Storytelling in Virtual Reality to inspire empathy
Advances in Virtual Reality (VR) technology are about to kick-start a new wave of media, this time offering immersive experiences and encounters, with user-controlled movements. The timing is right: with computers in our pocket we’re all set to download an app, put on goggles, and ride that wave. What we need is content.
Vrse.works is engaged in creating productions through experiential media. They’re crafting virtual experiences that focus on telling true stories rather than fiction. Filmmaker Chris Milk, cofounder of Vrse.works together with Patrick Milling-Smith, envisages VR as “the ultimate empathy machine.” The content that we’re about to enjoy is inspirational; it will drive social change.
Vrse.works uses purpose-built camera systems to immerse the viewer into a new world. The company has partnered with Vice, the UN, the New York Times and more to highlight social issues. ‘Waves of Grace’, for example, is a documentary that follows a young survivor of the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa. As we follow Decontee Davis through settings including her classroom, a hospital, a makeshift graveyard and more, we experience her world in strife through the first person – a human connection that in media is only possible through VR.
‘Waves of Grace’ is one of a number of projects by Vrse.works. It’s also widely available – you can watch the documentary through a cheap Google Cardboard smartphone attachment, Samsung’s Gear VR, and through the Vrse app on Android and iOS. Check out the Vrse app website for download links.
The UN is looking to use immersive VR to draw attention to, and tackle, real-world problems that can often seem distant to our daily lives. They’re using the technology with heads of state and decision-makers. Vrse.works will play a large role in this, so help get the word out and let’s use new media for good.
Image 'Protest' courtesy of Miroslav Petrasko.
Last updated: 09th of December, 2015