Ghosts, Toasts and the Things Unsaid

Australia, 2016

Mixed reality

Steve and Maude are keeping secrets. Do you want to hear them? Become their ghosts and haunt the kitchen where they fell in love, grew old and apart.

‘Ghosts, Toast and the Things Unsaid’ is an intimate virtual reality (VR) experience that explores the thoughts we don’t share, the desires we keep covered and how they affect our relationships. The work invites audiences into the lives of two characters, Maude and Steve, and into the kitchen where they fell in love and grew old together over 50 years. In the intimate, two-person VR experience, audiences choose the ghost they inhabit, then enter into the memory of their character to journey through time, discovering what went wrong in their relationship.

‘Ghosts, Toast and the Things Unsaid’ is a virtual reality (VR) experience, consisting of two different asynchronous VR screenings in a custom Android application, deployed to a Samsung Galaxy 8 mobile phone and Samsung Gear headset. This VR application is experienced within a physical installation that is an integral part of the exhibition of this work.

In the exhibit at ACMI visitors were greeted by a staff member who sent them into one of two specially designed booths via a ouija board. The booths contained a ghost sheet housing a hidden virtual reality headset and headphones. Depending on which booth visitors entered they were transported back to the life of characters Steve or Maude. A VR headset was placed on the visitors head, and a ghost sheet buttoned on top. The application initially activated the camera of the device. The device’s camera was lined up with one of the ghost sheet’s eye holes. In front of the visitor was a mirror, allowing them to see themselves, seated wearing the ghost sheet. The 360 degree video then replaced the camera view and played out to its duration. Characters moved in 360 degrees around the visitor. By changing their orientation, visitors could hear the inner voice of the characters they chose to look at and follow them around the room as they moved.

‘Ghosts, Toast and the Things Unsaid’ has been commissioned in partnership with Google’s Creative Lab, and produced by creative agency Sandpit in partnership with Grumpy Sailor, the technology build partner for this commission.

The exhibit at ACMI was based on a play, co-developed by Google’s Creative Lab and Sandpit, which was first performed at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, where it won the award for ‘Best Interactive’. ACMI’s commission incorporates a 360 degree video recording of the live performance into a 16 minute VR experience.

Sandpit’s Director, Dan Koerner, says the ACMI commission has given his company the ability to tell a made-for-theatre story in a new way.

“At Sandpit we love telling stories using a huge range of tools. The ACMI commission to make ‘Ghosts, Toast and the Things Unsaid’ into a VR film has been a great example of this; moving from digitally augmented live performance to virtual reality with a great team of performers, composers, designers and developers. The project has allowed us to use technology to fully immerse audiences in a way that is surprising and we hope, quite moving.”


In ACMI's collection



Sandpit Media Pty Ltd

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Digital Art

Virtual Reality


Samsung Galaxy S7 mobile phone, Samsung Gear VR HMD and executable file

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