“GO” is a groundbreaking symbiosis of literature and virtual reality. Through the joint attention directed at both the literary text and the virtual space, a completely novel dimension in the narration emerges in which the audience will become more than just a ‘listening spectator’ and more than a simple eyewitness to an audiobook.
The story of this moving virtual reality experience by Sandro Zollinger and Roman Vital is based on the eponymous book by Klaus Merz. The excerpts – read in the German version by the author himself – are joined together in the virtual space to tell the story of Peter Thaler who sets out on a mountain hike in a quest for inner stability. A misstep in a snowstorm leads to an accident in which he breaks his ankle. Lying immobilized in the soft snow, his internal monologue turns into an argument that transcends his inevitable fate.
Through these events, “GO” addresses issues of everyday and ultimate transience, loss and mortality, while offering a liberating view of life. Although the story begins by stating the outcome – the silent but significant disappearance of Peter Thaler – the narrative arc nevertheless creates a tension that escalates towards a heightened, yet equally more open understanding.
“GO” merges the oldest with the most recent narrative form o create a stand-alone, novel experience. Zollinger and Vital selected and rearranged twelve unaltered passages from the 2005 novella “LOS”, which tells an entire life story in concise, haunting prose. Thus, they have succeeded in further distilling the work of an author, celebrated as a craftsman of finely tuned precision, by about nine tenths without, however, altering its core.
This doubly condensed narrative essence is then sent on an impressive journey through a virtual world. The world of “GO” tells its story by creating haunting moods, triggering feelings with mere suggestions and repeatedly implying further connotations. The 25-minute virtual reality experiencethus succeeds in expanding the ambiguity of literature, matching it with effective imagery, while steering clear of cheap gimmickry and simplistic illustrations.
“GO” manages to find a balance between the imaginary world sparked by the text and the overwhelming power of VR, in order to tell a story that has not yet been told.
“Nowhere does he feel as protected as in a train.”
“The depth of the snow is increasing steadily. Thaler’s eyes are burning, but he does not think of turning back.”
“On each school trip he would be immediately overcome with a feeling of homesickness for more gentle hues.”