The Wilderness Downtown

The Wilderness Downtown is an interactive film by director Chris Milk and Google Creative Lab Technology Lead Aaron Koblin, it is an interpretation of Arcade Fire’s song We Used To Wait from The Suburbs Album. The project was made using HTML5 and acts as a interactive music video/Google Chrome experiment that utilises the browser’s features.

It begins on this webpage: where you are asked to input the address of the place that you grew up, multiple windows open up as the music kicks into beat. From here on out you experience partly film, partly animation and VFX alongside some Google maps and Street View geomapping. All these elements introduce you to a story that is ultimately obscurely related to you personally, thus making for a very nostalgic and emotional experience.

I find this video interesting as it utilises technology to engage the viewer, it is in its essence an experimental product that was intended to test out various functions of Google chrome; but instead of simply being an experiment they have followed the theme of the chosen song and created a wonderful nostalgic experience. The other thing that is interesting about this piece is that it is has an underlying theme of interactivity. This is something that seems to be becoming much more popular within the industry. As the video goes on Chrome seems draw the viewer in by creating windows that show off various different things. These combined with the audio drags the viewer into believing that this is a trip down memory lane. The use and idea of this is quite interesting as I said before, we seem to be getting more and more of the immersive trend within media.


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