Challenging physical borders.
VR is hailed for its ability to transport. The Family Reunions Project (FRP) is using this power to create immersive “virtual reunions” between undocumented immigrants and their families abroad. The FRP consists of three components:
Virtual Reunions via VR Postcards. VR Postcards consist of 360-degree video experiences that are pre-recorded and screened privately for families that have been separated due to immigration status. As VR technology advances, so too does our ability to connect people across distances. Our reunions will soon include live-streaming and 3D mapping.
Storytelling. The FRP is launching a pilot series that showcases the stories behind the virtual reunions we facilitate. We seek to shift the conversation around migration to consider the human impact of separation across borders. While we know no virtual reality experience can take the place of spending time with family, we are committed to using this exciting new medium as a way to engage the public in addressing issues faced by the immigrant community.
Challenging the barriers to VR. The FRP is building a platform, including a curriculum, to give undocumented immigrants the tools to create their own VR experiences. Folks traveling with Advance Parole can request to borrow equipment through our lending program, and will receive staff support and guidance as they complete their project. As has historically been true of other mediums, formal breakthroughs in VR will take place when the field is opened up to those with diverse perspectives, histories, and ideas. We want to ensure marginalized voices shape the VR medium from its early stages.