Inside Tokimba is an immersive experience that takes the viewer into the heart of both the spectacular public and secret initiation ceremonies for the inauguration and naming of a new spirit house along the Sepik River named Tokimba. Directed by artist Shiva Lynn Burgos and invited filmmaker Nick Hunter of Paper Moose this 360-degree Virtual Reality film is the result of The Mariwai Project, Burgos’ long-term artistic and cultural collaboration with the Kwoma people of Mariwai Village, Papua New Guinea enabling privileged access to these rare and extraordinary events.
In August 2016 the we completed the final decorations and ornaments of the new spirit house or hausboi alongside the Kwoma artists. We witnessed and participated in the various ceremonies and celebrations that lasted for five days. The Mariwai Project documented these using the latest innovations in 360-degree filming, photography and video as well as aerial drone technology. These components have been edited to create an immersive 360-degree virtual reality experience that allows the viewer to take the point of view of the multi-camera rig. Nicknamed gamba mai or ghost eye by the Kwoma, the rig represented the future viewers not as observers but as invited guest participants in the village activities. The resulting film is stitched together along with surround sound recording to virtually teleport the sights and sounds of the Sepik River. Here presented are still images of the 11 minute film.
The film provides a unique insight into the traditional culture of PNG in a format which creates an all-encompassing, life-like demonstration. As this is still a new visual platform we enjoy the position of being at the forefront of the technology and pushing the medium in several innovative directions. Our goal is to create a new way of seeing and experiencing PNG culture by stretching the boundaries of perception of video art, educational content and documentary filmmaking with a fresh and exciting experience. Inside Tokimba was made in collaboration with and with respect for the wishes of the people of Mariwai village.
The film Inside Tokimba directed by Shiva Lynn Burgos and Nick Hunter is best experienced by wearing a VR headset.
If a small portable projector is attached then it is possible to project video allowing a larger group to get an idea of the 360 experience.
With an internet connection participants can also view through their cell phones, tablets or computers without a VR headset (although this is not as all encompassing)
We are developing other immersive experiences using the material. For example Photo mapping with clickable elements and customized content more directly suited for individual galleries and museums as well as educational tools.