Last spring I started writing about Seattle’s VR/AR industry on this little blog with a self-deprecating name. I often feel like a small town reporter, following the goings-on of a passionate and growing community of VR pioneers. I’m having a blast doing this, and it’s time for this little operation to grow. So I’m thrilled to announce that this blog just got a little more … Continue reading Welcome Correspondents Amanda Knox and Christopher Robinson
Editor’s Note: Writers Christopher Robinson and Amanda Knox, a real-life couple, recently experienced Machine to Be Another. Following is their exclusive report for ryanboudinotisahack.com.
By Amanda Knox and Christopher Robinson
The Machine to Be Another is an experiment, an experience, and an interactive art installation created by Barcelona’s BeAnotherLab that allows two people to embody each other through virtual reality. As presented at TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival, the experience includes three phases: 1) participants swap perspectives and adjust by slowly mirroring each other’s movements; 2) mirrors are introduced, allowing participants to see the body they are inhabiting; and 3) the partition is removed, allowing the participants to see their own bodies as viewed from the other’s perspective. As partners, we tried the Machine together. The following is a mimetic response to the experience, written in three parts corresponding to the three phases.
Ed note: Christopher Robinson is a Seattle-based poet and novelist, with co-author Gavin Kovite, of War of the Encyclopaedists. Following is an essay he wrote about VR for Bright Ideas magazine. While the essay is over nine months old (an eternity in VR time), I still found it timely and insightful, and asked to reprint it here. My thanks to Chris and Bright Ideas for permission.
Choose Your Own Virtual Reality
Agency, immersion, and narrative in Virtual Reality’s manifold future
Under the shade of white United Nations plastic, you sit on a rug, talking with a 12-year old girl—one of 84,000 Syrian refugees in the Za’atari camp in Jordan. This tent is her home, and she has invited you inside. As she speaks to you, you notice the pillows on the floor, the small TV in the corner; as her family cooks dinner, you glance at the reverse UN logo on the wall of the tent; as you sit with her in her classroom, as you watch her older brothers play video games—they crane their heads back to acknowledge you—you have two distinct thoughts. The first: You are acutely aware that your body is sitting on a swiveling cushion inside the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, and that other visitors are watching you crane your own head this way and that like a circumspect bird. The second: You are experiencing a medium of entertainment more visually immersive than anything before it, participating in the first artistic gropings of a truly new kind of cinema.
As you remove the Oculus Rift headset and readjust to your non-virtual reality, you begin to reflect. Continue reading “Choose Your Own Virtual Reality, by Christopher Robinson”