Review: We met in virtual reality

Review: We met in virtual reality


– Young director Joe Hunting made his first-ever feature-length documentary film entirely shot in a ‘Social VR’ app, and requires you to enter your password

This article is available in English.

This film is a typical environmental and social study, which you might see at any documentary festival or even on TV broadcast, except for the novelty of what you choose to represent. The subjects – human beings, sort of – are carefully tossed and watched over time, except that they may also have moose horns as well as comically huge chests.

But what was once the preserve of a subset of adorable nerds is nervously approaching the mainstream, after relaunching Facebook as ‘Meta’, as well as the young British director. Joe HuntingSundance competition for the first time We met in virtual reality [+lire aussi :
fiche film
Hit directly on cue. Closer to 90 minutes of what you might call uninterrupted “screen time”, it’s a necessarily airtight movie, and never ventures outside the confines of the VRChat app, although Hunting’s ability to gather raw monitoring footage from this is a technical feat. While it provides insight into the individual rituals and participants of this world, you still never feel like you get the full story: here we perceive an idealized world of strange kumbaya, which is very unpleasant for anyone who has ever spent time interacting with professional acquaintances and strangers on Online platform.

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Hunting is sensitive and alert, though, to individuals (visible only through 3D avatars, of course) who rely on spaces like this and are moderate: their voices and identities are distinct, though the danger of an “unreliable narrator” always hovering. The most convincing thread is Jenny, a young woman with an auditory processing disorder, learns and studies American Sign Language in the Helping Hands community (designed to look like a virtual “college,” with an auditorium and common room). Dance instructors, whose environments closely resemble arcade games and gracefully designed routines console games, have more interesting usernames: DustBunny & toaster In a single strand, the dragon heart & IsYourBoi. Both are ‘couples’, establishing ostensible romantic bonds on the platform, and using them to bond while separated by national borders, and even oceans in the latter’s case. Their part of the VR patch – almost red-light district – is also where the zanier bod-mod fixtures for oversized chests and Star TrekHybrids like animal-human come to the fore.

In Jenny’s series, we’re sympathetic to how this weak, vulnerable alternative to the “real” world is a salve for its issues: a therapeutic “meta” space where flesh, blood and technology fuse in harmony – where Zuckerberg’s and Musk’s neo-class industrialists can see their games have real social impact. But even by editing it – making sharp, fast cuts to what is essentially a file death A marine spaceship and an anime dwarf caress arm-to-arm in a restaurant booth – Hunting realizes the absurdity of the couple he’s following, and exposes them to the public for scrutiny (and may even dismiss them).

While this document is significant, in that our virtual interactions in the era of lockdown on Zoom and Twitter are akin to what’s shown here, it also feels like a “new” tentative future: a potential path, like a cardboard display on the trade show floor. And it seems like only half of the story too: what we’re missing is the transition from color to black and white, the human battery case gives life to this matrix– Like a mirage.

We met in virtual reality It is a UK and USA production, presented by Field of Vision in association with Cinetic Media. It was also produced by XTR.

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