BBC Radio - Click: Virtual Reality Gets Real

Jane Gauntlett (In My Shoes), Zillah Watson (BBC), Mathew Robins, Sandy Smolan, Ingrid Kopp.

Did you ever imagine yourself as an astronaut and dream of boarding a mission to the moon? Forget the spectacularly unaffordable cost or the danger; now all you will need to do is put on a pair of virtual reality goggles. A number of companies are vying to sell you these headsets that offer gateways to whole new worlds. Clunky, expensive and likely to induce nausea just a few years ago, these latest goggles have now benefited from the advances in technology developed for mobile phones. But if you are concerned by the alienating effect of your coach or trainload of fellow commuters plugged in with headphones into their mobile handsets, how uncomfortable are you going to feel when you look up and the whole carriage is full of people wearing virtual reality goggles? Rather than enhancing or augmenting reality, will virtual reality push us ever further from what is real - and break connections rather than forge bonds between human beings?

Virtual reality and 360 degree immersive film technology heralds the next revolution visual communication, potentially as dramatic a change into how we view the world as that which came about with the introduction of cinema. But if we have been here before with virtual reality, this time it looks set to stay.

In the Radio Theatre, Click is joined by experts, including VR film-makers, performers and philosophers to debate the transformative power of virtual reality - to put you in other people’s shoes; to inform and entertain you with experiences that might even seem out of body.

Virtual Reality UK Festival - Theatre, Technology & Empathy

How can virtual reality invoke empathy? In her Big Talk, Jane Gauntlett discusses and demonstrates her work creating theatrical pieces at the intersection of experience, empathy, performance, multi-sensory immersion, documentary and technology. It includes a performance of her first piece in the 'In My Shoes' project: 'Waking In Slough'.

The whole talk and performance can be seen here: