Tribeca Film Festival’s Transmedia VR Experience Puts Women Of Color At The Center

Tribeca Film Festival’s Transmedia VR Experience Puts Women Of Color At The Center
Design

The festival showcased a 360 film that navigates themes of feminism and diversity through a new medium

Mario Valdivieso
  • 23 may 2017

Along with changing the face of the film and media industry, VR technology can also have an effect on social issues. At the Tribeca Film Festival’s Virtual Arcade last month, there were films about everything from the environment to our prison system to the realities of sexual assault. This year the festival presented a film in its Storyscapes section called Neurospeculative Afrofeminism that puts the voice of minority women at the forefront of its exploration of science and technology.

Neurospeculative Afrofeminism is a transmedia experience divided into three parts: a four-minute VR film, a line of original speculative products, and scientific research. The viewer is introduced to this world in a space that looks like a futuristic beauty salon called the “Neuro Cosmetology lab” where they begin their immersive journey. Once the VR headset comes on, you look in the mirror to see the reflection of an African American woman who is transported to a future where women of color are the pioneers of scientific and technological innovation. In this surreal world, the audience member is dropped into conversations about art, politics, and science from these women while getting “Octavia electrodes” installed in their braids opening their mind to a planet of true diversity.

The experience continues once the headset is off as you get a chance to explore products created by the filmmakers that are specifically made to mold this vision of the future into reality. One of these products being UV beams, a sunscreen that is made specifically for skin high in Melanin. Other products include a pair of earrings that act as cameras to document incidents of micro or macro-aggressions, and a visor that is meant to counter conflicts by allowing the person to see but not be seen as the antagonists sees their own reflection on the cap of the visor.

NSAF was created and produced by Hyphen-Labs, a team of multiracial women who are everything from scientists to engineers to artists. The project also includes scientific research consisting of engaging a diverse crowd of people outside of an academic setting with their film to get a clearer vision of our current world. By empowering communities of color to speak out, Hyphen-Labs hopes this will create a better world for all. Neurospeculative Afrofeminism premiered at Sundance Festival back in January and was shown in April at Tribeca to give fans of immersive filmmaking a chance to join the conversation as opposed to just listening.

Hyphen-Labs

Along with changing the face of the film and media industry, VR technology can also have an effect on social issues. At the Tribeca Film Festival’s Virtual Arcade last month, there were films about everything from the environment to our prison system to the realities of sexual assault. This year the festival presented a film in its Storyscapes section called Neurospeculative Afrofeminism that puts the voice of minority women at the forefront of its exploration of science and technology.

+Art
+Arts & Culture
+Augmented & Virtual Reality
+beauty
+Culture
+film
+Science
+scientific research
+technology
+transmedia
+Tribeca Film Festival
+VR

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