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21 different ways VR is thriving as an indie art form

From tech-enhanced installations and theater pieces to fantasy and mystery to CGI and documentary film creations that can be explored through virtual reality headsets, VR is alive and well at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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Sarah Tew
2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
1 of 25 Sarah Tew/CNET

The 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival here in New York has opened its Virtual Arcade to press. From tech-enhanced installations and theater pieces to fantasy and mystery to CGI and documentary film creations that can be explored through virtual reality headsets, VR is alive and well at Tribeca. 

Into the Now is a shark-filled underwater experience. Participants sit in these moving pod-chairs to take it all in.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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From April 20 to 28, ticketed guests ($40) will be able to check out a slew of new and creative VR experiences. 

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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The first experience you'll see upon entering the arcade is called Objects in Mirror AR Closer than they Appear. According to the shownotes, it "fuses augmented-reality technology with an immersive theater installation, inviting audiences to reflect on the relationship between new media and archaic objects; 21st-century technology and 19th-century magic; and memory and optical illusion."

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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CNET's Scott Stein checks out the old-timey stereoscopic viewer that houses a phone with the VR experience.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Built around a site-specific sculpture of sorts, this experience invites viewers to investigate objects and memories in an environment that could well be the basement at your hoarder uncle's house.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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The Chalkroom invites participants to fly through a virtual artwork consisting of words, drawings and stories written in chalk by artists Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Where Thoughts Go is an intimate experience "set in a world where thoughts exist as sleeping creatures." After waking these creatures and listening to the voice messages of previous visitors, participants have the opportunity to record their own dreams or fears to leave inside for others to find.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Vestige is a creative nonfiction experience journeying through the mind of a woman as she remembers her lost love.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Meeting a Monster explores the mindset and background of former white supremacist Angela King, who extricated herself from a hate group and shared her story.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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The Dinner Party is based on the story of Betty and Barney Hill, the first people who reported UFO abduction in 1961 after recovering memories of their experience through hypnosis.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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The Day the World Changed "brings to viewers the harrowing impressions of the victims and survivors of atomic bombings and nuclear arms testing through first-hand testimonies, data visualizations and innovative use of 3D scanning and photogrammetry," according to the shownotes.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Fire Escape is an interactive VR series in which the viewer travels through a number of different New Yorkers' windows, as a mystery unfolds.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Participants in Queerskins: A Love Story get to know a mother's estranged son who has died of AIDS through memories presented in VR.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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1,000 Cut Journey puts the participant in the shoes of a black man as he encounters racism in situations from childhood onwards.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Battlescar takes place in the punk scene of the Lower East Side in 1978.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Spheres: Pale Blue Dot requires you to remove your shoes before entering. You'll explore the cosmos, the history of sound and the Big Bang. It's created by director Darren Aronofsky and narrated by Patti Smith.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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My Africa lets you experience Northern Kenya through the eyes of an elephant sanctuary keeper as they care for a baby elephant.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Coral Compass is about fighting climate change in the Pacific island of Palau, where fragile coral reefs are at stake.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Star Child is an upcoming PlayStation VR game that's being previewed at the Tribeca festival. It's a sci-fi adventure where you take part in a mission on an alien planet.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Lambchild Superstar is a collaborative virtual music-making experience.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Campfire Creepers is a horror experience involving a couple in the woods encountering a stranger. Apparently there are laughs as well as screams. You can play it at home on Oculus Rift or Gear VR starting April 21.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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The Hidden is one of several VR films made in conjunction with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as part of the VR for Good campaign. It explores a slavery rescue operation that took place in India.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Biidaaban: First Light is a 7-minute piece of radical "indigenous futurism" exploring issues of language.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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After viewing, guests exit through this installation that features live turtles in tanks.

2018 Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade
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Arden's Wake: Tide's Fall is an animated feature from Penrose Studios, about a young woman who lives with her father in a lighthouse floating over what once was New York.

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