Ellen Nickles

In Memoriam

Social VR experience 2018-2019
In collaboration with Carrie Sijia Wang
Supported by ITP’s xStory: Experiments in Storytelling

Is it possible to create a VR experience that connects people instead of isolating them? How do we use VR to encourage in-person communications? How do we keep participants engaged while delivering a meaningful message at the same time? Can we use a virtual environment to raise awareness about our environment on earth?

In Memoriam is an open-ended, social virtual reality experience that presents a future in which nature is preserved in synthetic monuments. Two participants enter a surreal world of tree-like structures, open water, and sounds from the past. Entering at two different locations in the landscape, guests are tasked to observe and describe to each other what they see and hear while exploring the artificial forest. The hidden goal of the experience is for the two to find each other in the VR space through verbal communication.

We wrote about our process in this article, Lost in Synthetic Land — How We Helped Our Participants Find Each Other in a Social VR Experience.

A series of stone-link slabs on water leading to a distant square waterfall between tall, granite-like columns.
A series of stone-like slabs on water protruding from a forest of tall, granite-like columns.
A watery reflection of the forest of granite-like columns in the distance.
The upper torso of a metallic figure reaching their hands out towards another pair of metallic hands in the foreground. There is a forest of tall, granite-like columns behind the figure.