Home is where the heart is: Explor­ing home” in AR and VR workshops

2 minute read
Seeing home in VR/AR can provide new perspective. (Photo courtesy of Anula Shetty.)
Seeing home in VR/AR can provide new perspective. (Photo courtesy of Anula Shetty.)

Termite TV’s Anula Shetty, Michael Kuetemeyer, and Alan Powell are hosting an AR/VR workshop at the Scribe Video Center Saturday, May 18, and Saturday, June 1, from 1 to 5pm. Attendees will learn how to use Scribe’s 360 video equipment to shoot their own films, then will work on postproduction to construct their works, exploring the theme of “home” and all its implications.

This isn’t the first time the filmmakers have highlighted Philadelphian communities in this unique medium. Termite TV has produced several 360° projects based on life in the city. Time Lens (2013) is an interactive app documentary tracking gentrification in Philadelphia, and Places of Power (2013) explores so-called “dangerous neighborhoods" from which the city has disinvested, while highlighting the spaces where belonging and community radiate.

Communicating virtually

Shetty notes that she is particularly fascinated by 360° space because of the intimate style of communication it fosters. “It can immerse you in an environment and you can see the context as well as the details of a story,” she explains. Experiencing something in VR or AR can be very personal, allowing viewers to tinteract dynamically with their surroundings and form a more immediate sense of connection and empathy with those they meet virtually.

Access to 360° space for all

However, the equipment to create such experiences is often expensive and inaccessible—it can also be difficult to use, even for those with previous experience. While the high price point makes them privileged commodities, this also means that VR and AR technologies are still finding their place within the wider art and cultural spheres—they have only begun to enter homes as an entertainment systems/consoles. “Before it becomes something that is used just for corporations to sell a car or a product, we can tell our stories,” Shetty says. AR and VR are such new technologies that there is still yet space to define what the aesthetics will be; to formulate how we culturally define and shape AR and VR, how it’s used, and its impact on our communities.

Anula Shetty, Michael Kuetemeyer, and Alan Powell host Scribe’s 360 Immersive Media Workshop on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, June 1, 2019, from 1pm to 5pm at the Scribe Video Center, 3908 Lancaster Avenue. Reserve your spot online for $100 ($75 for Scribe members). The short films produced during this workshop will be on exhibit at the Storyville: Experimental Short Films screening on June 21 from 7 to 9pm. Tickets are $5 and can be found online.

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