An immersive, cinematic art experience designed for 360 cinemas, domes, virtual reality headsets by Roderick Coover (FR/USA) and Krzysztof Wołek (PL).

The Key To Time  is a highly experimental and imaginative, immersive, cinematic experience designed for 360 cinemas, domes, virtual reality headsets and other immersive formats. It offers a surreal and operatic, dream-like experience, and it bridges early cinema and virtual reality. The dreamlike story follows a scientist who is trapped in the future due to a time-travel accident. His only hope is to travel through dreams. Dreams, however, can also become nightmares.

The Key To Time was filmed at the CeTA Studios in Wroclaw, Poland. Blending live action and animation, The Key To Time  plunges viewers into a dreamlike adventure inside mechanisms of time and cinema itself.

The Key To Time is a dreamlike VR experience in which the dominant fantasy of a scientist's desire to win his love and save the world is undercut by persistent anxiety, aggression and disturbed memories.  Through a montage and collage, a mix color and black and white images, animation, intertitles, and sudden changes in dimension and perspective, the work toys with conventions and viewers' expectations. Synopsis and design... 

The narrative begins in a remote observatory where the scientist is trying to communicate across time with his love. To reach her, the scientist will travel through outer space and the inner workings of clocks and zoetropes to try to reach his love and save the world. While a surface narrative plays with genres, puns, substitutions, interruptions, diversions and strange departures reveal underlying psychological drives and anxieties. Cutting between memories presented like silent films and fabulous, futuristic scenes, the experimental work plays with genres like space opera, expressionism and surrealism, as well as cinema itself.  View photo galleries...

The Key To Time is the result of an unique collaboration between media artist/filmmaker Roderick Coover and composer Krzysztof Wolek, made possible through an exciting award from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute supporting international artist-composer collaborations. Song and dialog elements layer over cinematic sequences filmed silently both in green screen studio settings and natural settings.

The cast features award-winning vocalists and actors including Joanna Freszel, Emily Albrink, Katherine Calcamuggio, Chad Sloan, Jesse Donner, Natalia Kalita and Paweł Smagała. It is sponsored through a major award from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute with co-funding and other support from Chouette Collective, Audio Visual Technology Center (CeTA), Temple University, Louisville University, TR Theater. Learn more...

Dramatic action was filmed at the Audio Visual Technology Center (CeTA) in Wroclaw, which stands on the site of the historic film studio, Wroclaw Feature Film Studio. A major center of vanguard film production in Poland, Wroclaw Feature Film Studio was home to the production of legendary works such as Wojciech Jerzy Has' Saragossa Manuscript (1964), Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds (1958) and Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water (1962). In 2011, the studios were revitalized as the Audiovisual Technology Center and it has the largest universal green-box studio in Poland. The history of the studio as well as the production conditions made it ideal for this project about cinema and its evolving forms.

Venues for The Key To Time are 360 degree cinema, 180 degree cinema, domes, virtual reality headset viewing room and large projection. The length for a full experience is 44 minutes. Shorter 10-15 minute segments designed for VR gallery experiences are also available.

Formats Include:

  1. 2D and 3D equirectangular video for 360-degree cinema and CAVES in 8k, 6K, 5K, 4k and 2K formats with 5.1 and/or stereo sound. Over/under format for 3D. Most common codecs such as H264 and H265 are supported. 
  2. 2D and 3D for 180-degree full dome/planetarium format video and image sequences in 4k and 2K formats with 5.1 sound. Most common codecs such as H264 and H265 supported. Separate image and sound tracks available.  
  3. 2D and 3D for VR headsets in 6K, 5K, 4k and 2K. Format is H264 with ambisonic sound. Recommended for use with higher quality VR head-mounted displays and higher quality audio headsets for 40mps or 60mps playback. 
  4. Large projection formats and alternative gallery formats are also possible. Dome format still images can accompany gallery exhibitions of the work or be shown separately. 

Video Trailers And Samples  

Full screeners are available in the following forms: video, VR, dome. Installation and screening versions are available in 2D VR and 3D VR with 5.1 sound, 2D VR and 3D VR for headsets with ambisonic sound, 2D dome and 3D dome with 5.1 sound, 2D and 3D video with stereo and 5.1 sound. 8k,6k, 4k and 2k versions available in all formats. The Key To Time is made in English. Translations are available in French and Polish. Further video samples can be viewed here. Full screeners are available on request.


This project is one of the +100 works sponsored by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute (IAM) as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural program accompanying the centenary of Poland regaining independence. The work was primarily filmed in the green screen studios at CeTA Audio Visual Technology Center in Wroclaw. The work was produced by Chouette Collective with co-production from Adam Mickiewicz Institute and CeTA. Additional support was provided by TR Theater Warsaw. Temple University and Louisville University.

About The Artists 

Links for more information about award-winning collaborators Roderick Coover and Krzysztof Wolek.
Roderick Coover website
Krzysztof Wolek website

Cast And Artist Biographies 

The Key To Time features an award-winning cast including Joanna Freszel, Emily Albrink, Katherine Calcamuggio, Chad Sloan and Jesse Donner and actors Natalia Kalita and Paweł Smagała. Learn more...

Interview with Roderick Coover

"Storytelling in VR, CAVES and other emerging forms: An interview with Roderick Coover by Katarzyna Boratyn" in IMAGES Vol. XXIII no.32. Read PDF...

Photo Galleries  

Still images from The Key To Time, including production photos, stills and dome images. Learn more...

About +100

+100: Three Works Of An Emerging Avant Garde. Learn More...


Email contact form for Roderick Coover and the Chouette Collective.  Connect here...



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