After meeting while studying an MA in Virtual and Extended Realities, Harry and Chris set up Tangle Immersive so they could experiment with immersive experiences that are full-bodied and interactive and create opportunities for Bristol’s burgeoning immersive community to come together.
They are currently based in Broadwalk Shopping centre in Knowle and working on Storytime Tipi, a playful immersive experience telling the story of change and community. It is a multi-sensory story that takes flight in Knowle and evolves by interacting with the toys around you.
Harry and Chris share a couple of their wildest ideas with us in the video above. To find out more about their work, read the full interview below.
What’s the thing about your work that you really want to talk about?
Harry: I think I’m just excited about the potential. And thinking about how as a business we have these broad skills in all this different stuff; creative technology, web three, immersive and all of future technology. There’s all this potential which we have and I’m really excited about our next few ideas that we want to do and spread out in the city to work with other people.
Christina: I think it’s exciting how over the last six months we’ve been working on Storytime Tipi, which has gone through many iterations in terms of being a community multi-sensory projection mapping project. And now coming to the end of it, I feel everything’s opened up in terms of the direction we can take this project, even though it was not what we imagined at the beginning.
The fact that we can take it to all these different places, showcase it in other organisations, and user test it in all these fun and different ways. I think it’s really exciting to work with various organisations in Bristol and different kinds of creatives to see what we can make with them with Storytime Tipi.
Who is your work for?
Harry: I’d like to say everyone because of where we’re based in Broadwalk it’s nice that we can give access to the weird world of pioneering immersive technology to people who don’t have access to any of this.
Christina: I think at this point in our careers, in our business, and also just where we are situated as well there’s a massive thing for us to make sure what we’re doing is accessible. So whether that’s giving opportunities to young people or other creatives that wouldn’t normally have access to creative tech.
We aim to collaborate with other makers that want to get into the space. That probably comes from when we started on our MA and not having any knowledge around immersive tech and VR, but being put in a studio space with loads of other creatives that also don’t know what they’re doing. Being encouraged to go make something, to just enjoy. I think that’s something I think we still love and carry with us. I think particularly for this business that’s something that we really wanted to do.
What’s the community like in Bristol?
Harry: I was about to say it’s been hard getting involved with the communities here but there was a pandemic as soon as we started thinking about making a business. So there was a big old wall between us and trying to get involved. All of our job aspects and opportunities just disappeared.
As we were starting up again and trying to get back into Bristol we were focused on getting into the community through Knowle West Media Centre and by having people dropping by to visit us in Broadwalk Shopping Centre wanting to get involved with us, which has been really nice.
Christina: I think the community in Bristol, particularly the immersive community, has been welcoming and very up for trying things out. I didn’t come from an arts background or anything so I think it’s interesting if you don’t come from that world, trying to get into immersive and finding that out can be a little bit of a barrier. After I finished uni, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to get into maybe do something a bit more creative.
A lot of it was just by chance I found an access to level three game development course. And then went to Limina, the first VR pop-up cinema, I remember going there with a friend and we were the very first to experience it. Afterwards, I remember going to a talk about VR and immersive tech. It just blew my mind I never thought you could do these things. That was an amazing experience that got me into the immersive space and where I’m at now. Particularly in VR, I think everyone more or less comes from a very non-traditional route because there really isn’t a traditional route.
What does a hopeful future look like to you?
Harry: Hopefully it’ll be nice to have our own space. Either Broadwalk is still there and we’re still there in it, or it’s been knocked down but we’ve got our own little other space. We have a solid community of people who regularly want to come in get involved and collaborate with us. We’ve got regular people coming in and going, ‘hey build this interactive experience’, ‘build this immersive experience for us’. So we’ve got an income…that’d be great!
Christina: Yeah, I think if we’re talking about the next five/ten years I just think of this explosion of colours from people from different industries, people with different experiences, being able to interact and collaborate with each other. Using all these different kinds of skill sets that you might never have thought of would come together, and using tech in a way that is…
Harry: almost a tech renaissance.
Christina: Yeah! And also, I would love to have more students working with us. Right now, we have Monica, she’s one of my students who I actually teach at the college. She’s been doing work experience with us at Tangle And I would love to be able to offer that to more young people and more creatives.
Harry: So we almost start laying the foundation for a journey for people into the immersive sector, attempting to open source the immersive industry.