Assent is an immersive documentary developed in the Unity game engine for the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset from Oscar Raby. The project is an autobiographical immersive documentary puts the user in the footsteps of Raby’s father, “who in 1973 was a 22-year-old army officer stationed in the north of Chile. When the military took control of Chile in the coup of September 1973, it was the culmination of Cold War tensions, international political influence and internal conflict. For Army personnel, it was an event that marked their lives. In the immediate aftermath of the coup a ‘Caravan of Death’ roamed the country conducting executions of military detainees. This was a mechanism to install terror into the community and a way to demonstrate the force of the central authorities to military staff outside the capital, and, in making them complicit in the actions of the junta, to ensure their loyalty”.
In this interview Raby talks interestingly about the potential of VR to illicit something beyond empathy in the audience, “You put your body in a configuration, in a state, that takes your brain and whole body and puts you in a state that’s really close to simulation. What I’m saying is, with VR, we’re depriving ourselves from contact with other people just to find in ourselves the exercise of empathy. …I think VR has somehow that capacity– training us for that empathetic contact. It is not putting myself in someone else’s story, it is just putting myself in the mood to be open, to be accepting, to be tolerant”.