Live The Experience Of Clean Running Water For The First Time
charity: water has revealed its first virtual reality experience film in a new NYC exhibit
Charity: water is well-known for its successful and somewhat unconventional campaigns to raise funds and awareness. Its mission: to make clean and safe water accessible to everyone around the globe. As it stands, most of us take clean water for granted. With a turn of a handle, it flows seamlessly into our sinks, bathtubs and containers. Unfortunately, many around the world do not have the same luxury. In an effort to emphasize the importance of clean water to life, charity: water created a VR film exhibit at the Brookfield Place in New York, and PSFK had a chance to visit the exhibit in-person to experience virtual reality.
The exhibit is located at the center of Brookfield Place, in an atrium that is unusually large for a place in NYC. The whole area is alit with sunlight, streaming through large glass windows that make up the ceiling and west side of the building. There are over 10 semi-enclosed circles created by bright yellow jerry cans, which are typically used in developing countries for the hauling of water back to individuals’ homes. These jerry ‘cans’ are actually made out of plastic and look more like they are designed to carry fuel. In each of these semi-circles, a charity: water volunteer or employee stands armed with headphones and VR goggles. Anyone is free to sign their up to watch “The Source,” a short film on Selam, a 13-year-old Ethiopian girl who spends a majority of her time collecting water, and her trek to bring safe water back home.
Specialized production studio Here Be Dragons and charity: water co-produced the film.
Viewers get lost in Selam’s difficult daily life in 360 degrees as she struggles to provide for her family and in her desires to pursue an education. It is easy to get immersed in Selam’s narrative and empathize with every aspect of her life given the nature of the work. Her narrative exposes what is true of many lives in rural areas: the majority of time is spent collecting water that is not even adequately clean. In “The Source,” we see how Selam’s village finally gets running clean water and how their lives change for the better. In exchange, the time that was once spent collecting water now can be directed toward something beneficial to a local community.
This film allows viewers to understand the significance of having easy access to clean water. There are an estimated 633 million people who do not have said privilege. An added bonus to the exhibit is that every viewing of the film equates to a $30 donation to the charity. Watching “The Source” not only raises awareness, but also tangible funds to bring clean water to those in need. The exhibit is open until August 28, The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, 230 Vesey Street, NYC, from 11:00am to 8:00pm.