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_Porton Down

An experimental biography that uses virtual reality to enable audiences to descend into the unnerving zone of a government’s human experimentation program.

2019 Callum Cooper,Don Webb
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“We wanted to explore notions of trust and consent through Don’s 1953 experience. His story resonates today as we too have become guinea pigs through the pervasive rise of VR and AR. We co-opt the technology in Porton Down to examine its unprecedented capacity to not only intimately track us, but also manipulate our understanding of the world.”

Callum Cooper, Author, to Docubase

Porton Down is an experimental biography that uses virtual reality to enable audiences to descend into the unnerving zone of a government’s human experimentation program. The piece explores the disquieting experiences of Don Webb, who found himself entangled in Porton Down, a secret British Cold War program that involved testing possible chemical weapons—such as LSD—on human subjects. Hand-drawn in virtual reality and co-written with Webb, Porton Down examines Webb’s experiences as a military test subject and the after effects of the experiment that bewildered him for the next 50 years. During the experience, participants become subjects of another kind of testing as they are tracked and turned into data. In this way, Porton Down investigates its own medium with a critical eye.

Project at a Glance :

Language : EN
Country : Australia,United Kingdom
Year : 2019
Author : Callum Cooper,Don Webb
Producer : Callum Cooper,Constance Nuttall
Team : Anna Meller,Bobby Kapur,Callum Frazer Dickson,Jack Thomas-O’Brien,Michael Latham,Naïma Abed,Pran Bandi,Q Department powered by Mach 1,Squint/Opera
Developers : NOCA,Sam Von Ehren,Siyuan Qiu
Designers : Graphic Designer: Archie Mcleish,Installation Design: Annika Bowker,Lighting Interaction Designer: Jonny Williams
Festivals : Venice International Film Festival
Awards & Nominations : British Animation Awards Nominee
Funders AND Incubators : MIT Open Documentary Lab,Mozilla,Open Society Foundations,Screen Australia,Sundance Institute New Frontier Story Lab
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