VR is here and it’s cool! Comparing this round of shorts to an experience I had over 20 years ago in a VR ‘Cave Lab’ at the University of Illinois, the tech has come into its own! For one thing, you’re having a seamless encounter wearing adjustable VR goggle with no breaks in the visuals or sound. Hence, a real sensation in a virtual space. One still sees pixels (less so in the animated works) and you don’t get the smells or the weather of a real place. But in the hands of mindful creator/director(s) there is something amazing that occurs in this medium which can immerse you in places or experiences you are not likely to encounter otherwise (except in a dream state).

In ‘Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart ‘ (New York Times, Key Collaborators: Lunar Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research Association) image grabs from the Hubble are used to compose this dramatic view of the planet from a distance as well as up close. It’s as if you were standing on its surface. I was struck by the mountainous, canyon-like, and glacial aspects of this planet; its primordial appearance giving the sensation of deep-time cast in the black void of space.

Other favorites are ‘Nomads’ (https://www.felixandpaul.com) about the Maasai peoples of Kenya, which puts you in situ and angled in a seated position amidst a group of Maasai, in a mud dwelling, in a village, and occasionally face to face for prolonged singular encounters. Also, ‘Old Friend’ (Tyler Hurd/ http://wevr.com which is a lively music -animated experience.

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