Chuck Kuan

Some Things Never Wash Out
vr immersive narrative experience (2016)

A collaboration with Yining Fei, Leo Bancou, Remina Greenfield, Mina Rafiee, and Yue Lin.

Exhibited at Immersive Storytelling Symposium 2017

Some Things Never Wash Out is the story of a lonesome young man who unexpectedly discovers portals to his dreams and memories within the unremarkable, context of his building’s laundry room. Leafing idly through a book and waiting for his clothes to dry, the man is suddenly transported to a magical version of his childhood hometown, where rainstorms erupt indoors, golden fireflies dance in the streetlights, and once-treasured objects shimmer and beckon in the distance. In this beautiful and dusky dreamscape, our hero is confronted by memories of his estranged sister, whose insistent voice leads him through his grandfather’s old laundromat, along a melancholy ice- encrusted road, and into a mysterious abandoned movie theatre where her glowing outline awaits.

The story uses a combination of 360 video and virtual reality to create a surreal immersive experience, a meditation on how we occasionally slip into imaginative worlds while going about the ordinary tasks of our day. Our body may be sitting in a laundry room patiently waiting for our clothes to finish, but our minds take advantage of the pause to wander through our childhood memories, fanciful dreams, and adult regrets. These images leave their indelible marks on our subconscious and, though we may lose them due to neglect or attempt to hide them in the shadows, it is in our idle and unguarded moments that they will inevitably float back up to the surface. They may change colors, they may fade and begin to dissolve, but they are part of us and they will never fully wash out.