Storyscapes projects at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival use VR for social good

Many critics point out the isolationist properties of virtual reality, worrying about the state of our real-life social interaction, but creators featured at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes say that it is precisely this property that makes the medium so powerful.

6×9: An immersive experience of solitary confinement made by Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton, in partnership with a VFX studio The Mill, places participants in a virtual cell that looks like one of those inhabited by nearly 80,000 inmates in the US every year. Only a couple minutes in this claustrophobic environment can be enough for people to be able to imagine the level of damage solitary confinement and more specifically, lack of human contact and sensory deprivation can cause. The experience has such a strong emotional resonance that Tribeca’s volunteers are advised to warn the festival-goers before putting the headset on, reminding them that they can take the device off at any time.

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