Assignment 1: Losa Meru
By Losa Meru
April 12, 2016
I’ll be quite honest–I’m not an avid fan of sci-fi. Yes, I’ll watch the occasional great superhero blockbuster and I am not ignorant about the impact of Star Wars. Oddly enough, the first sci-fi thing I can think of isn’t even sci-fi. It’s a book called Fire Bringer about a herd of talking deer and other woodland creatures on this great island with a prophecy that changes the world of the animals forever. Yes, it’s safe to say that I am not very knowledgeable about science fiction.
After taking a second to think about it, I do know a short video on YouTube that has always made me feel uneasy about new technology. It’s called Sight.
In this simple short film, a man and a woman wearing augmented reality contact lenses go on a date with each other. Everything they do is game-ified: chopping vegetables is a real-life version of Fruit Ninja or Cooking Mama. The guy plays a game where he feels as if he is skydiving when he’s really just lying on a carpet. When he goes on a date, the two of them constantly look up statistics and social cues about each other in their augmented lenses. They don’t actually interact at all. They go back to the main character’s place, and she finds out that he has been playing his way to her heart through a dating app by looking up her information and scoring by performing different social cues.
Here we are in this day and age looking each other up on dating apps such as Tinder and open social commentary-ish apps like Yik Yak where you can talk anonymously about people and score points. Also, I keep hearing how AR is probably going to be more useful and viable than VR. I get the eerie feeling that this short film isn’t too far off in our future.
The technology that most interests me is the AR and the flyables (drones, 360 cameras, etc). Anything camera related fascinates me and makes me wonder, how can this be used to tell a riveting story? I bluntly asked in class last time if Prof. Pacheco saw a future in VR for narrative storytelling, to which he replied “that’s why I’m teaching this class.” I asked this because I wasn’t there for the first class; I was a few hours away purchasing a bus. (Sorry, Prof!) I also asked this because I went to a panel at the Sundance Film Festival where they predicted that VR cannot stand alone as a narrative storytelling device. I watched a VR film called Click Effect and also got to talk in depth with the creators.
It’s a fascinating underwater experience where you get to be among sea mammals with deep sea divers. They asked me if I noticed that the divers in the film weren’t wearing oxygen tanks, and I said no. I was just too fascinated by being underwater and in the midst of sea animals. I might have even been holding my breath a little bit.
I feel like this experience goes to show that VR has yet to find a way for a viewer to fully focus on a story more than spectacle.
ANYWAY. I will experiment with 360 cameras and drones and if I have time, more AR so that I can figure out how it can aid traditional narrative storytelling. Because that’s what interests me.