Creative collective Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) delight in exploring the line between virtual and real-world experiences. The first chapter of Treehugger: Wawona is centred on nature’s cathedral, the giant Sequoia from the famous Sequoia National Park (California, USA). Wawona is the (local Native American) Miwok’s word for ‘hoot of an owl’, imitating the sound of the Northern Spotted Owl – believed to be the tree’s spiritual guardian. Participants are invited to don a VR headset, place their heads into the tree’s knot and be transported into the Sequoia’s secret inner world. The longer you hug the tree, the deeper you drift into ‘treetime’: a hidden dimension that lies just beyond the limit of our senses. Audiences embark on a journey of abstract visualisation, following a single drop of water as it traverses from root to canopy in these enormous living structures.
This project uses the latest 3D imaging techniques. A combination of LIDAR, white light and CT scanning creates a VR experience that distorts space and time and makes the invisible visible. We love this experience so much, not just because it is the trippiest thing we have done since taking acid but because knowing what it might feel like to be a drop of water inside a tree, is only really possible now – through the medium of VR.