VR Final “Normal Day”

Normal day is a women-centric virtual reality installation that explores the
interrelated dynamics of trauma, empathy and connection.  Inside the VR interface, the user witnesses an autobiographical monologue performed by performance artist Tatiana Kot regarding experiences with breast cancer and double mastectomy, as well as an autobiographical monologue performed a second artist (tba)
exorcising an abusive childhood. After the user explores the body narratives, they move on to an interactive piece involving two VR users. The users stand in front of the other and each sees the same woman in front of them. She asks them to hold her hand or hug her for comfort. The VR users approach the woman, they unknowingly come into contact with each other, performing a
tactile connection with complete strangers.

We hope to allow people to re-experience the intensity of “the caring touch” in new
light. In the context of the bodily and mental devastation of sickness and violence, the caring
touch becomes not just a performative gesture or symbol of affection but a deliberate attempt
interpersonal healing. Such touch is pregnant with the human urge to transcend the self and
care for an Other.

Goals
Our artistic endeavor it to explore how the physical traumas of sickness and violence damage
the mind through the body, and how touching cares for the mind despite its inability to
explicitly heal the body. In times when everything virtual becomes more real (we are
enworlded by social media and gadgets that accompany us like caring parents on a day-today
basis as much as we are by material reality), we imagine the VR world as an opportunity
to make connections in the real world. Our shared fascination with the technology and its
abilities led us to the conception of an interactive VR journey where no profluency is possible
unless the user performs physical connection (touch, holding hands etc.) in real time.
Therefore, our main creative and technical challenge is to construct the cues
embedded in the stories that will be influence the viewer on an intuitive level without
offering explicit instructions (e.g.- to touch the body of a VR character). That is to say, the
users’ actions required for the propulsion of the story should occur intuitively. As a result this
project requires us to create both the specific technological apparatus as well as the particular
narrative constructs propped up by said apparatus.

My App

OVERALL EXPERIENCE

Apart from putting a lot of hours of work in this project, working on creating my app was an amazing experience and I think it’s really one of the best ways to learn front-end programming because you don’t only learn how to make a website essentially responsive you also learn how you can add libraries and use different softwares such as PhoneGap  to make your life easier. My most major difficulty was attempting to explore back-end programming by using Skygear. Even though I could store user information, my app didn’t seem to be working smoothly after I inserted the Skygear.  After debugging it I figured out what the issue was but it required at least 1-2 days of work and I couldn’t finish it on time. However,  I will be working on it in the next few days and will hopefully be able to finish it.

THE FUTURE

I really want to actually publish this app and finish the back-end. I’ve done a lot of research in terms of competition and there is not really a type of app where people can connect and support each other through personal struggles. There are a few apps where people can chat with psychologists and counselors but I couldn’t find any apps that had a more “friendly” approach to solving people’s  problems.  Another aspect of the app that I want to develop is being able to request to chat with someone privately  if someone wants to and exit  the public chat. Therefore, this could result in a new friendship or even  a new love interest. In the dating aspect, this app stands out from other apps such as Tinder because it overthrows the risk of  becoming a “hook-up” app by opening up opportunities for  deeper emotional conversations that establish the  ground for creating more meaningful relationships.

my code