From 20 November 2021, the South Australian Museum will host the debut season of Thin Ice VR – the immersive virtual reality experience produced by Adelaide’s award-winning studio Monkeystack, written and directed by Torrens University Australia senior lecturer James Calvert, and featuring modern adventurer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis AM. The worldwide premiere of Thin Ice VR is presented by the Adelaide Film Festival and the South Australian Museum, and the debut season is expected to run through until February 2022 .
As our world leaders head to Glasgow for the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference to discuss global efforts to curb climate change, this world-first virtual reality (VR) production retraces Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous 1914 Trans-Antarctic expedition and highlights the dramatic and devastating impact of climate change over the past 100 years.
Unrivalled immersive experience
The unique production, which has been three years in the making, offers an unrivalled immersive experience, allowing audiences to follow in the footsteps of Tim Jarvis, who recreated Shackleton’s famous expedition. It was during this modern-day recreation that Jarvis observed the alarming changes in the region’s landscape since Shackelton’s ill-fated journey in 1914 – a direct impact of climate change.
Equal parts catastrophic and transcendent, Thin Ice VR presents a unique account of how humanity asserts its will over the extremes of nature — often in unforeseen ways. The intention of Thin Ice VR is to create meaningful awareness of climate change and allow viewers to come to the personal realisation, through the VR experience, that greater and more decisive action needs to be taken. Director and writer of Thin Ice VR James Calvert, from Torrens University Australia, said the production is as close to an authentic experience as you can get without travelling to the Antarctic.
“Not everyone has the opportunity to recreate Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic journey like Tim did,” said Calvert.
“Thin Ice VR allows audiences to walk directly in Shackleton’s and Tim’s footsteps and see, almost first-hand, the dramatic and devastating changes across this delicate landscape over the past 100 years.” The Thin Ice VR team, which includes award-winning National Geographic photographer Doug Gimesy, recreated Antarctic locations using photogrammetry – a technique that captures a series of images of a single object or location to create realistic 3D models.
The team also travelled to some of the most remote and hard to reach locations in the Antarctic region to capture the exact locations from Shackleton’s epic journey.
A lesson in determination, optimism and survival
Thin Ice VR Presenter and Executive Producer, Tim Jarvis AM said recreating Shackleton’s journey of survival was a lesson in the determination, optimism and leadership needed to prevail against the odds.
“Thin Ice VR brings his story to life at a time when we urgently need to learn from what he stood for to prevail against the enormous challenges we now face to save our planet,” said Jarvis.
“Shackleton’s goal was to save his men from the ice. Today it is the ice that needs saving from us and the human-induced climate change that threatens it.”
Torrens University Australia is proud to be the Major Partner of Thin Ice VR. It is a striking example of our values in action – it is bold, it is creative, and it explores the most pressing global issue facing humanity right now.
To coincide with the launch of Thin Ice VR, Torrens University Australia has created a free online short course with up to two hours of educational material. Equal parts lessons in history, geography, creative technology and advocacy – the Thin Ice VR short course offers a learning experience for anyone seeking to further their knowledge and understanding of climate change and its impact on the Antarctic region. Equal parts lessons in history, geography, creative technology and advocacy – the Thin Ice VR short course offers a learning experience for anyone seeking to further their knowledge and understanding of climate change and its impact on the Antarctic region.
“Thin Ice VR is a ground-breaking project that draws on the university’s investment in design-based research of virtual reality – harnessing the ability to turn images into explorable environments,” said Professor Alwyn Louw, Torrens University Vice Chancellor.
Thin Ice VR is the second VR project that James Calvert has been involved in at Torrens University. In 2017, he was the Project Lead on a VR collaboration between Torrens University and the ABC that immerses school students in the main events of the World War II Kokoda track campaign.
The Thin Ice VR season opens at the South Australian Museum on Saturday 20 November – Sunday 6 February. For more information visit: https://www.thinicevr.com/. Tickets go on sale soon.
Thin Ice VR –A Monkeystack and Shackleton Epic Expedition Production
Major Partner: Torrens University Australia
Developed and financed with the assistance of: South Australian Film Corporation, Screen Australia and Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund
Supported by: Kathmandu, One Ocean Expeditions and Documentary Australia Foundation
World Premiere Presented by Adelaide Film Festival and the South Australian Museum
Season at the South Australian Museum
20 November 2021 - 6 February 2022