Conference Paper

Anonymous: VR Storytelling through alienation and reflexivity

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Abstract

This paper describes practice-based research in the reflexive dimensions of cinematic VR, using alienation and disembod-iment as rhetorical devices. Cinematic VR currently focuses on immersive illusion rather than inducing self-awareness, but VR can also create reflexive contexts for eliciting self and social reflection. Anonymous is an interactive cinematic VR that explores solitude and mortality, specifically people living and dying alone. The work plays on the technical limitations of VR technology as a narrative medium to create a sense of disembodiment and alienation, eliciting embodied reflexivity.

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... In this paper, we study an interactive cinematic VR (CVR) piece titled Anonymous [4]. The storytelling was designed to make audiences reflect on loneliness and death. ...
... The story itself was inspired by the first author's experience of volunteering to help with housework (such as cooking and cleaning) for an old man who lives alone in South Korea [4]. This experience lasted two and a half weeks, and informed the story by orienting our design sensibility to the lived experience of a lonely older adult, as opposed to systematic collection and analysis of data. ...
Conference Paper
This research examines the reflexive dimensions of cinematic virtual reality (CVR) storytelling. We created Anonymous, an interactive CVR piece that employs a reflexive storytelling method. This method is based on distancing effects and is used to elicit audience awareness and self-reflection about loneliness and death. To understand the audience’s experiences, we conducted in-depth interviews to study which design factors and elements prompted reflexive thoughts and feelings. Our findings highlight how the audience experience was impacted by four reflexive dimensions: abstract and minimal aesthetics, everyday materials and textures, the restriction of control, and multiple, disembodied points of view. We use our findings to discuss how these dimensions can inform the design of VR storytelling experiences that provoke self and social reflection.
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