Virtual Reality: The New Frontier Takes You to 18 Virtual Worlds at Northern Spark 2016 and the Walker Art Center


©2016 Jonathan Hickerson, courtesy of Sundance Institute

Virtual Reality: The New Frontier Takes You to 18 Virtual Worlds at Northern Spark 2016 and the Walker Art Center

Presented by Northern Lights.mn, The Walker Art Center, and Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Program

Northern Spark official start & end times: 9:00 pm until 5:26 am
Mill City neighborhood / Minneapolis, MN / Free* & Open to the Public
(*except ticketed Launch Party)

Walker Art Center
Loring Park Neighborhood/ Minneapolis, MN/ Free with gallery admission
Sunday, June 12, 2-4 pm, Art Lab
Tuesday, June 14, 3-5 pm, Art Lab
Wednesday, June 15, 2-4 pm, Art Lab
Thursday, June 16, 5-8 pm, Garden Terrace Room (Target Free Thursday Night)

MINNEAPOLIS, May 26, 2016—Beginning on June 11 at the 6th annual Northern Spark festival and continuing at the Walker Art Center until June 16, 2016 step into a new immersive medium and roam with bison in the wild, swim with whales in the deep ocean or explore a mysterious asteroid. Virtual Reality: The New Frontier, is an international selection of virtual reality works that represents some of the most compelling narrative and documentary VR storytelling being independently created today. The lineup also includes three specially selected pieces by Minnesota artists. Virtual Reality: The New Frontier is presented in collaboration with Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Program, the Walker Art Center, and Northern Lights.mn.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary,Sundance Institute's New Frontier program has provided the highest level of curation in this emerging field since 2007. Incorporating fiction, non-fiction and hybrid projects to showcase innovations in storytelling as it intersects with technology, performance, film, art and music. The works presented in Virtual Reality: The New Frontier include immersive documentaries such as Chris Milk and Gabo Arora’s Waves of Grace, a portrait of a community rebuilding after the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Lynette Wallworth’s Collisions, a live action/animated documentary about the Martu tribe in western Australia. The works featured in Virtual Reality: The New Frontier will be available for viewing at Northern Spark on June 11 and at the Walker Art Center until Thursday, June 16, and for download atsundance.org/vr.


Danfung Dennis, Casey Brown, Phil McNally’s Condition One: In the Presence of Animals, courtesy of Sundance Institute

Three unique experiences from Minnesota artists have been specially selected for presentation at Northern Spark and the Walker Art Center. simRVR by Bill Gorcica, Mark Gill, Matt Julius, Kristian Twombly invites you to witness the growing toxicity of a river, and how the smallest changes impact the farthest reaches of our food web. Black Lives Matter MPLS by Chuck Olsen will allow you to experience one peaceful night at the Black Lives Matter protest in North Minneapolis this past winter. In Let's Go Crazy, also by Chuck Olsen, witness Dem Atlas perform a tribute to Prince in front of thousands of fans who gathered in front of First Avenue after his death. The complete list of 18 different experiences can be seen here.


Chuck Olsen’s Let’s Go Crazy courtesy of the artist.,

There will be a limited number of Samsung phones and Gear VR with experiences ready to view on-site at Northern Spark and at the Walker Art Center. Visitors will also be given an official Sundance Institute New Frontier 10th Anniversary limited artist edition Google Cardboard designed by New Frontier Story Lab fellow, Yung Jake. This cardboard VR viewer allows users to experience VR on their own smartphones. In preparation for mobile VR viewing at Northern Spark or at the Walker, participants are encouraged to download apps for Android or iOS smartphones from sundance.org/vr.

Technical support for the Walker Art Center and Northern Spark’s presentation of the Sundance Institute’s Virtual Reality: The New Frontier provided by Samsung.

About Northern Spark
Northern Spark is a free, annual, dusk-to-dawn, multidisciplinary arts festival that takes place on the second Saturday of June and draws tens of thousands of Minnesotans each year. For the 2016 and 2017 festivals, the theme Climate Chaos | Climate Rising will explore the interconnected, evolving, long-term consequences from climate change, giving local and national artists’ a platform to help turn a sense of overwhelmment into concrete actions anchored in a realistic and hopeful map for the future.

For more information on the festival, visit http://northernspark.org

For more information on the theme Climate Chaos | Climate Rising, visit http://2016.northernspark.org/climate-chaos-climat...

Northern Spark by the numbers, 2011-2015:

  1. 494 artist projects in 117 venues
  2. 188,000 attendees
  3. Over 1,391 local and national artists and performers
  4. 230 cultural organization partners
  5. 388,248 website visits by 268,480 unique visitors

About Northern Lights.mn
Northern Spark is presented by Northern Lights.mn, a nonprofit arts organization whose vision is to transform our sense of what’s possible in public space.
Northern Spark is one night, but Northern Lights.mn shines throughout the year with projects that encourage public participation and artistic innovation, from the Giant-Sing-Along at the Minnesota State Fair to a permanent storytelling platform at Union Depot, to our annual year-long, intensive, mentor-based fellowship for emerging artists, Art(ists) on the Verge.

For more information visithttp://northern.lights.mn

About the Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.

For more information visit http://walkerart.org

Northern Spark is supported by
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Northern Lights.mn programming is made possible by general operating support from


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Walker Art Center premiere partners

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The Walker Art Center is located at 1750 Hennepin Avenue—where Hennepin meets Lyndale—one block off Highways I-94 and I-394, in Minneapolis. For public information, call 612.375.7600 or visit walkerart.org. Stay connected via your mobile device and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Download a PDF version of this news release.

Lead photo: