Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street


Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures: Pure Land+

September 18 - October 16, 2015

On the occasion of SFU’s 50th Anniversary, SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs, in collaboration with the Vancouver International Film Festival and the National Film Board of Canada, invite you to experience the World Premiere of Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures: A Festival of Immersive Arts, featuring the digital creations of Jeffrey Shaw, Sarah Kenderdine, Robert Lepage, Stan Douglas, and the NFB Digital Studio.

This remarkable collection of culturally dynamic exhibits has been curated to showcase the best in comparative interactive technologies. Step into three dimensional worlds and be transported to heritage sites a world away. Tour guides will speak to the technology, art, and narrative of each exhibit. This collected experience that will allow you to imagine how immersive technologies might be used in our future. 

Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures: A Festival of Immersive Arts is offered as three site-specific tours. Two tours Place-Hampi + and Pure Land+ are offered on alternating days. The third tour of the festival, Circa 1948, runs daily (Tuesday - Sunday) and is situated in the nearby Woodward’s Atrium.  

Pure Land Exhibit:

Pure Land by Sarah Kenderdine and Jeffrey Shaw

Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang is an immersive installation created by Jeffrey Shaw and Sarah Kenderdine, leading scholars and artists in virtual reality technology. Previously only seen in North America at the Smithsonian Arther M. Sackler Gallery, we are proud to host the Canadian Premiere of this fascinating and thought-provoking project.

An extraordinary, animated 3D experience, Pure Land immerses visitors in the heritage of ancient Buddhist grotto temples. The artwork features the Dunhuang Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that marked the gateway to China on the ancient Silk Road.

Visitors step into the innovative AVIE technology system, a large 360-degree panoramic 3D projection theatre that brings them right inside a cave temple, where they view magnificent Buddhist wall paintings at one-to-one scale. The installation brings to life a beautiful story, painted as a single composition on the north wall of Cave 220. This detailed mural depicts the paradise Eastern Pure Land of the Medicine Buddha, Bhaisajyaguru. Figures and objects in these paintings are dramatized with interactive 3D animations and digital effects that reveal their painterly beauty and underlying narrative meanings.  

Pure Land + Companion Exhibits:


Created by Sarah Kenderdine and Jeffrey Shaw

Adapted from writer Samuel Beckett’s narrative ‘The Lost Ones’, UNMAKEABLELOVE is a virtual reality installation that focuses and makes interactively tangible a state of confrontation and interpolation between our selves and a community of computer generated people who are living in a severe state of physical confinement and existential deprivation.

UNMAKEABLELOVE presents this community of real-time animated figures in the ‘Re-Actor system, using 3D projections on screens that are arranged as a 6-meter wide hexagonal room. This installation allows viewers to walk around and peer into the scene using flash lights as interfaces that project virtual light beams into the room, and illuminate a dystopian world that resonates with Dante’s Purgatory.

Audience warning: UNMAKEABLELOVE contains mature content with scenes of sex and/or violence. Some viewers can find it disturbing.

Fall Again, Fall Better.

Created by Jeffrey Shaw

In this interactive installation, a standing group of digitally-created 3D human figures are seen on a large TV screen. When visitors take hold of a SkyTrain handle, it causes these figures to fall; then they rise again when the handle is let go. The manner in which these figures fall is different every time so that each fall event presents a singular agregation of bodies.


Digital Futures Pureland+ and Place-HAMPI+ tours feature notable SFU artists and research from SFU's School for the Contemporary Arts in Vancouver and the School for Interactive Technology in Surrey, including the work of: Arne Eigenfeldt, Matt Gingold, Thecla Schiphorst, Philippe Pasquier, Jim Bizzocchi, Steve DiPaola, Miles Thorogood.


(SIAT Curatorial Committee: Gabriela Aceves-Sepúlveda, Kate Hennessy, Thecla Schiphorst)

Generations engages notions of materiality, embodiment, subjectivity, and memory as they are expressed in contemporary generative art practice. The works use computation to endow machines with agency for the autonomous production of outcomes that are generally outside of the control of their makers. As a play on programming iterations, life cycles, artificial intelligence, and creative possibilities, these works generate spaces for affective engagement between machine and information, subject and object, individual and avatar, and signal and noise. Landscapes, bodies, movements, sounds, and materials are transformed by their interactions with code and its generative potential.

For information on other Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures Tours:

Click here to sign up for Place Hampi + (offered on alternative days)

Circa 1948 is now SOLD OUT, but a standby list will occur each day in the event that reservations are not claimed. (running daily Tuesday-Sunday in the Woodward's Atrium)

Installation Loan - Pure Land, PLACE-HAMPI, Fragmentation, Fall Again Fall Better.

AVIE 360 System kindly sponsored by Chronus Art Center, Shanghai.

Special thanks to Dillion Zhang for the generous support of it's loan for this exhibition

ReACTOR System kindly sponsored by City University Hong Kong.

Touring Exhibition Team - Pure Land, PLACE-HAMPI, Fragmentation, Fall Again Fall Better.

Project Manager - Damian Leonard

AVIE and ReACTOR System Engineer - Joe Leung

AVIE Application Software - Leith Chan

ReACTOR Application Software - Yossi Landesman

Local Support Engineers - Fiera Lo and Sunny Chan


Admission is free, but tours must be pre-booked.


When: September 18 – October 16. Tuesday – Friday 1-7 pm (last tour at 6 pm), Saturday – Sunday 1-5 pm (last tour at 4 pm).

Where: Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St.

Two other tours companion tours are available: Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures: A Festival of Immersive Arts is offered as three separate tours to the public. Place-Hampi + and Pure Land+ are offered on alternating days as each tour features different artwork that projects onto the same technological systems. Each tour is 45 minutes in length. Circa 1948 is situated in the nearby Woodward’s Atrium, which is a 10 minute walk away. Circa 1948 runs daily (Tuesday-Sunday), and is approximately 10 minutes in length.

All tours must be booked in advance. When booking tours at both locations, please ensure that your booking times are staggered, in order to have adequate time to see each exhibit and travel between venues (15 minutes for Circa 1948, 45 minutes for Place-Hampi+ and Pure Land+). 

Group bookings of 10 or more people need to book via our box office. Each tour is restricted to a maximum of 25 people. 

To contact our box office services, call 778-782-9286. Our box office is open 2:00-6:00 pm, each Wednesday – Saturday.

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