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Awedyssey takes viewers on a surreal voyage from Earth to Mars, capturing the awe-inspiring beauty of our home planet and the mysteries of space.

Produced by

The iSpace Lab

Directed by

Bernhard E Riecke

Project Description

Originally created as an isolation countermeasure in VR during the 8-month long SIRIUS isolation study, Awedyssey is a surreal voyage filled with moments of awe inspiring beauty. Converted to fulldome to reach a wider public audience, Awedyssey begins on earth as the sun sets. As the night sky becomes visible, the aurora come to life overhead. An unfamiliar shape is seen on the horizon, and Mars slowly comes into view, passing overhead above the trees and aurora, capturing it's incredible scale. The audience is lifted into space and sent on a journey that sees an eclipse and passes over the moon before returning to Earth orbit.

This project was created by a team of VR researchers at Simon Fraser University's iSpace Lab. We incorporated a variety of techniques to overcome the challenges of showcasing the scale of the planets in VR. From using trees and other foreground objects to create parallax to simply traversing large distances the experience is full of unique efforts to evoke awe at the scale and beauty of our home planet.

. The incredibly high resolution visuals of the aurora borealis, Mars, and Earth come to life in the fulldome version.

Awedyssey was originally created to find ways to mitigate the psychological effects of isolation. This research project is run in collaboration between the ESA, NASA, UAE Space Agency, Germany’s DLR, and the Moscow IBMP involving experiments from teams from all around the world. A small crew spent 8 months in isolation, simulating the experience of being on Mars. During that time they used the VR experience developed in SFU's iSpace Lab to reflect on their connection to earth and humanity as well as the importance of their own mission as a way to feel less isolated.

Directed by: Bernhard E. Riecke
Design & Development: Noah Miller, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Ashu Adhikari
Fulldome Conversion: John Desnoyers-Stewart
Narrative and Concept: Ekaterina R. Stepanova, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Alexandra Kitson, Denise Quesnel
Research Design: Ekaterina R. Stepanova, Noah Miller
Voiceover: Ekaterina R. Stepanova
Sound Design: Patrick P. Pennefather
Collaborators: Alexander Stahn, Katharina Braun, Anika Friedl-Werner

With Support from: Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, German Aerospace Center (DLR) through grant 50WB1915, Simon Fraser University School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

About the Director

Bernhard E. Riecke is a visionary director and a pioneer in the realm of virtual reality and immersive storytelling. 

With over a decade of research experience in the Virtual Reality Group at the Max Planck Institute, Bernhard has continually pushed the boundaries of technology and art to create impactful experiences. His journey has taken him from Germany to Vanderbilt University and UC Santa Barbara, where he further honed his expertise.

Currently leading the iSpace Lab at Simon Fraser University, Bernhard and his multidisciplinary team are at the forefront of merging research, design, and artistic approaches to create immersive VR experiences that captivate audiences. 

Screening Details

Project Runtime


Programming Block

Visionaries of Tomorrow: Emerging Student Voices in Immersive Media

Screening Day & Time

May 04, 3:30 PM

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