Cardiff creative studio releases 360º immersive documentary about life onboard the eco arts project schooner Arka Kinari

4Pi Productions’ film will be screened at CULTVR in Cardiff from December to March

For the past four years, a stunning 70-tonne sailing ship, Arka Kinari, has been sailing the world staging extraordinary performances at some large ports, but also many of the smallest and most remote.

The project, which aims to promote resilience to climate change and re-engagement with the sea, began after musicians Grey Filastine and Nova Ruth (known as Filastine & Nova) decided to find the most ecological way to take their message around the world – and settled on a sailing boat.

By day Arka Kinari hosts workshops, skill shares, and small concerts by local musicians. By night the ship transforms into a stage for the performance by Filastine & Nova, using music to sound the alarm for climate change and cinematic visuals to imagine life after the carbon economy.

In 2022, Cardiff-based multimedia studio 4Pi Productions got involved in the project. Set up by international multidisciplinary artists Matt Wright and Janire Nájera in 2013, 4Pi merges the boundaries between art, design and technology to make shared immersive experiences, with a strong focus on 360-degree domes which places audiences into the center of the narratives being explored.

Last year, 4Pi team members Matt Wright, Janire Najera and Rhys Davies travelled to Indonesia, to document Filastine & Nova’s voyages on board Arka Kinari, sailing across the Indonesian archipelago.  The unique immersive footage captured during this trip laid the foundation for a documentary film and an XR live performance, starring Filastine & Nova and with 4Pi providing the live visuals. This was presented in Cardiff and Plymouth in 2022 and received both standing ovations from the audiences as well as an honourable mention for live performance at Best of Earth Awards 2023.

Since then, the 4Pi team returned to Bali to further refine and develop the project, capturing new footage for a new 40-minute, 360-degree immersive documentary placing the audience at the heart of life on board Arka Kinari.

The film brings Filastine & Nova’s extraordinary project to life, capturing stunning footage of the boat’s journeys and the pair’s live performances and work with communities along the way.

“It is not often that you meet people that change their entire way of life so that their artistic method matches their message,” says Matt. “Nova and Filastine have found a solution to tour internationally in a sustainable way, bringing their art to remote islands and ports and sharing skills and processes for knowledge exchange along the way.

“They also record live sessions with musicians as they travel, preserving the intangible musical heritage of the communities they interact with. We love the absurdity of the concept, the complexity of its delivery and the passion and commitment with which it is delivered. At a time where the world is facing a series of unprecedented challenges and critical turning points, we love the inspirational ray of hope that this project provides.”

The seven weeks spent travelling across Indonesia onboard Arka Kinari – on a budget only intended to support two people – was a challenge, requiring the team to capture 360º footage on a moving vessel constantly affected by the winds and tides. However, Janire says it was a hugely positive experience – and the 4Pi team became part of the crew activities, helping whenever they could with deck duties, cooking, cleaning and anchor watch.

“It was incredible to travel through Indonesia with such a creative team, with Nova, Filastine and guests playing music until the late hours, rehearsing or improvising when local musicians come on board or when witnessing the amazing outreach and education work they conduct,” she says. “We feel privileged to have shared a part of their journey and witness the immediate impact they had at each and every location they visited and hope the film and live show provides audiences with an engaging window into these extraordinary people’s lives.”

It is part of 4Pi’s mission to create work that inspires positive change and brings awareness to climate and ecological concerns, so this project is very close to their heart. They are now looking forward to sharing it with audiences with a run of monthly screenings, starting next week.

“We hope the film and live performance of Arka Kinari will be able to reach new audiences and transport them within this story that shares a message about climate resilience through music and art,” says Janire.

The 40-minute immersive documentary, The Voyage of Arka Kinari, will be screened on the following dates at CULTVR, 4Pi’s immersive research lab for digital arts, live performance, XR and fulldome cinema at 327 Penarth Rd, Cardiff CF11 8TT.

December 7 – Public Premiere with Q&A

January 18 – Screening

February 15 – Screening

March 15 – Screening