Vancouver Japanese Language School
487 Alexander St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A 1C6
The Book of Distance at the Powell Street Festival 2021!
Free VR Presentation
In 1935, Yonezo Okita left his home in Hiroshima, Japan, and began a new life in Canada. Then war and state-sanctioned racism changed everything—he became the enemy. Three generations later, his grandson, artist Randall Okita, leads us on an interactive virtual pilgrimage through an emotional geography of immigration and family to recover what was lost.
The Book of Distance blends techniques from mechanical sculpture, film, and stage to redefine personal storytelling in virtual reality. Family archives add a haunting layer of realism. 2D and 3D hand-crafted sets reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, evocative character design, and seamless choreography combine with surprising moments of interaction to gently whisk us across the ocean and through the years.
Okita invites us to participate in this generous act of imagination: a space of magical theatre and generational echoes. He never strays too far from our side as we move through the story’s darker moments. His need to reclaim his grandfather’s lost moments becomes our own. Together we reimagine a significant moment in history and take part in a very personal journey of loss and recovery.
Presented with the collaboration of the National Film Board and in-kind support from Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Accessibility Disclaimer: The VR headset can be disorienting for folks who are neuro-divergent.