If You've Never Been There, Now You Can Be
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Politics and Activism

If You've Never Been There, Now You Can Be

You can be that girl or guy at the frat party. You can be the cop stopping a protester, or the protester fighting.

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If You've Never Been There, Now You Can Be

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, virtual reality (VR)

is making a big appearance. Out of 15 art installations in the New Frontier program, 11 of them are using some kind of VR technology, double the amount used at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. One specific installation, created by Rose Troche and Morris May, called Perspective, will open the public’s eyes to difficult situations as the viewers are taken inside a rape and watch from both a male’s and a female’s perspective. This is made possible by watching the scene play out through Oculus Drift VR headsets. 

This first chapter of Perspective, called Chapter 1: The Party, sets the scene at a college frat party where a girl named Gina and boy named Brian meet, hit it off, and eventually go upstairs to a bedroom where Gina passes out. Brian and his friend take turns having sex with Gina, and then leave a nasty message written on her leg for her to find when she awakes (the actual sexual assault is not shown in the film). The film makes it perfectly clear that the boys’ actions were rape. There is no gray area about it.

While rape and sexual assault are far from rare incidents on college campuses, putting yourself in these situations has a profound effect on your feelings on the topic. When viewing the film one might say, have I been in this situation? Is this something that would ever happen to me? How would I have reacted? I strongly believe that this new, rapidly-advancing technology is going to set the stage for discussing future heavy social issues. 

Chapter 2 of Perspective is set to focus on an encounter between a protester and a cop, a very hot topic in the media right now. This whole project is absolutely amazing because it gives viewers the ability to experience tough situations that they may never find themselves in and may never fully understand. How many of us can say we’re going to be cops and have to shut down violent protests and make tough calls, or have actively disobeyed a cop’s order and continued to protest for what we believe in? How many of us can say that we know the trauma of being raped, or have had a friend encourage us to have sex with a passed out individual?

This technology gives wake to a new light in which we can actually be in both parties’ shoes and then decide our stance on a tough issue. I believe VR will open up the conversation around these topics and lead to good discussion and hopefully less violent acts.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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