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  • VR / 360 Video
Anakwad is a shapeshifter bear ritual from the indigiqueer perspective. Bear medicine is a powerful intentional energy of transformation as part of the human experience and encourages healing through reconnecting to the earth and one’s own nature.
  • Ty Defoe
  • Dov Heichemer
  • alpha_rats

Anakwad is based on an Anishinaabe tale of the sleeping bear dunes, in which two baby bears wandering the dunes lose their mother when a fire takes place symbolizing societies loss of connection to earth and the complex queer experience of familial loss. The bear medicine performance and a queer noise night to transform the work into the ritual of bear medicine.

In the first version we worked very closely with the piece as a spoken narrative with time in a MoCap studio we were able to bring the bear medicine dance into the piece recording Ty Defoe’s performance of bear medicine and transmuting him into a bear apparition. The piece now inherits the properties of an indigiqueer ritual.


Ty Defoe
Dov Heichemer

alpha_rats / Developer and Technical Artist Lead
Vladimir Storm / Shader Development

3d Design
alpha rats / 3d Modeling
Renderfruit – Clara Luzian / 3d Modeling

Soundtrack Composition
Suzanne Kite
Devin Ronnenberg
bookworms /nik Dawson
Ty Defoe

SFX Sound Design
A Shell in the Pit Audio Studio
Millie Wissar / Audio Direction and Sound Design Em Halberstadt / Sound Design
Nicholas Zhang / Technical Sound Design
Rachel Sim / Audio Production

Ty Defoe / Performer

NYU Motion Capture Studio
Todd Bryant / Studio Lead
Christopher Strawley / MoCap Technician
Derek Chan / MoCap Technician

An XR Coven Production
The XR Coven is an international collective of artists and immersive engineers that work within the current zeitgeist to promote collective agency.

During the 2022 Quills Fest, a 2D video playthrough version of this project was available to all ticket holders.

Watch 2D Video Playthrough

Project Images

Anakwad screen showing a shapeshifter bear ritual with lightening overhead
Anakwad screen showing a shapeshifter bear ritual with lightening overhead
Anakwad screen showing a shapeshifter bear ritual during daytime
Anakwad screen showing a shapeshifter bear ritual with lightening overhead


Ty Defoe

Ty Defoe

Ty Defoe // Director & Performer Ty Defoe, Giizhig Indigiqueer citizen of Oneida and Ojibwe Nations. Interdisciplinary story artist, writer, and world-builder. Grammy Award, Sundance Fellow, helen Merrill Playwriting Award, Jonathan Larson Award, Cultural Captial Fellow w/ First People’s Fund, Robert Rauchenburg Artist in Residence, and Kennedy Center Next 50! He|We|Ty,

On Instagram | Web

Dov Heichemer

Dov Heichemer

Dov Heichemer // Director Dov is an immersive artist and director whose works have been shown at Cannes, SXSW, Swiss Modern Art Museum, IDFA, OSF Ashland, The Museum of Other Realities, Queer National Arts Festival, Todays Art Festival, and recipient of Sundance New frontier grant amongst others.

Social IG aggressive_orchid


alpha_rats // Developer and Technical Artist alpha has developed over 15 XR experiences including social XR. Their work has been published in the Oculus App Store and shown at International film festival such as SXSW, Venice Biennale, Tribeca and Sundance amongst others.

Social IG alpha_rats – Twitter : alpha_rats – website :