Empathy VR

While I’m not surprised that VR can be used as a tool for empathy, I’m a little taken aback that a tool as immersive as VR needs to be used to teach people to be empathetic. What does this say about other modes of communication? What makes it so hard for people to put themselves aside to understand another persons position? I think learning from an “experience” is great, but I think it would be more fruitful if people could finally learn to be empathetic through listening.

Additionally if VR has the power to teach empathy in ways other media can’t what other things is it capable of? Bias is something always lurking in the media and responsible journalism is something that is disappearing from the media. What kind of responsibility needs to be used when using VR?

crime solving game [alex and ben]


for players to try and experience a scenario from multiple perspectives


–story telling/problem solving–

1)Players are given 10 trait cards. they choose three to be visible to the rest of the players and keep the rest to themselves.

2) A scenario is created by pulling a time, place, act, and detail card (for instance early in the morning at the diner there was a murder that was a crime of passion)

3)Players go around the table in turns. During a turn, a player can accuse another player of having a relevant trait to the scenario based on the revealed cards of all the players.

4)The accused player must produce an alibi from either their currently revealed cards or by revealing one or more cards remaining in their hands.

5) After each round, a news leak occurs, and the group flips over a card from the scenario deck, revealing further information about the case.

genre: card game


Response to “Reconsidering the Margin”

As a transplant living in North Brooklyn, I have watched my neighborhood change drastically as more and more new comers move in. I have always been self conscious about my role in the neighborhood changing. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about responsible ways and alternatives for neighborhoods like mine to develop as they experience this population  influx, but usually my thinking leaves my empty handed. Rios’ emphasis on architecture’s role in this process was interesting. I have often thought about how the businesses inside of buildings force a different set of values upon a neighborhood, but have not given as much thought to  the architecture itself. I wonder how development in rapidly changing places like New York would shift if this kind of dialogue occurred regularly between residents, the cities, architects, and developers. I also was particularly struck by the point that sometimes politically correct tendencies can hinder this sort of dialogue, and that it is important for us to acknowledge difference in order to have an open conversation about issues of oppression – that the tendency to pretend everyone is the same can sometimes perpetuate oppressive structures.




Prototype idea for the Point

I’d like to continue exploring how geography affects personal narratives. I would like to create an interactive map where multiple users can easily (automatically?) upload video, photos, and audio from their daily lives and routines.

Im curious how different individuals experience different spaces and locations. I would like to see if the different narratives created by such a map would have enough overlap or contrast to create a more compelling overarching narrative when combined.

Paper Prototype

I am interested in personal geographies and mapping emotions as a form of alternative story telling. For my first paper prototype, I would like to use a simple paper map with a series of color coded tabs or post its so that a user can quickly map their feelings while at a location throughout the day.

I would like to add a weekly calendar at the top of the map, so users can note how they feel when they start their day before navigating the city. I think it would be an important reference point when looking at the emotional mapping from each day to truly see how location impacts a persons overall feelings.


When I was 16 or 17 I saw an installation called Corpus by Ann Hamilton at Mass MoCa.  It involved a series of devices that dropped sheets of paper from the ceiling as well as speakers that were raised and lowered by a cable each played back audio from singular sources. It impacted me greatly, although at the time I couldn’t put into words what drew me to the work other than I thought it was cool.

After thinking a lot about what “immersive” means I finally realized that I was pulled into the piece because of its immersive nature. The installation used sound, visuals, and necessitated that the viewer navigate the space to engage with the installation. It was impossible to have experience the piece from one vantage point, as a viewer I had to walk around the entire site to appreciate the installation. And while I spent time navigating the space I saw time pass as sheets of paper accumulated on the floor.

You can read more about this piece on Ann Hamilton’s website here, although I don’t think any kind of documentation does the experience justice.