Sheila Carfinder', Doctor Mask, & President Akimbo (2016)

Sheila Carfenders, Doctor Mask, & President Akimbo
2016
VR novel for Oculus Rift
Built at the Augmented Reality Lab at York University under the direction of Caitlin Fisher

Artist’s Statement:
Sheila Carfenders, Doctor Mask & President Akimbo is a novel translated into virtual reality (for Oculus Rift) – a political fable of robots, sex work, hallucinogens and the consequences of power. The viewer is transported through mental hospitals, taxis, hotels and palaces mostly on rails, but with some space to explore the scenes in sandbox mode, enabling an encounter with hundreds of archival photographs and pencil sketches and found audio from across asia. The narrative –  disturbing and comical and haunting and revelatory – is encountered through the spoken word of a single narrator.
Experience the troubling, bizarre and absurd life of Sheila Carfenders, a 22-year-old mental patient who is abducted by her abusive San Francisco psychiatrist, Doctor Mask.  With the Oculus Virtual Reality system, go with Doctor Mask as he takes Sheila to an impoverished Asian country decaying from a violent insurgency.  The Mask hopes to build his own experimental psychiatric institution after making deals with the corrupt regime’s delirious leader, President Akimbo.
Sheila’s fate?
Unexpected amid a coup.
The characters’ three-dimensional models are built on structural skeletons, and the game environment is undermined and rendered uncanny through the use of hundreds of documentary photographs from Ehrlich’s personal archives.
With Oculus, you can explore the labyrinth of Sheila’s struggle and innocence, her psychiatrist’s brutal behavioral techniques, and the realpolitick of an American-backed coup against a deranged dictator.  All of the people — including Sheila Carfenders, Doctor Mask, President Akimbo and the story’s other characters — are derived from interviews, events, documents and composites of real individuals. With Oculus Rift, you can explore the labyrinth of Sheila’s struggle and innocence, her psychiatrist’s brutal behavioral techniques, and the realpolitick of an American-backed coup against a deranged dictator.
Bio:
Richard S. Ehrlich is an American foreign correspondent in Asia where he has been based since 1978 reporting from Hong Kong, New Delhi, and now Bangkok, Thailand. His coverage focuses on wars, rituals, revolutions, cultures, coups, religions and other news. He is also co-author of a nonfiction book of investigative journalism, titled: “Hello My Big Big Honey!” Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews.

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