There’s An Oculus Rift Project At Sundance Where You Experience Sexual Assault From Two Different POVs
Trigger warning: the following story contains mentions of sexual assault.
Despite what you might think, Sundance Film Festival doesn’t just involve a bunch of indie films you’ll probably never see and a ton of big-name stars in parkas (though both of those things are quite prevalent in Park City this week). Sundance also features lots of new media innovations, and this year the Oculus Rift is getting lots of play – in some potentially problematic ways.
As part of the New Frontier Exhibitions, you can immerse yourself in the 3D-filmed Perspective; Chapter 1: The Party, in which you experience first-hand the story of a sexual assault at a frat party. In two five-minute clips, you watch the events unfold from both male and female perspectives: a woman passes out at a frat house, and then two men discuss raping her. (At no point do you witness the actual assault).
Creator Rose Troche said, “To me this is where social consciousness and narrative film can sort of interact.” Co-creator Morris May said that after working in visual effects for blockbusters, he wanted to “make something that can possibly have a social impact or help people learn about the world.”
Over on BuzzFeed, people who were immersed in the work first-hand discuss how it made them feel; everything from sickened to terrified to distraught. They also comment on how easy it would be for a certain type of person to feel titillated by this work, instead of looking at it as a medium through which to discuss the horrifyingly-common problem of something like on-campus sexual assault.
The next chapter of Perspective will deal with a clash between a protestor and a police officer but the creators mention they’re not sure how it could be distributed or applied in the real world. What do you think about the use of the Oculus Rift to tell fully-immersive stories, or as an educational tool?
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