10.03.16 – VR & Our Emotions

Film-maker Chris Milk is no stranger to VR. In his line of work, he has created many powerful VR videos to try and prove his point of VR being the ultimate empathy machine.

“As a species, the look of another of our species into our eyes has a great power. It can mean a lot of different things: aggression, love. But there’s a power to it for sure, and that power is translated in VR when it happens.”

On of Chris Milk’s first works I encountered was an interactive music video called ‘3 Dreams of Black’ and shortly after had the opportunity to see ‘The Treachery of Sanctuary’ at an exhibition and interact with it in person. ‘3 Dreams of black’ was a truly magical experience that delves you into this incredible world but  unfortunately has restricted interactivity. The ‘Treachery of Sanctuary’ on the other hand was extremely interactive, involving participants to move their arms around and flap them as if they were the wings of a bird. It also touched upon deep and meaningful aspects such as transcendence.

3 Dreams of Black

Non-Interactive Version

Interactive Version 

The Treachery of Sanctuary

Milk’s hope is for people to come to realisation that VR is not only good for games but should be used for more powerful storytelling. Here is a TED Talk that Milk has done recently in which he speaks about VR being the ultimate empathy machine.

In one of his works, Waves of Grace, Chris Milk tells the story of an Grace, an Ebola survivor, by means of VR. By putting the us in the middle of the “action” we feel as though we are actually a part of Grace’s world and the story becomes more about “us rather than “her”. We connect and identify more with the people whose documentary we are watching thus increasing our levels of empathy towards them.


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