"When it comes to exploring space, we are constantly in search for what else exists in the Universe," writes Devin Embil. "As we reach for the stars, we're able to make new discoveries that help us better understand the cosmos and learn more about our origin as humans. But one discovery, black holes, have continued to be a mystery.
"Now, thanks to one explorer of science and art, you can now experience what it may be like to fly through a black hole in VR.
"SPHERES: Songs of Spacetime is the first installment in a three-part VR series created by Eliza McNitt, transporting viewers into the deepest reaches of the universe. The VR experience brings to life interactive visions of future worlds and explores our unity with the cosmos." To read the full article, click here.
"I wanted to incorporate interactivity because it engages you as a character," McNitt explains. "Through the experience, you begin with six degrees of freedom, as you're free to explore and move around and be an observer. You're a fly on the wall watching a star be born. When the star supernovas into a black hole, suddenly you lose that sense of freedom—you lose the ability to move as you're constricted and now on rails as you're being sucked into a black hole.
"So I wanted to use not just interactivity but also the use of space as a storytelling device to push the narrative forward, to give you that sense of a loss of control and powerlessness as you fall into the heart of this black hole. At the end, when you hit the singularity, you're able to reach out.
"When you experience that scene, as you're getting ripped into a million pieces as you spaghetti-fy and go towards the singularity, you must die as a star in order to make your way back up to the surface—and when you do, you become a black hole. You suddenly are the thing that killed you—you become the antagonist. That's a story you can only explore with interactivity. To read the full interview, click here.
With VR, McNitt explains, "I think the rules are yet to be written, and that's what's so exciting. We are the pioneers of the language of virtual reality, and we are the ones creating these experiences, telling these stories, and defining people's expectations. With interactive storytelling, what I find most compelling is that this isn't a video game, it's not a documentary, it's not necessarily a traditional narrative as well.
"We're creating interactive experiences that define their own genre and their own unique recipe that can't just be defined by our traditional labels for the kinds of stories we're used to experiencing. I very much see SPHERES: Songs of Spacetime as a character-driven story where you're sent on a journey and you experience change. Defining that through the lens of this new medium is what I find so exciting." To read the full interview, click here.