These Sleepless Nights Highlights America’s Eviction Crisis Using Mixed Reality

Immersive technology can be a powerful medium when used correctly to draw attention to particular issues, such as when the United Nations (UN) and Here Be Dragons created Ground Beneath Her. Currently, the United States is going through a housing crisis with eviction cases on the rise. It’s why a new mixed reality (MR) installation These Sleepless Nights was created to highlight what’s actually going on.

Commissioned by The Next Amendment, an initiative whose goal is: “Eventually a national right to shelter could be added to the Constitution as the 28th amendment,” These Sleepless Nights is a dual piece, a documentary which premiered this week at the 76th Venice Film Festival and an MR installation involving a giant cube in San Francisco and Washinton D.C.

“A large part of US homelessness hinges on the facilitation of court-ordered evictions. These Sleepless Nights is a mixed reality documentary that uses cutting edge spatial computing technology to allow visitors to listen, connect and engage in new ways with those on the frontline of America’s eviction crisis,” explains the synopsis. When it comes to numbers the exhibition uses 2016 figures from the Eviction Lab, noting that 2,350,042 eviction cases were filed and 6,349 people were evicted per day.

These Sleepless Nights was inspired by Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book EVICTED, with the documentary directed by Gabo Arora (ZIKR: A Sufi Revival) with music by Philip Glass. At the installations, guests will be able to wear Magic Leap headsets to view imagery on the cube as they walk around it. Each side of the cube is a stage in the eviction process, so as visitors slide their hands across the walls characters appear through audio stories and spatialized audio. The locations will also be used to help raise funds towards the right to shelter, accessible via an iPhone app.

Executive produced by Fable’s Edward Saatchi (Wolves in the Walls) and co-produced by Montreal based studio DPT in association with Johns Hopkins University Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technologies Lab, The Next Amendment aims to raise $1 million USD for local action networks providing Housing First solutions from Oakland to the Bronx.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of the latest MR projects and installations, reporting back with further announcements.

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