On May 26, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono arrived in Montreal and checked into the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where over the next weeks they stayed in Rooms 1738, 1740, 1742 and 1744 and staged a “bed-in for peace” protest, welcoming the world’s media and celebrities as they protested the Vietnam War.
Now a luxury property owned by Fairmont Hotels, the Queen Elizabeth hotel is celebrating that historic event by inviting people to relive the bed-in with a virtual reality/augmented reality experience created by UNLTD.
The immersive VR experience, also supported by Ivanhoé Cambridge Properties and co-producer MassivArt Agency, uses state-of-the-art VR/3D cameras and shooting technology to highlight the newly redesigned Suite 1742.
— CPP-LUXURY.COM (@cppluxury) October 2, 2017
Their peaceful protest against the Vietnam War welcomed the world’s press along with friends and celebrities to the bedroom suite to witness and participate in their protest. While in Suite 1742, they recorded the iconic “Give Peace a Chance” anthem with the guests on-hand that day.
— Hawkins Intl PR (@HIPR) October 2, 2017
Now Fairmont Hotels guests can relive a historic piece of the hotel’s history by donning VR headsets, and from either Lennon’s or Yoko’s POV, watch and listen to “Give Peace a Chance,” with the lyrics featured on one wall and slogans above the bed reminiscent of the original protest signage of the suite.
— The Travel Group (@travelginsider) September 22, 2017
The Suite 1742 Virtual Bed-In Experience was conceived and directed by Carl Ruscica. As guests relax on the same bed where John and Yoko held their protest, a maid begins to clean the room and they are transported back to the 1960s as journalists rush the room firing questions.
“The ‘Suite 1742’ project is an immersive voyage that takes you on a journey from the present to the past, its part fiction and part documentary and offers insight into John and Yoko’s ideas and values at the time, which are still highly relevant today,” said Ruscica in a press release.
In addition to the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montreal, the experience is premiering at the Future of Storytelling Festival (FoST) in New York, from today through Sunday.
UNLTD was named a finalist for the Future of Storytelling Festival “Corporate Award” for this work. “Virtual and augmented reality are the next frontier in entertainment and branded content,” said UNLTD co-founder and CEO John Hamilton.
“At UNLTD we are committed to driving immersive content to new levels. It’s an amazing new storytelling platform and we’re developing cutting edge production techniques for immersive content. With this funding, we have the opportunity to continue building on our current success with clients such as Universal Pictures (Fifty Shades Darker), A&E Networks (Fall Into Me) and brands such as L’Oréal Cosmetics and Intercontinental Hotels.”
As for ‘Suite 1742,’ Hamilton stated, “We worked hard to translate the experience and story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in a way that allowed the viewer to step into the shoes of these icons, take a trip back in time and be a part of one of the most historic pop-culture events ever.”
Interestingly, Montreal was the back-up site for the bed-in protests, the second stage of a protest that took place in March in Amsterdam, while on honeymoon. When New York turned the couple away due to Lennon’s 1968 cannabis conviction, the Queen Elizabeth stepped up.
So proud was Montreal of hosting the second bed-in, in 2010, the city unveiled a commemorative artwork by Linda Covit and Marie-Claude Séguin entitled Give Peace a Chance and featuring the words “Give Peace a Chance” in 40 languages.
In May of this year, Ono released the Bed Peace documentary for free on YouTube to remind people of what the protest was about, with these words:
In 1969, John and I were so naïve to think that doing the Bed-In would help change the world. Well, it might have. But at the time, we didn’t know. It was good that we filmed it, though. The film is powerful now. What we said then could have been said now. In fact, there are things that we said then in the film, which may give some encouragement and inspiration to the activists of today.
Good luck to us all. Let’s remember WAR IS OVER If We Want It. It’s up to us, and nobody else. John would have wanted to say that.
Yoko Ono Lennon
New York, USA