Romi Jin – Looking Outwards 10

Something I have always been interested in is the field of virtual reality. Milica Zec, a NYC-based film and virtual reality director, created a virtual reality experience entitled “Giant”. This experience is based on true events and represents what her and her family went through in Serbia during the 1990s, pulling directly on personal experience. This kind of virtual reality reminds me of an exhibit I saw at the Whitney about a year or two ago — a violent but symbolic VR scene, except this one is based on real events. The media takes you through an American family attempting to survive in an active war zone by hiding in a basement during bombing outside their home. The parents fabricate a story about a giant to tell to their six-year old daughter and says he wants to play with her, creating a parallel between the footsteps outside and the loud explosions (similar to the story of Life is Beautiful, one of my favorite movies, in which the father tells his son that they are in a competition to win a tank instead of WWII).

(Giant VR experience still.)

Zec states that it was difficult to create this film in that many technical aspects of the project had not been tackled previously, requiring technology that had not been fully developed yet. The process also included live-action actors (instead of computer renders) with depth data and three-dimensional environments inside a video-game engine. Combining reality with technology was a challenge, but she wanted to create an emotional impact, making the viewer feel trapped in this dangerous and frightening situation. Virtual reality possesses the power to do so, and it amazes and excites me at how much potential (whether scary or not) this type of technology has.

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