Geography, Collapsing As We Speak

I had a wonderful Skype call this morning with Mika Peltola, the co-founder of Helsinki VR startup Deeptale. Mika and his business partner are planning a trip to West America to explore our immersive tech scene and show off an experience they made for the Hololens. He wanted to know if it was worth coming to Seattle. Hell yes was my reply.

I dreamed last night about Google Earth VR and I keep thinking about the powerful experience of hovering over my childhood home. I feel as though my understanding of geography has completely changed, and with it my emotional relationship to the places I have known. Experiencing such an easily navigable model of the earth made it feel more precious to me. Being able to zip from one spot on the earth to another with such speed seems to underscore how close we actually are to one another, despite borders and tribal identities.

During our Skype chat, Mika was in Helsinki and I was in Seattle. We shared our reflections on our respective VR communities. I’ve written about Helsinki’s VR scene before, which was why Mika reached out to me in the first place. Mika came to VR through the art and film channel like me, and there was much we agreed upon. Reading Deeptale’s blog, I found myself nodding a lot. I’m hoping Mika and his partner do visit Seattle and that I can see their Hololens app.

So much of the past week has been steeped in discussions about division and national identity. It’s meaningful to me, as an American, to identify with people outside the United States more than with some of my own countrymen. I love how VR collapses distances and distinctions between people. Human ingenuity knows no borders. I’m rooting for more international cooperation and collaboration in the world of immersive media. And I’ll be sure to post something if Deeptale confirms their plans to visit Seattle to show off what they’ve envisioned.