A FALL INTO 2020 (Virtual Reality/2020)

Concept:

 

For our second project, I wanted to focus on a VR experience and what it has to offer, playing on the question of “is there anything that can’t be virtually replaced” and on the physical boundaries that can be pushed through VR.

 

Inspired by our current global sanitary crisis, I want to create a VR where the player falls through a tube. The tube is actually made of screens showing a timeline of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Free falling is something very few people actually experience, or sadly live to tell about. Even then it is way too intense, risky and hardly accessible for the common person.

 

Falling is also a mental feeling, one that a lot of us are currently experiencing as we lack control over the current situation. It is hard to see an end to this confinement. It is even scarier to have to admit to ourselves that we will feel the effects of this pandemic for months, maybe years. Even so, it is obvious our society will forever be changed in an unprecedented way. 

 

Finally, and in my opinion the worst part of all of this, is that our only knwoledge of the invisible enemy that has us sheltered in our homes is through a bombardment of news and media headlines that are mostly constructed, manipulative and misleading. It is the government’s way to control the masses and fear makes us “fall” for it much more easily, however intelligent, cultivated and humble one can be.

Design Choices:


The screenshots come from a New York Times article presenting the Corona Virus timeline. I chose for this specific format of mostly text to portray our lack of thoroughness when we read the news. In the age of hyper-information, we’re used to scrolling quickly through misleading images and poor headlines. As the audience is falling and unable to read the information, I’m recreating and criticizing that experience.

 

The rectangle format is to reference TV screens where we usually watch the news.

 

The white environment is to have a lack of reference, like being stuck in a limbo. The sound accentuates that with a “void-like” feeling.

 

Finally, the tube is supposed to be endless; the articles stop to the most recent date, as we’re still in it. Because of the simulated gravity, the audience takes on speed as he falls so the articles just blend into one high speed white vision.

 

 

Taylor, Derrick Bryson. “How the Coronavirus Pandemic Unfolded: a Timeline.” The New York Times. The New York Times, February 13, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-timeline.html.

PROSTHETICS FOR THE NEW BODY (2020)

In Collaboration with Thalia Kassem.

 

The reshaping of our bodies is a phenomenon which has been taking place for about ten millenia. Back in the period of the Industrial Revolution, people suffered from knees bent inwards, back pain, and weakened ligaments linked to more mechanized labor practices.

Nowadays, the advancements in technology have perhaps made labour less physical. Yet, the increased usage of smartphones, tablets, and laptops since the 2000s is negatively affecting our posture. As a result, the Antropocene body of Today suffers from ‘tech neck’, ‘text claws’, and other musculoskeletal pathologies associated with the use of technological devices.   

 

For this project, we decided to design prosthetics with an ironic take. Instead of fixing posture, these wearables force the body to stay in the positions smartphones and other devices impose on us. They are the “prosthetics for the new body”, raising awareness about how anatomically unnatural we’ve become. 

 

The hands of the wearer will be restrained in ‘text claw’ position, with his texting and support fingers blocked by our 3D printed prosthetics. His neck will be bent facing down, recreating the ‘tech neck’, with the help of medical straps attached in a specific way to inforce the position. All of these components are placed in a case along with the instructions needed to wear them.

BIG BROTHERS (Virtual Reality / 2019)

Big Brothers is an immersive 3D virtual reality world challenging the modern relationship we have with faces, our selfie culture and surveillance capitalism. I focused on the big leaders who created the way we interact with faces today : Andrew Grove, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Paige.They enabled the technologies, algorithms and gadgets that determine the way our society functions nowadays. The audience finds itself in the center of a panopticon/maze-like structure, surrounded by screens of interviews and gifs of those figures.

XTREME DREAMWORLD (Virtual Reality / 2019)

I created this extreme utopic "dreamworld"  for a collaboration with Thalia Kassem and Nasia Chan on a 3 scene Virtual Reality project.

All the elements below have been 3D modelled and placed using Blender and Unity.

For a full playthrough of the entire project, visit : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFpwD0lksao&feature=youtu.be

Everytime we close our eyes and drift into sleep, we might be faced with the dream world which we have no control over. We can end up with a beautiful dream or a horrific nightmare. Often these illusions are brought forth because of life circumstances and issues we are currently facing in the real world.

Taking inspiration from this natural reaction of human nature, we wish to create an inspirational dream world that is separated into a utopia and a dystopia. 

By creating two opposite worlds that are both over- exaggerated and extreme, we will translate the importance of balance in one’s perception of life. Without the good, you wouldn’t know what bad is, and vice versa. Our project further suggests that you can find good in a dystopian world and bad in a utopian world

At the beginning of the VR experience, the user starts in a bedroom, prompted to press X or Y. If he presses X, he will travel to the dystopia, the nightmare. If he presses Y, the user will travel to the Utopia, the dream world.

DEMATERIALIZED (2019)

INTO THE CLOUD (2019)

The OECD approached our class in January 2019 and asked us to create a centerpiece for their annual conference. The theme was Tech for Trust, as governments tackle the complex use of new technologies in an anti-corruption and full transparency context.

On a daily basis, a massive amount of data is being stored in faraway clouds.

People perform an act of trust by giving their personal information to public and private institutions.

This piece reflects on trust and transparency implied in such technologies. The Cloud is depicted here as a transparent container of data, a safe place where information isn’t used for dark purposes and the user has control over it.

The audience is given the choice of imputing data into The Cloud or neglect it. This gesture is simulated by the act of switching on the lights of the installation.

©2019 by Sacha R. Assi.