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Digital Culture Award Winner Case Study: Roland Lane

A hologram of a dancer, sparkling in a a small spotlight against a black void.
Image Credit: Roland Lane

Director Roland Lane has a passion for embracing emerging technologies and the possibilities they present for innovative creative exploration. His distinctive style explores shape and form and often combines modern and traditional mediums. Through his collaborative approach, Roland has had work shown at prestigious venues worldwide, including the V&A and SXSW festival.

Roland was named the Winner in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards Content Creator category, for his Mixed Reality installation Sonzai.

The winning project

Sonzai is an arresting Mixed Reality installation experience, featuring a photorealistic hologram dancing in the V&A Paintings Gallery. Viewed through Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 spatial computing headset, the hologram performs amongst an audio-visual environment inspired by the heightened brain stimulation and activity that dancing triggers.

Sonzai from Roland Lane trailer

One of Roland’s aims with Sonzai was to showcase what an art installation of the future will look and feel like for the audience. By combining volumetric capture, Unreal Engine, and the latest HoloLens 2 technology from Microsoft, the lines between the physical and virtual worlds blur, offering a dynamic new way to engage with visual art and performance.

This exciting world premier is a great example of how technology can be used to enhance the museum experience. Mixing traditional and contemporary artistic techniques to make magic, this work gives audiences a taste of the future.

Helen Spencer, Content Creator Judge

With an innovative and collaborative approach, Roland has created an ambitious piece that demonstrates the latest immersive technology and offers a new way to experience visual and performance art. This interdisciplinary collaboration reflects Roland’s commitment to exploring emerging technologies and their potential for creative expression.

Roland, a man wearing a great jumper and a white shirt, collects his Digital Culture Award on stage. He is holding his award and speaking into the lectern microphone. Behind him we see the host, Emma-Louise, who is smiling and wears a yellow jumpsuit. Behind Emma-Louise is a BSL interpreter, signing to the audience.
Photo credit: K. Lam-Clark (Mediorite)

We checked in with Roland to get his thoughts on the future of digital technology in the creative and cultural sector.

What have you learned?

Mixing new, immersive tech with more established art forms doesn’t just turn people onto new ways of experiencing things, it also makes traditional content accessible to new generations.

What’s next on your digital journey?

The impact immersive technololgy and innovation more generally can have on cultural and artistic institutions is enormous. I think in the coming years will see an awful lot of positive disruption and we’ll begin to connect with, and experience, art and performance in new and exciting ways.

About the Content Creator category

Content Creator celebrates an individual’s innovative use of digital technology to create and distribute creative and cultural content into homes, venues and community spaces. Roland Lane won the category in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards for his entry Sonzai – A groundbreaking mixed reality art installation at the V&A in London.

2023 Digital Culture Award Winners

Meet and be inspired by more of the brilliant Winners in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards. The nine categories celebrate innovation in areas including digital content creation and distribution, online audience engagement, digital income development strategies, data-led decision-making and overall commitment to digital skills development and capacity building.

Want to expand your digital content skills?

The Digital Culture Network can help! Our digital experts can provide free 1-2-1 support to all creative and cultural individuals and organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help with a specific issue or would just like to chat about your digital ambitions, please get in touch.

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