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Issue 008: Domes ft. Sébastien Labrunie

Issue 008: Domes ft. Sébastien Labrunie

Letter from the Curators

Last week, North America was treated to a total solar eclipse. If you're the type to pay attention to astrology, it's a time for reflection and change. Even without the spiritual tilt, one can't help but wonder how our ancestors perceived these cosmic events, especially prior to any scientific understanding of what causes them.

Still, knowing what we do, to witness totality—feel the winds change, hear the animals react, see golden hour but with sharp shadows—is a multi-sensory, emotional experience.

A common theme we hear in the interviews with artists featured here is an attempt to recreate magical experiences we have in our everyday lives. In particular, doing so in a way that completely removes the audience from the context of their lives in that moment, and transports them to a different place. In that movement, comes the ability (and responsibility) to impact all senses, illicit emotion, and cause reflection.

As artists, when these big shared experiences happen in our everyday lives, it's so important that we take the time to tune in to the full experience. We should ask ourselves what we're hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling in that moment. What comes up for us? Are we naturally shifting towards questions (and maybe even hope) about the future? Are we suddenly open and reflective of our past? Or are we just present and attuned to what's happening presently? These are the experiences we can use as we create.

Total immersion is hard to achieve, it requires a control over all aspects of a space, and it's why VR is so appealing to some creators. The challenge with VR is that it's inherently isolating. Although certainly not the first dome, the scale of the MSG Sphere has given a sense of legitimacy to the idea that large-scale domes are appealing venues.

This week we interviewed Sébastien Labrunie, a brilliant artist who has been using these spaces for years. We invite you to change your lighting, put on some music, and settle in for this issue.

Thanks for joining us,
Lee & Dorothy


A mixed-media collage artist working in immersive domes, Sébastien talks process, AI, and prototyping.

He shared about using domes,

You can play with scale—make it seem as though you’re in a cocoon, or an optical illusion that feels like you’re moving through space.

And process,

I have a starting point and an ending point, and I know there should be a couple of chapters, but I also want to be surprised. I want there to be room for the audience to come up with their own interpretation. I don’t try to control all aspects.

And some advice,

Don’t limit yourself. You don’t really need a super expensive computer to do immersive films, you could even just use a smartphone as your main camera for cinematic shots and photogrammetry.

Step inside:

«Brèche» is a dive through matter, light and memories.

Domes Curated

If you enjoy our featured artist, here are other projects you might like:

"Multiverse," by fuse, is an audiovisual installation inspired by Lee Smolin's theory, exploring infinite universes through generative graphics and sounds. It visually depicts the continuous birth and demise of parallel universes, each emerging from black hole collapses, inviting contemplation on the vastness of existence.

Oscar Oiwa meticulously creating the 360-degree illustration within an inflatable vinyl dome. Employing only black permanent markers, he painstakingly crafted every detail, capturing the essence of a world that surrounds viewers from every angle within the space.

"Semi-Diurnal Spaces," an installation by Studio Above&Below, is a dome artwork that harnesses local tidal and atmospheric data from South Wales and the Bristol Channel. This piece explores the patterns influenced by a natural satellite on bodies of water, offering a unique perspective on the interconnectedness between celestial phenomena and earthly landscapes.

British artist Michael Pinsky “Pollution Pods” are a circuit of five geodesic domes designed to give visitors the chilling experience of breathing in the air of some of the world’s most polluted cities.

"Reverie," by artist Alex Guevara, invites viewers on an audiovisual journey inspired by the concept of reverie, delving into introspection through an abstract lens. From the realms of lucid dreaming to digital nightmares, this experience delves into subjective encounters intricately linked with the perception of time, offering a captivating exploration of the mind's inner landscapes.

Paris-based studio, Spectre Lab, crafted a stunning immersive dining experience for a charity event hosted last year in Monte-Carlo. Dome projection visuals were meticulously curated to align with the event's overarching themes of Ocean, Earth, and Humanity, creating a truly captivating atmosphere for attendees.


News, tools, and launches you should know about.

DisneylandForward plan approved by Anaheim City Council.
XP Land is hosting the first-ever experiential upfronts in May
Rob Hopkins released The Ministry of Imagination, "an imagination-based manifesto for times that need one". Worth a read!
Adobe has started to preview generative AI integrated into Premiere
Pearl Jam is putting on a one-day immersive experience in London's Outernet on Friday, April 19.
Cannes Film Festival has launched a competitive section dedicated to immersive cinema
Big moves over at Volvox Labs as they hire industry veteran Michael Schneider as CEO/Director of Media Architecture

Divergent Inspiration

We believe some of the most powerful inspiration comes when we least expect it. Each week we'll share something that has us excited, outside of our normal source of material.

The Symphony of Nature

As Australia bids farewell to the warmth of summer and gracefully transitions into the embrace of autumn, I find myself captivated by the exquisite wonders of nature that surround us. The once verdant leaves undergo a magnificent transformation, painting the landscape with hues of crimson, amber, and gold. With each step, the crisp crunch of dry leaves beneath my feet echoes the rhythm of the changing seasons. The tantalizing aroma of rain kissing freshly mowed grass fills the air, awakening my senses to the symphony of fragrances that accompany this time of year.

Moreover, it's a season of renewal, as vibrant flowers bloom in abundance, adorning the earth with their resplendent colors and delicate petals. The atmosphere is imbued with a sense of rejuvenation and vitality, as if the very essence of life itself dances upon the gentle breeze.

In moments like these, I am reminded of the profound beauty and boundless wonders that our planet bestows upon us. It serves as a poignant reminder of the awe-inspiring magnificence of our natural world, and the sheer privilege it is to call Earth our home.


Total Eclipse

Last week, I made a memorable trip back to Texas for the Texas Eclipse Festival, something I was looking forward to for the past several months. The centerpiece, of course, being the over four minutes of totality, the day briefly descending into a surreal twilight.

I made the trip from California because I believe that if we are capable, we should seek out the rare things in our short lives. I knew it would be beautiful, but I underestimated the emotional impact of witnessing the event.

As the sky darkened and the temperature dropped, I was moved, contemplating all of my ancestors who had witnessed an eclipse in their lives. What did they think? What did they feel?

Watching totality was a full-body experience that made it feel as though time had stopped, and I was sharing a moment with all those who ever turned their eyes upward. The experience was so powerful for me that I have declared I'm now an eclipse chaser, already adding the dates of every upcoming total eclipse around the world!


This newsletter is brought to you by
Lee Billington & Dorothy Di Stefano.

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