Often we ‘experience’ war, sexual violence, poverty or natural disaster from the comfort of our couch. Mediated through our screens and resulting in a phenomenon known as “the empathy gap.” Storytelling through virtual reality has a unique power to immerse you and quite literally share an experience through another person’s eyes. The student filmmakers behind this project are using VR to engage communities in more meaningful ways, with the hope of inspiring solidarity and action telling one woman’s story of life on a college campus.
RIDE‘s mission is to address the most common forms of harassment women experience on a college campus using a new and unique medium. Of course, people of all genders experience some level of harassment and marginalization, not to mention how gender, race, and social class all intersect, forming distinct individual experiences. However, given the scope and time period allotted, we have chosen to focus specifically on the female college student’s point of view. The objective of RIDE is to broaden understanding and establish a common ground between people who do identify as female, and those who do not. Using 360 virtual reality, audio, and haptic technology, we seek to create an immersive video that captures a single day of a female college student, through her eyes. This day will include experiences that range from workplace harassment to hanging out with friends in a safe space. The point is not to impose an aggressive agenda, but instead to place the viewer within the intimacy of another life. The ideal outcome would be that the viewer comes out of the experience questioning his/her/their own actions and experiences. Our RIDE will not be presented with bias or a solid conclusion –that will be up to the participant. Using a detailed narrative and virtual reality immersion, RIDE will strive to make one think.