It was in in a hauntingly beautiful cemetery park in Mile End, of all places, that I found myself living in a refugee camp.
12 year old Sidra, from Za’atari camp in Jordan was my guide. She took me to her school, showed me her home, introduced me to her family. For eight minutes she showed me what her every day life was like.
I am at the ‘Feelies’, a virtual reality film experience with extra sensory input of smells, touch and more at the Shuffle Festival in Mile End. This year the festival is exploring ‘Movement, Migration and Place’ and it celebrates film, storytelling, food, music, comedy and much more.
Feelies made me question, not simply what reality is in itself, but more so what reality is for other people. It is a completely immersive experience, which allows you to step into the life of somebody else. You are given a headset which allows you to look around, 360 degrees, as if you were actually in the film. Moreover you experience what you are seeing. When it rained in Jordan, it rained in Mile End. Literally – the tech crew threw water over our heads.
I had spent a mere eight minutes with my headset on but I felt like I had really met this girl. This was much more than just a film.
The creator of this experience, Chris Milk, believes that virtual reality can create an empathy machine and says:
“We’ve just started to scratch the surface of the true power of virtual reality. It’s not a video game peripheral — it connects humans to other humans in a profound way.”
Empathy Action simulations are designed to do the same thing. We aim to connect humans to other humans in a way that will provide more than just memories but will instead lead to transformative action. Talk to us to find out more.