Virtual reality gets real

USA (Los Angeles)

Virtual reality has had a lot of press of late for its role as a catalyst for empathy. And one storyteller is creating debate using advances in VR technology to make us more compassionate and connected – ultimately more human: “Technology can turn us all into gods,” says director Chris Milk, “because we’ll each have the power to create our own new reality, and live like Adam (or Eve) inside of it.”

Best known for his music videos for U2, Arcade Fire and Kanye West, Milk experimented with the compelling tool in Evolution of Verse, which was the first film from his new virtual reality production company, Vrse. The 3D short takes be-goggled viewers on a mind-bending computer-generated flight by mimicking a lucid dream.

But it was with Vice News, armed with a 360-degree camera, and documenting the December 2014 protest against police brutality in New York in Millions March, that viewers got to bear witness by marching alongside protesters. Then in Clouds Over Sidra – commissioned by the United Nations – the director went to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to provide a window into a world of displacement through the heartbreaking story of a 12-year-old girl. Milk took the film to the World Economic Forum in Davos to influence those with the power to change the lives of millions. 

Vrse’s latest short is Waves of Grace, the story of an Ebola victim who uses her immunity to care for others. Driven by the voices of protesters and residents of war-torn camps and survivors, Milk and his Executive Producer, Samantha Storr, continue to work with a UN virtual reality lab, sharing immersive documentaries with leaders to demonstrate global development challenges from India to Liberia.

Vrse is No.4 on the Best Atlas projects 2015. Find out what else made the list hereTo find out what inspires the Executive Producer of Vrse Samantha Storr, read the full interview with the FutureHero here. 

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (04 November 2015)

Project leader

Samantha Storr, Executive Producer

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A photo realistic CGI-rendered 3D virtual reality film

The first ever VR news broadcast had a profound impact on viewers to call for an end to racial profiling by police

Clouds Over Sidra was the first ever VR film for the UN and the New York Times come together to capture the birth of a new large-scale street art installation

Vrse’s latest short is the story of an Ebola survivor who uses her immunity to care for others

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