Tom House The VR Experience

April 2023

“I wish I lived in that house.”

Quoting the Tom of Finland Foundation curator Marc Ransdell-Bellenger, who at the time lived in the Tom House.

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With generous help from Marc himself, legendary Durk Dehner, SR Sharp and the rest of the Foundation crew we managed to create an immersive representation of this Los Angeles landmark that has become iconic in the global gay culture.

To keep things interesting, the visitor gets to hear Durk himself narrate a variety of stories about the house, its past and current residents and the evolution of the wider gay culture over several decades. Additionally, the virtual tour features a plethora of high-fidelity pieces by Touko Laaksonen himself and selections from the Foundation’s vast archive of contributed homoerotic art. We even sprinkled in a few minigames and on-camera interviews!

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This is a stub page to briefly showcase the project we undertook with directors Carlos Marroquin & Marton Jelinko and the great team at Donkey Hotel. Full credits, some more info and contact details for interested exhibitors can be found on the project page: Tom House VR - Donkey Hotel.

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We did 2-3 years of ideation, pre-production and planning, had an extra one-year delay due to COVID, spent 2.5 weeks on the filming trip at the Tom House in Los Angeles and did roughly a year of post production to get the full thing built gallery-ready. A time-consuming but rewarding process where we realized the vision in its full three-tour interactive documentary epic glory for the Quest virtual reality headsets.

The piece was premiered in 2023 in Kiasma, the leading museum of modern art in Finland, where it spent half a year open for visitors of their enormous Tom Of Finland exhibition. Additionally it has been touring the film and immersive festival circuit in Brazil, Taiwan, Netherlands, Greece and beyond.

My involvement was as Production Manager during the LA trip and as Game Engine Development Lead throughout post production.

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Hope you get to visit the Tom House — either the real thing, or our virtual recreation! Absolutely wild place.

“Trying to remove all penises and dildos from the Tom House is like trying to remove Mickey Mouse from Disneyland”

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I intend to eventually expand this page with some more details, stories and behind-the-scenes pics.