Walzer is a virtual reality experience with several stories circling women’s rights and the first wave of feminism during the late 19th and early 20th century.

As you travel through a virtual photographic landscape, a waltz is your guide. When you move around, the waltz morphs into a variety of moods. It never leaves your side. Multiple different instruments invite you into multiple different atmospheres. Voices whisper, sing, yell, narrate stories, songs and poems in eight different languages. They want you to know about far away places, your own past and emotions that may feel familiar. Even though they might address you in a language you don’t understand, you could be enlightened by other visitors. Inside this virtual world the user’s knowledge, background and behavior determines the experience. Afterwards you have to discuss with others to determine what you have just experienced.

This vr was built with thousands of unknown personal photographs found on flea markets, online marketplaces and private collections. Personal history that was hiding in boxes and albums. Most pictures were made by anonymous photographers or, as most of them from the 19th century, in local photo studios. During the process of collecting and digital restoration, intriguing stories emerged. Narratives developed when we connected pictures with other pictures and combined them with music, words, sounds and 3D technology.

Walzer was created by composer & performer Frieda Gustavs and visual artist & photography collector Leo Erken with technical support by Cris Mollee and Malou Minkjan.

The central waltz in the project was composed by Frieda Gustavs and performed by Catarina Gomez, Pedro Silva, Mafalda C. Oliveira, Daniel Ferreira (saxophones), Khrystyna Kulchynska (cello), Anastasia Zavorina (double bass), Arjan Linker (trombone), Piotr Majoor (trumpet), Nuno Lobo (bassoon), Teresa Costa (bass flute) and Frieda Gustavs (gamelan, glockenspiel, accordion, melódica, guitar, bouzouki, ukulele, cavaquinho, piano and voice).

Voice girl in the woods: Ann Kolman. Russian voices: Nadezhda Titova, Natalia Eremina and Yana Volovich. English voice: Emily Bannister. German and Dutch voice: Frieda Gustavs. German voice: Svea Gustavs, Polish voice: Nina Pokutycka, Dutch voices: Kristy van Dijk, Ernie Buts and Mies Dijksterhuis. Japanese and Dutch voice: Kiriko Mechanicus. Italian voice: Olivia Benali. Portuguese voice: Inês Lopes.

Special thanks to Jilt van Moorst and Marie Louise Schipper.

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