Kosmik Journey: Ayahuasca Experienced Through the Screen

Ayahuasca has been around for centuries, it is an ancient brew made mainly from the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub along with stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. For those of you that are not so familiar with what it is for, ayahuasca is used for a ceremony that is led by a shaman who prepares it. The ceremony begins by ingesting this tea that leads you to an altered state of consciousness and takes you on a “journey” to enlightenment. It was used for spiritual purposes by the ancient Amazonian tribes but now has become popular worldwide among those who seek to heal from traumas, increase their mindfulness and spirituality. 

Getting on this journey is not really so accessible as many people have to travel to countries like Peru, Costa Rica, and Brazil where modern day retreats are offered to the brave and the curious. But now, Jan Kounen, the Netherlands-born French film filmmaker whose best-known credits are “Dobermann‎” and “Blueberry,” has delivered his most personal work so far with “Ayahuasca,” a virtual reality experience exploring shamanic medicine from the Peruvian jungle. This virtual reality experience made its debut at the 18th Annual Tribeca Festival and is produced by AtlasV, A_Bahn and Small studio.

Photo screen grabbed from Ayahuasca Trailer

Ayahuasca is a unique way for the audience to indulge their minds on the cultural and spiritual mysteries of going on an Ayahuasca journey, without having to take the actual substance of course. It hopes to stay faithful to the original Shipibo tradition of consuming this plant as a transformative and meditative ritual. The experience caters to an interactive environment where an indigenous South American shaman, Kestembetsa (born Guillermo Arévalo Valera) guides you through your psychedelic experience to allow you to evolve through it more similar to a real ayahuasca journey. Motion sensors in the headset allows the program to keep track of the user’s movement and adjust its visuals accordingly to make sure the user enjoys the visual feast that’s in store until the finale.

The project aims to not only take you on a visual journey, but it also aims to let its audience experience the possibility to share a mind-altering, therapeutic experience like the Ayahuasca medicine because of immersive technology, as well as sensory techniques to bring you in, in a way that no film can do.

Photo screen grabbed from Ayahuasca Trailer

Cover Photo screen grabbed from Ayahuasca Trailer

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