer narratives and perspectives, and these projects utilise the latest in technology to share powerful and personal stories of identity, belonging, self-expression and vulnerability, all qualities that BFI Flare embodies. We want to surprise festival attendees with a wide range of different formats and immersive experiences, providing new insight into our increasingly complex world by celebrating the value of LGBTQIA+ histories and legacies.”

The LGBTQ+ VR Museum is the world’s first virtual reality LGBTQ+ museum, conceived by the acclaimed British creative technologist Antonia Forster with Thomas Terkildsen. Dedicated to celebrating and documenting the history and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community, users can explore a virtual museum filled with touching personal artefacts donated by individuals and accompanied by their personal stories told in their own words. Creating a space that is both informative and inclusive, the museum offers a unique and engaging way for people to learn about the history and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and communities, celebrating their diversity and resilience.

British artist Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley presents the world premiere of a new configuration of We Are Here Because of Those That Are Not, a digital archive designed to preserve and celebrate the stories and experiences of Black trans people in the UK. Designed in collaboration with Black trans individuals, the work combines new media, video, sound and animation techniques to create a personalised screen-based experience which users travel through. This important project contributes to the preservation of Black trans history and culture, creating a space where the experiences and contributions of marginalised communities are recognised and celebrated.

Winner of the IDFA DocLab Digital Storytelling Award 2022 and presented for the first time in the UK at BFI Flare, He Fucked the Girl Out of Me is a provocative and powerful interactive game by American trans artist and developer Taylor McCue. In a retro 8-bit style, the game follows the semi-autobiographical story of Ann as she struggles to afford the costs of hormone replacement therapy in a pre-Affordable Care Act America, and the traumatic impact of these experiences.

Created by Hong Kong film director Tsang Tsui-shan, Chroma 11 weaves together installation, film, and virtual reality to portray a captivating story of artistic partnership and lost love. Based on a true story, the audience is taken on a journey through the intimate creative world of dance duo Ix Wong Thien-pau (Malaysia) and Aaron Khek Ah-hock (Singapore), who worked together for many years sharing their joint love and passion for their art. Following the passing of Aaron Khek Ah-hock, the beautifully poignant Chroma 11 envisions a reunion of the two lovers in the form of an immersive dance duet created with volumetric video. Chroma 11 is presented in the UK for the first time at BFI Flare, following its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival 2022.

BFI Flare Expanded

BFI Southbank, 16 to 19 March 2023. Open daily 14:00-21:00 in the NFT2 Foyer and Atrium.
Free entry, no booking required.

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