The Most Northern Place is an HTML5 site that blends in WebRTC technology to create a truly immersive experience on both desktop and mobile platforms.
Collaborating with Anrick Bregman - who documented and wrote the story with Nicole Paglia and Ruben Feurer - a designer of unparalleled talent and UNIT9 - a multidisciplinary production company, we developed the site to help tell this story in the most effective way possible; to create an experience that was both immersive and accessible.
With the idea of producing more stories in the not so distant future, the site has been constructed with a robust template that allows us to add in new technologies as different stories require.
The site features the story of Thule, a municipality in Northern Greenland until it was overtaken by the U.S Army at the height of the cold war. The native population was resettled 67 miles to the north, in Qaanaaq.
The resettlement happened in four days without any prior notice. This site is a short web documentary chronicling the memories of those four days, of the people, the places and the atmosphere.
I wanted to create an experience like The Most Northern Place years ago but never really managed to make it happen. Now I feel we have crafted something truly beautiful. We wanted [it] to be deliberately simple but allow visitors to engage and immerse themselves in a place of openness and calm.
An immersive experience
The site leads visitors through a multisensory experience that utilises a composed soundtrack, and ambient sounds for each chapter of the story. The dreamlike transitions and ethereal typography help to further the immersive nature of the site.
Each part of the site has been carefully considered in order to enhance the story, with specific focus placed on the transitions as a device to help control pace. Here, what you don’t see is just as important as what you do. While visitors are reading a chapter, the next slides are loading behind the scenes, allowing a seamless transition between slides.
Story specific technology
The Most Northern Place features a WebRTC radio that mimics the CB communication used by the majority of Greenlanders to make contact with the outside world. The radio on the site projects visitors voices to other users and allows them to share stories of their own. With the template driven site we have left the window open to adding in new technologies as each story dictates.
My partnership with Roll played a key part in developing the story of the The Most Northern Place, and was the crucial link in how this webdoc was visualised. As we went through iterations of the project, where I was exploring the creative and technical direction that felt right for this story, the team at Roll were focused and dedicated, structuring their process around my ideas and providing a final web build that is highly customisable and feels just right. Roll were always excited to experiment and stretch the project further.
We wanted to keep the device from hindering the experience, so we approached mobile and tablet with the core aim of retaining as much atmosphere as the version of the site. By creating a script that optimized all the desktop imagery, the animation running on mobile is as smooth and consistent as that of the desktop. This is all automated in the background and makes the creation of assets in the future an extremely easy process.
Luigi de Rosa