Final Concept: Treatment


Artist’s Statement

A virtual graveyard generated by the data collected from people while they were alive. This app exists in the theoretical future where VR is ubiquitous for users to visit and remember their loved ones.

Conceptual Backing

I’m responding to this prompt: Imagine it is a future world where VR has become totally ubiquitous. Create a mockup version of what an app in that world might feel like. It could be, a dating app, a simulator, conceptual architecture, a new genre special to VR that has emerged.

I was inspired by a discussion in the Electronic Rituals class on a chatbot that was created from the texts of a friend after he died. I want users to think about the portrait of themselves that would emerge from their online data (collected knowingly and unknowingly). Based on the amount of data that is stored by Google based on your location, searches, shopping habits, text converstions, etc. it is easy to create an accurate portrait of a person. Combining that with how Oculus may or may not be saving your movement data, in the near future, data could also create a portrait of your physical stance and behaviors. Another point we discussed is how social media platforms weren’t designed for the fact that it’s users may pass away. It’s assumed that social media profiles are for active users that are alive. There isn’t major platforms designed expressly for the memory of the dead. As our existence becomes more and more digital, it seems like an app like this would develop.

Piece Design

The piece will be several rooms that can be accessed from a central hub. Each room represents the grave of a person. I won’t be using real data from real people - I will make each room around a fictional profile. The rooms will have several assets in common (size, specific decorations, gravestone with name and date) to suggest that these rooms are all autogenerated and not individually designed by a human being. The rest of the objects will be based on the fictional person’s personality and interests during their life. It will include stuff they need to survive in the afterlife such as food. Users will be able to pickup/move and interact with these objects with the hand controller. I would also like to have an avatar of the dead person that sits in the room and interacts with the user through audio (makes comments based on what the user picks up). There will also be an option for the user to pay respects; for example, leaving a kiss mark on the grave of a celebrity’s grave that has become an online pilgrimage spot. I want to show the contrast between graves that are popular and regularly visited vs. ones that were autogenerated and then forgotton. Much like how a user’s online manifestation is prettier/cooler on online games if they spent real life currency on it, I want to show how inequalities pass on to the virtual afterlife.

Inspiration images: alt text alt text alt text


Minimal textures with low poly models. Transparencies for the avatars of the dead. Dark cluttered rooms with bright lighting from 1-2 small light sources (candles). alt text

Production Plan

Week 1

  • Design character profiles for all graves (I’m thinking 3-4)
  • Find and make assets
  • Make general room base

Week 2

  • Populate rooms with objects
  • Implement central hub room and how to move to graves from there
  • Start user interaction with objects (how to pickup with controller)

Week 3

  • Avatars, animation, voice recording (if possible)
  • User interaction - leave gifts, pay respects

Week 4

  • Lighting, effects
  • Polishing  
Written on March 28, 2018