Extending to the Other

Are we becoming machine, or is machine becoming us? Chris Milk once stated that “VR is a machine that makes us more human”, how does that work you say? Well, the potentiality of Virtual Reality as an extension of our reality is being discovered through videos such as Chris Milk’s Syrian refugee camp simulation. What’s interesting is that this simulation is a real place in time, in which the user can jump into and revisit this place again and again and again. Rather than virtual reality be a purely artistic thing, where game designers and graphic designers can sit there and choke the chicken to their own work, the appreciation of this work comes through empathy and pure immersion, and further understanding what the situation actually is, and the severity of it.

But, instead of doing a Syrian refugee camp, I’ll be doing narratives created by homeless people and other demonised demographics in society, creating a  through access for them. Arguably people become detached from society because of the lack of access that they have to new technology – an example of this is a smart phone, they all have a GPS which creates an online blueprint, all have the ability to access wireless communications, however if the said person can’t afford a plan, or pre paid credit what is the result? The result is a vine without grapes, a bird without wings: in turn a brick no matter what brand of phone, bereft of any value or practical use.

So, my theory is that 360 degree video can lead to a greater level of connection between the viewer and the subject (VR to LOWSE) – I’m going to develop short films, in which I’ll speak to people who are disconnected from the mobile as an extension of ourselves, and hence the functioning world. With no identity, these people have no story or history, but VR could be the medium to create these narratives for them, in which links them to the higher socioeconomic demographics, on an emotional level. Let’s do this.

6 thoughts on “Extending to the Other

  1. Samsung’s plans to release a 360 Gear camera that relies on their Samsung Galaxy S7 to stitch the footage together. http://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-gear-360/
    The limitations for users to experiment with this tech is shrinking and I would expect an increase in the type of films you are trying to develop. The unfortunate reality is it will still be limited to higher socio-economic individuals hoping to use the technology to penetrate lower socio-economic areas (hopefully for the better).
    Do you know what type of narrative you want to tell with between the viewer and the subject?

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    1. Stories man, it’s that simple. Part of the problem with low se demographics is that no one knows their story, and because of that temporally they’re stuck with the person they are now. For instance if someone is a drug addict, they have previous experiences that have influenced this mental illness. However, becuse they’re just that druggo on the street, no one cares. The aim is to create a narrative that explains their disadvantage, think of it as an individual history. We all have stories man, someone needs to hear them.

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      1. It sure is! My development includes effectively telling narratives in the form of a rating. I haven’t found the best solution yet as narratives and scores tell two separate things and are formed with different intentions. But I’m thinking about creating modular and dynamic rating systems which guide users through narrative reviews (whether creating/reading). Accessibility, efficiency, and clear formatting is crucial, so translating a lengthy narrative into something small and consumable is a challenge.

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      2. I was actually thinking about that the other day in our tute man. I reckon something visual – like, an example would be little vox pop things but instead of asking questions, just get them to tell you about their experience. So, it’s predominantly quantitative. It’d create some sort of perceivable perspective, rather than out and out statistics. I think it’d be worth looking into.

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  2. Hey Tom,
    Great idea, I’m excited to see how it turns out. You touched on the idea of immersion, which is arguably one of the most important aspects of VR. This is currently one of the issues holding back commercial VR at the moment, the ability to create holistic and authentic immersion to create a “reality”. Any ideas on how you will tackle the issue of immersion?
    I’m also interested in VR for my project and came across this article on the Psychology of Immersion: http://www.psychologyofgames.com/2010/07/the-psychology-of-immersion-in-video-games/
    Top stuff Tom!

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