Our everyday life has become so politically charged that it is almost impossible to get people from opposing camps to sit face to face to have respectful conversation. In extreme cases, it is difficult to get people to acknowledge the other as a full person. Both people from the Left and the Right make value judgement about the other and reduce them to a caricature of their labels.
Our objective is to enable them to acknowledge the full personhood of the individual from the opposing camp. We have to first learn that the other person is capable of understanding and enjoying similar things as us.
This is a two player cooperative VR platformer/puzzle game. The players are given control of two parts of a body. One payer controls a disembodied upper half and the second player controls the similarly disembodied lower half. The two players have to learn to coordinate as a team and solve simple puzzles/platforming challenges to complete the level.
The two players won’t meet or know the identity of the other before and through the entire gameplay. They will communicate through in game markers and other devices. Their identities will be revealed only at the end. It is this reveal that forms the basis of this project. The revelation that you played a game and had a shared enjoyable experience with this person with whom you would never hang out is meant to jolt the person out of their commonly held prejudices. That or to atleast make them rethink.
We are a research group in NYU, trying to apply emerging technology to real world problems. Our world, given the charged political climate, is being ripped apart along sectarian and racist lines. Modern day technology has not really helped in healing these rifts. One might argue that it has only exacerbated the problem – what with the dominant discourse across social media being overwhelmingly negative.
In our group, we are trying to reimagine emerging technologies as a tool to heal rifts and enable conversation between groups that think of themselves as mutually exclusive with respect to the other. We are trying to apply social and ethical values to technology.
Visit the group blog here: https://vrforpeace.wordpress.com/
Educator, Artist, Activist.
Unity/Unreal Creative Technologist.
Artist, Visual Storyteller.