Most empathy in VR utilizes perspective taking—putting the player in someone else’s shoes. In this talk, Illya Szilak argues for expanding current approaches to empathy by returning to the original meaning of empathy as aesthetic sympathy. Reviewing the history of empathy and relevant neuropsychological literature, she will discuss the results of live prototyping experiments used to design Queerskins: ARK, which were recently published in The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts.
Monday, July 12, 2021 • 1:30pm - 2:10pm
Photo by Kathleen Fox
“I talked with Queerskins writer and director Illya Szilak and creative and technical director Cyril Tsiboulski at the Games for Change Conference in June 2019 about their journey into VR, their production process, their accompanying installation and photo documentary project, and their future plans of other embodied stories they want to tell.” — Kent Bye
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Illya talks about how creators use new technologies to engage audiences in new and creative ways at V&A as part of London Design Week 2019. In this talk, Illya hypothesizes that psychophysiological space is not linear, and that is the reason why VR is such a powerful tool for empathy.
Photo courtesy of Games for Change
What are the strategies VR creators have to create empathic states? In her talk “Creating Empathy in VR,” Illya argues that VR is not an “Empathy Machine” but rather a tool that creators can use to activate the visitor. Through the thoughtful use of scale, movement, sound, camera position, and interactivity, we have an opportunity to enable visitors to connect emotionally with stories.
Photo © Xavier Ripolles Arasa
Creative & Technical Director Cyril Tsiboulski presents Queerskins: a love story to the Geneva International Festival audience and jury. In this work, we do not ask visitors to adopt a political stance or to alter their belief systems in a particular way. Rather, we provide the opportunity for visitors to engage with a basic truth—that while Sebastian’s story is unique, the experience of love and loss is universal.
Writer/director Illya Szilak (left) talked about the making of Queerskins: a love story and why more creators should explore volumetric filmmaking now, as part of the NY VR Expo at Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.
What are the strategies VR creators have to create empathic states? In her talk “Creating Empathy in VR” in Mexico City, Illya argues that VR is not an “Empathy Machine” but rather a tool that creators can use to activate the visitor. Through the thoughtful use of scale, movement, sound, camera position, and interactivity, we have an opportunity to enable visitors to connect emotionally with stories.
Photo by Randall Michelson, Courtesy of LA Film Festival
“The [...] panel discussion included Dr. Courtney Cogburn, director and producer of 1,000 Cut Journey, Illya Szllak, director of Queerskins: a love story and Emmy Award-winner Lynette Wallworth, who produced and directed the mixed-reality tale Awavena.
Each artist talked about what led them to immersive technology as a medium for their work and gave insight into their goals and results. Most interesting was a discussion regarding how experiencing immersive technology is a profoundly different experience from someone watching a traditional “flat” film.” — Anthony Ferranti
“We are attracted to errors that open up our understanding and perception of the world and self. (Art does this.) This is an uneasy pleasure because epistemology is linked to phenomenology through the fragile body. What does it mean to perfect? An impossible question! The kinds of data that we privilege and keep determine what we consider to be error. The question itself reflects a value system. To become “more human,” requires courage, curiosity, humility and a recognition that, although all realities are virtual, few of us can live their. For most of us, reality remains a bullet in the brain.”
Photo by Andreas Psaltis © 2018 ACM SIGGRAPH
Storytelling Lessons from Queerskins:
a love story
Volumetric Filmmaking is a growing movement in Immersive (AR/VR/MR) content characterized by interactive experiences created using predominantly 3D scanned imagery, such as volumetric video and photogrammetry, in conjunction with game engines to enable viewer agency within reconstructed lifelike environments.
A true hybrid of video games and cinema, volumetric filmmaking draws inspiration from related creative disciplines, most notably documentary film, immersive theater, cinematic 360 virtual reality, interactive installations, choose-your-own-adventure books, walking simulator games, and generative art.
In this talk, Illya uses lessons learned from creating our first VR experience Atomic Vacation (currently in production for Oculus Touch) as a jumping off point to discuss narrative strategies for telling stories in VR. Drawing on a wide range of other VR experiences, she shows how the language of VR is evolving and discusses the importance of VR as a spatial medium.