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At this year’s Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (Berlinale), Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory’s VR-Video “Tartupaluk (Prototype)” invites the viewers to the eponymous island state in the Arctic north.

“Tartupaluk (Prototype)” is a virtual reality experience during which users are invited to visit the imaginary Republic of Tartupaluk (“looking like a kidney”). Starring director Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory as the larger-than-life, newly inaugurated President of the Republic, the work blends 360° live-action video, motion-capture animation and VFX to bring to life a poetic, sometimes humorous Inuit utopia set in this barren, uninhabited 1.3 sq km island within the territorial waters of both Canada and Greenland. Having been the subject of real-life, decades-old economic and political disputes between Ottawa and Copenhagen, Tartupaluk is thus completely re-imagined in Laakkuluk’s visionary extravaganza.
The work, set in the glorious spring weather of the Arctic, takes users on a surreal tour of the island accompanied by the President’s arch Kalaallisut/English/Inuktitut voice-over narration, cutting between her inaugural speech recreated in various locations (on the land, inside Tartupalummiut houses, and so on), and overlapped with 3D animations illustrating how a deserted and faraway, yet politically coveted piece of land can blossom into a cross-border, humanistic and convening “nation of lovers.”