“It’s Weird, Okay!? I Get It’s Weird!”: Embodying the Self in the Para-Real

00:01:32,730Pluto: I love being here with you. Sigh00:01:33,990

00:01:40,380Pluto: I guess I just took this leap of faith, simply because it looked like so much fun. I really liked the social aspect of being online. But I00:01:50,520 00:01:50,520don't really like Twitter. You know, I don't really like Facebook, where it's like just text. That's less personal.00:01:55,590

00:01:55,590Floppy: Yeah00:01:55,650

00:01:56,280Pluto: And VR chat seems to... and I only play VR chat by the way, VR chat seems to be like this middle ground...00:02:03,210

00:02:03,210Floppy: Oh yeah00:02:03,480

00:02:03,990Pluto: ...of being like, around people, but at the same time, like being online, so it's not... it's not like too intrusive.00:02:13,530

00:02:14,580Floppy: Like 90% of the people that are on VR chat are 25 and younger because they're exploring the new foundation of VR because00:02:21,750 00:02:21,750nobody knows what VR is going to be or the medium of VR. They don't... they don't know like how do you sell VR? But these, but the00:02:30,210 00:02:30,240generation of you know the age group of people that have the most time on their hands, and, and are, you know, the most energy [sic] are young00:02:37,680 00:02:37,680people and so they're gonna take this medium and they're gonna bring it up to mainstream. What's that gonna look like? I don't know.00:02:43,380

00:02:55,860Dutch: VR chat does things that we dreamed about his kids they do things that we saw in like campsites and Ghost in the Shell. I had friends00:03:05,340 00:03:05,340from across... I've had American friends and German friends for years, but, I know but can't physically interact- I can virtually interact00:03:12,420 00:03:12,420with them in a way that, that just nothing else competes with.00:03:15,930

00:03:16,710Floppy: Experiencing your friends that we are is like on stimulation overdrive. "Joe, let's go to the Japanese flower gardens and with the cherry00:03:26,490 00:03:26,490blossoms." Bam, you're there. "Yo, let's go play mini golf on the moon." Bam, you're there. The space, well it here comes.00:03:32,640

00:03:34,080VRChat Player #1: Look at the size of that thing. It looks incredible.00:03:36,360

00:03:45,750VRChat Player #2: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, look, look at that. It's incredible. this is like, this is like a typical VR chat day. You see a00:03:51,420 00:03:51,420dog taking a bath. And and that's it. I mean, that's that's pretty much it. [fireworks]00:03:55,920

00:04:06,960Dutch: For us first adopters, we are literally on the frontier. I have no doubt that ten, fifteen years from now they'll talk about00:04:13,620 00:04:13,620experiences like this and they'll say this was where it started. This is, this is true inter- we've always been an interconnected society00:04:21,270 00:04:21,270since the dawn of the internet, but this is very real. You know, the only complaint I have about this avatar, Cosmic?00:04:26,910

00:04:28,380Cozmicc: Mmmmh00:04:28,410

00:04:29,040Dutch: This moment.00:04:29,610

00:04:32,400Cozmicc: You have what, sorry?00:04:32,970

00:04:33,740Dutch: I have really small boobs.00:04:35,120

00:04:35,840Cozmicc: Yeah, really small.00:04:37,010

00:04:38,720Dutch: Okay, so definitely it's, it's over two years, maybe, maybe two and a half.00:04:43,340

00:04:43,910Cozmicc: Yeah.00:04:44,150

00:04:44,150Dutch: We've known each other longer than we've had our headsets for sure. I'm not, I'm not trying to change or anything but I've certainly00:04:51,350 00:04:51,350become very comfortable with identifying as a, as a female. I don't know if I ever consider myself transgender or anything but I do know00:05:00,410 00:05:00,410that if tomorrow someone came up to me and said, I have invented a pill, it will turn you into a woman overnight. I'd be like, I could do that00:05:08,120 00:05:08,120happily. If that sounds the same about it. Right? I'm very I'm much more in touch with the state of myself I wasn't aware of before VR00:05:13,970 00:05:13,970chat.00:05:14,270

00:05:14,420Cozmicc: Yeah, just, it can be anything tonight, you know? Oh, that looks quite cute. I'll wear that, where as a bloke, it's like, I guess I'll00:05:22,670 00:05:22,670wear jeans and a plain t shirt. Because that's my wardrobe.00:05:25,640

00:05:26,180Dutch: Yeah, it'd be weird. But I have no, I have no issue. I'm, I'm a really confident person. I'm pretty good at meeting people the00:05:34,940 00:05:34,940first time, and then we won't be meaning for the first time.00:05:37,910

00:05:40,580Pluto: I feel like, you know, as far as like, exploring sexuality, like on VR, I feel like if you're curious about a persuasion, this is00:05:50,150 00:05:50,150probably like, probably one of the best places to do it.00:05:55,340

00:05:56,180Floppy: I love him. Like, I don't know why. But it's just like it, those those feelings are very strong. And I didn't expect it. But, but the00:06:04,850 00:06:04,850problem is, is that now I'm thinking about like, oh, wait, is this, is this gay? Because now, now it's like, even like gay culture, like I don't,00:06:14,840 00:06:15,080I don't like gay culture. I think it's, it's flamboyant for no reason! Why can't I just love someone, because I just love them? And I feel00:06:27,590 00:06:27,590like I can, I can explore stuff without.. in here, and, and I would, I would love like, I would love for it to just be be normal.00:06:37,070 00:06:45,660Basically our dating on, uh, has been on VR chat, like an in the VR sphere. It's weird. All of it's weird. And it's not, it's not something00:06:55,470 00:06:55,470that's socially accepted yet, which is a shame because it can be quite amazing. Anywhere you want to go in the world, you're there. So, so00:07:07,050 00:07:07,050when we cut to the real world, and you try dating the real world in comparison to it, it's just the travel time to get to the place that00:07:15,330 00:07:15,330you want to do the thing, it's just frustrating.00:07:20,280

00:07:23,700Noah Robinson: Yeah, so actually, my avatar right now that you're seeing is a 3d scan of me. I'm a PhD student studying clinical psychology.00:07:32,820 00:07:32,850And, more specifically, I'm very interested in how we can use social VR to treat mental health disorders because I think that the power of00:07:42,180 00:07:42,180connecting with other people is something that can help to prevent a lot of different disorders. So when we're alone in our room, we00:07:48,510 00:07:48,510can put on the headset and immediately be surrounded by other avatars is extremely powerful for helping people with psychological00:07:55,860 00:07:55,980issues and things like that. And I more see the potential to focus the positive effects of VR check, because VR chat is not built for treating00:08:05,070 00:08:05,100these disorders, and yet it is sometimes treating those disorders. So if we can build something specifically that's designed to treat00:08:11,610 00:08:11,610these disorders, then I think that power can be harnessed in a way to focus in and really get people recovering, especially younger people00:08:19,440 00:08:19,440because I think VR in general speaks to younger people, but people of all ages as well, um, will really benefit I think from targeted social VR00:08:27,000 00:08:27,030interventions that treat these underlying disorders and things.00:08:30,450

00:08:36,870Dutch: I don't know if I'll hug you when I see. I don't even know if we'll like do a bro shake like a bro- like a full arm length handshake or00:08:46,800 00:08:46,800something. But it definitely won't bother me. It'll just be very strange for probably like 20 minutes.00:08:51,780

00:08:54,570Cozmicc: You sort of know off-line already, because we've...00:08:56,580

00:08:56,790Dutch: We've known each other for over two year, so00:08:59,790

00:09:00,030Cozmicc: Yeah.00:09:00,360 00:09:05,400So yeah, so I am looking at it your voice. And now it's like, I've seen a picture of you once.00:09:13,050 00:09:13,080Yeah.00:09:13,470

00:09:13,530Dutch: Before00:09:14,040

00:09:14,640Cozmicc: Sort of walkin' up. So you sort of kind of already know them in the sense.00:09:17,700

00:09:17,700Dutch: Yeah.00:09:18,090

00:09:18,810Cozmicc: It's fun to take the stuff that like in VR, there's very, there's, there's things that we log in and we want to do, like, let's do this00:09:25,050 00:09:25,050today. Let's go look at new avatars today. Like I said, you're going window shopping. Let's go look at avatars all night and that's the thing00:09:29,880 00:09:29,880we'll do. Whenever we're in person. It's like I can do normal things I do with other people, like drinking or let's go to the pub or you00:09:37,410 00:09:37,410know, stuff like that. Which is..00:09:39,780 00:09:39,000Yeah00:09:39,120 00:09:40,110That's weirder than the actual meeting. I think actual camping like -00:09:43,620 00:09:43,830Yeah, back to basics.00:09:45,690 00:09:45,720Yeah, there will there will be a fire.00:09:47,130 00:09:47,160Yeah,00:09:47,640

00:09:47,640Dutch: ...and tents and...00:09:48,990

00:09:49,110Cozmicc: Cold nights?00:09:50,010

00:09:50,040Dutch: Very cold nights.00:09:50,940

00:09:50,940Cozmicc: Yeah, yeah not warm down there.00:09:52,380

00:10:01,560Floppy: You know, you're connecting people from all across the world, and then, um, I just, I never expected this guy. So weird! You know what00:10:18,810 00:10:18,810I mean, you can't answer this one! Why'd you tell them about it.00:10:21,840

00:10:21,840Pluto: No, no no no!00:10:22,530

00:10:22,740Floppy: Yeah, no, why'd you tell them about it?00:10:24,660

00:10:25,800Pluto: He thinks it's so funny! Once upon a time, which wasn't very long ago, I met this other VR chatter, who, most of the time they're00:10:36,240 00:10:36,240on here. They're intimate with other people. And I said, Well, how does that work because I don't have this whole phantom touch thing, it doesn't00:10:46,770 00:10:46,770work for me. This person said, "Well, we actually use these remote controlled objects, you control very long distance. So you can be on00:11:02,190 00:11:02,190VR chat. And if you want to be intimate with someone, as opposed to hoping that they just feel something that they most likely won't. You00:11:12,840 00:11:12,840have direct control, and you can do whatever you want on your iPhone, with this object."00:11:17,310

00:11:17,790Floppy: And all you want to do is touch him, all you want to do is hold him and hug him and, and just just grab him and you can't. So, this is00:11:29,580 00:11:29,580kind of, um, kind of way that I can.00:11:33,480

00:11:35,160Pluto: I really believe in the whole, like, you should probably try something at least once just because that's, I mean, it's interesting, right?00:11:42,510 00:11:42,990I, I played VR chat for, you know, a couple months, three months, and I had never even gotten close to the whole, like, that whole00:11:52,800 00:11:52,800crowd, but there's always going to be this crowd in any other in any group, or fandom, or whatever, that kind of brings things to that00:12:01,140 00:12:01,140level. But since this is like, uuuh00:12:04,350

00:12:04,410Floppy: It's the ultimate emotional experience. Most people, they want to the person the love, they want to have good time.00:12:10,920

00:12:11,460Pluto: Oh, of course,00:12:12,210

00:12:12,240Floppy: And that's, that's all it is.00:12:14,160 00:12:15,480It's weird, okay? I get it's weird!00:12:17,910

00:12:19,050Pluto: You get it's... it doesn't really matter. See, that's the thing. I would be.. Normally I'd be so worried about being in a documentary. But,00:12:26,820 00:12:28,290I don't know. You just, you got to take risks, you got to take chances, you can't really just be too timid your entire life, otherwise you00:12:35,460 00:12:35,460miss out on things. And I find that most of the people that are on VR chat are groundbreakers. They're people who- because VR, VR isn't really00:12:46,950 00:12:46,980like an easy thing to come by you have to know that you really, really want it when you get it because it's not a light purchase. But most of00:12:54,750 00:12:54,750the people in VR, that have VR, are usually so unique and have that same mindset that, umm, everyone's just friends. Everyone that has VR00:13:06,180 00:13:06,180gets along. Go on?00:13:09,780

00:13:09,000Floppy: We're trailblazers.00:13:11,550

00:14:44,100Joe Hunting: Hey Shibco! Do you, do want a bite to eat? Have you eaten today?00:14:47,460

00:14:48,480Cade Diehm: I didn't actually know that there was a, a barbecue in this shot.00:14:51,630

00:14:53,460Joe Hunting: I'll bring some over. Let me take a seat. Oh hold on, here you go, here's yours.00:14:59,640

00:15:00,630Cade Diehm: Thank you!00:15:00,870

00:15:00,870Joe Hunting: You got it? Don't drop it!00:15:02,970

00:15:03,360Cade Diehm: I got it.00:15:03,840

00:15:03,870Joe Hunting: You don't want a00:15:04,590

00:15:04,590Cade Diehm: This is great00:15:05,040

00:15:05,130Joe Hunting: ...a sandy, sandy meal.00:15:07,080

00:15:08,730Cade Diehm: This is the first scene in the, in the film, right? This is where the two shibas- the couple- hangout. It's the, I think it's a00:15:20,730 00:15:20,730really important scene. Like the very first moment in the, in the film is actually- the first lines kind of set the tone for like the00:15:30,000 00:15:30,000kind of work that you do. And it's such a vulnerable moment that you caught.00:15:35,190

00:15:35,970Joe Hunting: Yeah, I think, well, I definitely wanted to open on something that felt romantic and intimate, and, and kind of quiet. And I00:15:48,540 00:15:48,540liked the idea of having, including the sound of a world and you hear it and it's very warm and cozy. And then when you see it, it's, it's00:15:59,520 00:15:59,550silent and quite confusing. And so I like the idea of a fire crackling. This world in particular was not one that I found it was one00:16:07,830 00:16:07,830that the shiba dogs that A Wider Screen follows, they showed me this world it was thier world that they go on dates in, and I think00:16:15,000 00:16:15,000immediately helps explain where we are, and the context of the people that we're going to meet, before we meet them, because the film does00:16:27,210 00:16:27,210follow young people.00:16:28,170

00:16:29,130Cade Diehm: Yeah. Can you talk, can you reflect a little bit on meeting the shiba dogs and what brought you to, to film them in the context of,00:16:40,110 00:16:40,650of their... what you've just said there, the desire that so their desire to be shibas, and, also I guess, that intimacy that they had in the00:16:49,770 00:16:49,770piece? How did you kind of come across them and what made you realize that they were representative of the kind of way that you see,00:16:59,850 00:17:00,000the world that you see within these spaces?00:17:03,270

00:17:03,780Joe Hunting: Sure. The first time I met the shiba dogs, you actually see it in the film. And, uh, Smooth Octopus, who's in this kind of00:17:14,040 00:17:14,040anime girl avatar is describing a typical day in VR chat and one of the shiba dogs is taking a shower. And that was the first time I met them00:17:22,470 00:17:22,500was that day and, and I remember speaking with Smooth Octopus, the creator of that world, and just glancing over and seeing them so00:17:31,650 00:17:31,680intimately, cozied, cozied up together, and their physical relationship with each other, they weren't saying anything, but their, their00:17:42,420 00:17:42,420physical relationship with just being together was so inspiring to me. The relationship that the, the shiba dogs in A Wider Screen had then,00:17:55,980 00:17:56,070and also the relationship that Cosmic and Dutch, the, the two best friends who you, we meet in real life...00:18:03,360

00:18:04,770Cade Diehm: Yeah00:18:05,160

00:18:05,160Joe Hunting: ...the comfortableness to be with each other, and the the physical nature of of their relationship in terms of gender is00:18:14,580 00:18:14,580something that is at the heart of all my work. I think, embodiment, that word embodiment, I kind of was obsessed with that when I was making A00:18:24,510 00:18:24,510Wider Screen, and I've been kind of interested in that word and just the context around that, in terms of my work for... since... now, are00:18:33,840 00:18:33,840constantly interested in that word.00:18:35,970

00:18:37,290Cade Diehm: And that presence, I think, is is is primary to part of this discussion about identity, and also, I think, yeah, exactly what,00:18:45,780 00:18:46,860what certain kinds of these kinds of experiences in VR platforms offers as an alternative to the kinds of presidents that we see, yeah, in more,00:18:56,760 00:18:57,090I guess, flattened digital spaces. Can you feed them?00:19:04,830

00:19:05,940Joe Hunting: No, I was just thinking, how great would it be if you could feed them? I think obviously, so this world was... I made the film00:19:12,240 00:19:12,240in 2018, so this world is actually quite outdated now. There's a huge amount of things that we can do in VR chat. You probably... you00:19:22,020 00:19:22,020would be able to feed the fish in many modern worlds. But considering this is quite old, we cannot feed the fish here, unfortunately. But00:19:30,540 00:19:30,990they're still very cute. And we can still enjoy watching them. Yeah and this, this was an important important moment in A Wider Screen for00:19:40,590 00:19:40,590me, just to... in terms of being with the characters for a moment, for a moment of just kind of ambience and understanding the space00:19:52,020 00:19:52,020that they're in, in a more physical sense. I thought this fish tank gave a lot of weight to that 'cause it's easy to get lost. I think00:19:59,310 00:20:22,980Welcome, welcome.00:20:24,120

00:20:24,510Cade Diehm: Hi!00:20:24,900

00:20:29,250Joe Hunting: It is very Studio Ghibli isn't it? I really enjoy Studio Ghibli. So, you know, no doubt, I really enjoyed this world. Should we go00:20:39,540 00:20:39,540and explore this puddle filled...00:20:42,180

00:20:42,210Cade Diehm: Yeah, please!00:20:42,990

00:20:43,050Joe Hunting: ...Ghibli world. Okay, let's take a walk.00:20:46,500

00:21:16,470Cade Diehm: This is just here is really gorgeous.00:21:19,800

00:21:20,130Joe Hunting: Yeah, this is the, the end of the walk. It's a short walk. But I think walking amongst those flowers, and seeing yourself in00:21:29,850 00:21:29,850the reflection here, if you can pan the cameras down, tt is a magical experience to look down and see your virtual avatar. It's so much fun,00:21:42,030 00:21:42,090it's so playful. And I think kicking and splashing in puddles, you know, brings back a kind of childhood joy. Or at least for me, maybe00:21:54,540 00:21:54,540that's a very English thing. And that's why I think this world is, is really special and really helps me connect to a part of myself,00:22:03,120 00:22:03,150which you know, is very happy and utopian and enjoyfull. I could go to my wall and do a immersive lean. Let's do an immersive lean.00:22:14,820 00:22:15,180Okay, here we go. Immersive lean. Oh! Just be careful, don't fall too far. Maybe I shouldn't be doing this immersive lean. No, I think00:22:25,110 00:22:25,110actually it works. Does it work on camera... the pose?00:22:29,760

00:22:32,190Cade Diehm: Some might call the space that we're in hyperreal. I would disagree with that personally, because I think that these kinds of00:22:39,150 00:22:39,150spaces are more. They're more... surreal in a sense, because there is an element of exaggeration to them, rather than a hyper real00:22:50,040 00:22:50,040quality to them.00:22:50,820

00:22:51,480Joe Hunting: This space, I would- I don't- I would not describe it as a hyper real environment. I think it's very dreamy. I think00:22:58,740 00:22:58,740it's, um, got like an animated quality to it. And so when you meet your friends in this space, and you have an interaction, it- those00:23:09,780 00:23:09,780connotations, I think come with that, where you have a kind of cinematic quality to your discussion, 'cause you're in this surrealist00:23:16,470 00:23:16,470world. I think that comes with surreal environments. In comparison, if you compared this to a hyper real world, I think more, maybe00:23:25,290 00:23:25,290maybe it'd be worth mentioning that more of your real self might come with you in those environments because they feel more like real00:23:31,230 00:23:31,230life. Um, I think in spaces like this, maybe your virtual performative self comes out more because it is so unreal. The best... one of the00:23:43,470 00:23:43,470best things about VR, you're in a completely unpredictable environment. It's complicated. I don't know how to explain how users entering a00:23:55,980 00:23:55,980space can affect... what I mean, uh, hmmm, uh, it's the feeling, that I, I think that's the best way I can I can put it into words.00:24:10,380

00:24:13,920Cade Diehm: This world is really gorgeous by the way. I'm like completely distracted the whole time. I'm trying to talk to you.00:24:18,810

00:24:19,530Joe Hunting: That's good. It's really nice, isn't it?00:24:21,540

00:24:33,300Cade Diehm: My camera's, I just, sorry, I'm confused, again. Not confused, I'm distracted.00:24:39,120

00:24:40,410Joe Hunting: That's okay. You can let yourself be distracted.00:24:42,300

00:24:43,830Cade Diehm: We can go this way.00:24:44,610

00:24:46,410Joe Hunting: We can't go too far.00:24:47,460 00:24:53,310Oh, look at this. Secret, secret puddle.00:24:58,170

00:24:58,200Cade Diehm: Oh, and it's really00:24:59,010 00:24:59,070Whoa00:24:59,490 00:24:59,490Whoa. Look at this.00:25:01,230

00:25:01,260Joe Hunting: Oh my gosh, I did not know this existed. Ah, yeah. Okay, I'm gonna be filming here.00:25:08,700 00:26:19,530I want to talk a bit about the journey from desktop to VR, because that was a real process for me and in learning more about film and also00:26:29,610 00:26:29,610directing the cast. But I think there's also a lot of interesting changes that happen socially with going from desktop into VR. And so I think,00:26:41,610 00:26:41,640I think we could talk about that, and I thought we could have a game of golf over that conversation.00:26:47,820

00:26:48,870Cade Diehm: Absolutely.00:26:49,170

00:26:49,170Joe Hunting: Minigolf.00:26:49,410

00:26:49,740Cade Diehm: Yeah, let's do it. Minigolf.00:26:51,840 00:26:52,950All right.00:26:53,220 00:26:53,220Hilltop Meadows.00:26:53,850 00:26:53,880Let's do it.00:26:54,450

00:26:55,620Joe Hunting: Yeah, going from from desktop to VR was a huge step. I was investigating what the experience of VR was like, and talking about it00:27:06,330 00:27:06,330with people and really trying to understand the space and my imagination was completely flooded on what that must be like. And so the first time00:27:14,040 00:27:14,040trying it was massive. I- everything that I considered about the space and was interested in was true, and it was happening, and it was as00:27:26,070 00:27:26,070real as I had heard it to be. Oh, too weak. When you're in VR, your social presence is much more defined, and you feel like you're standing in00:27:42,450 00:27:42,450the room with someone who's standing in the world. When you're in desktop, there is a disassociation that is present in the way that00:27:50,280 00:27:50,310you know you're looking at a 2d screen.00:27:52,560

00:27:53,160Cade Diehm: Do you want to take another shot?00:27:54,120

00:27:57,090Joe Hunting: Yeah, I do want to take another shot.00:27:59,040

00:28:02,400Cade Diehm: We have this shared experience within our organization of people using VR from desktop, you become very aware of what you're00:28:11,460 00:28:11,460missing out on when you're not in VR. And it's very much uh, an immediate feeling of understanding of the limitations of the hardware00:28:19,110 00:28:19,110inputs that you have. And so there's this, this kind of interesting journey that I think I see where you started with film in the real world,00:28:27,120 00:28:27,270and then you came out of that into VR. How does that feel?00:28:30,750

00:28:31,560Joe Hunting: It's obviously really tough when you are used to filming.00:28:36,210

00:28:36,900Cade Diehm: I definitely understand how these spaces that are highly creative, have this element that helps with the the art direction,00:28:45,120 00:28:45,120or the settings of films. You've mentioned earlier that like the worlds are characters, and that's definitely true, regardless of whether00:28:52,140 00:28:52,140you're filming in VR or you're on desktop. But your films are based around intimacy and that's the value of what you see in virtual reality,00:29:01,530 00:29:01,680and so, can you reflect a little bit about those dynamics of someone gaining access into early adopted identity and intimacy in these spaces?00:29:14,760 00:29:14,760Did you just sink it? Nice shot. Well done.00:29:17,490

00:29:17,520Joe Hunting: Yeah. No, I nailed it.00:29:18,750

00:29:18,780Cade Diehm: Yeah.00:29:18,930

00:29:18,930Joe Hunting: I'm very pleased. I mean, probably the best shot of our game so far.00:29:22,770

00:29:23,100Cade Diehm: Amazing. To finish my question, how does that work? How does the dynamic of being on desktop- you have this barrier between you and00:29:31,800 00:29:31,800the other players, which is then as you mentioned, kind of broken away by the introduction of, by you getting VR.00:29:38,130

00:29:38,220Joe Hunting: I think it was very tough, because I do think that, umm, I don't wish to discriminate VR desktop users, of course, but I00:29:45,990 00:29:45,990do think that a lot of VR users when they see desktop, there's obviously an understanding that they're getting flat kind of slightly lesser00:29:53,760 00:29:53,760experience. Understanding that, I just was very honest in my introductions to what I was doing, and very honest in my voice, and I was very00:30:05,700 00:30:05,730careful around how my voice was tonally, where it was tonally, and what I was saying and how they'd interpret that.00:30:16,710

00:30:16,950Cade Diehm: So your voice became an interface?00:30:18,750

00:30:19,800Joe Hunting: Yeah, exactly my voice kind of, yeah, my voice was the interface. And it's like that, you know, currently in VR as well. But I00:30:26,820 00:30:26,820also speak so much with my body. And it's easier to be with someone when you can feel them. And I worried people couldn't feel me on desktop. And00:30:36,480 00:30:36,840I don't think they really could feel me, because I was a robot, too. My avatar was a robot, so I was just this very stagnant robot with,00:30:44,580 00:30:44,580hopefully, a very warm voice. Ha, ha, ha. I'm very sorry. We have to pause for one moment, my real life doorbell is going off, and I'm the00:30:54,360 00:30:54,360only one in my household currently. So I'm gonna have to go and let them in. Ha,ha. Sorry. That's really interesting question, though, and it made00:31:05,130 00:31:05,130me realize something. I hadn't realized what I just said until that moment. So, thank you for that. I'll be right back.00:31:13,050

00:31:18,390Cade Diehm: Lightly, are you seeing this?00:31:19,800

00:31:21,120Elys Jones: Absolutely.00:31:21,990

00:31:24,570Cade Diehm: That's terrible.00:31:25,560

00:31:27,840Joe Hunting: Oh dear. I'm back. How contorted and twisted was I? Oh no. So, let's explain my contorted body. I'm in full body tracking, as00:31:41,460 00:31:41,460we've talked about, so when I go take my headset off, my head stays in one place and my body goes in other place another place that should gets00:31:49,350 00:31:49,350some horrible movements. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Sorry about that.00:31:56,610

00:31:58,740Cade Diehm: This is kind of an a really good example of the work that we've been doing at- oo, that was a bad shot- at, um, New Design00:32:06,060 00:32:06,060Congress around this idea of what we would call aesthetic flattening, and this is this concept that manifests in a number of ways. In a public00:32:14,640 00:32:14,640sort of understanding of it, it really looks like what you would call, like, zoom brain, where people get tired from being in a 2D space.00:32:23,910 00:32:24,390So, if you think of a keyboard and mouse interaction, that's like the lowest possible resolution that you can, you can kind of see00:32:30,990 00:32:30,990because it doesn't really represent- oo, that was a good shot- doesn't really represent anything that you see with, with real life00:32:38,640 00:32:38,640interactions. You know, a lot of people talk about video games as being a starting point for getting over this kind of aesthetic flattening,00:32:46,140 00:32:46,140or this this decontextualize of people's lives through digital space. But I don't really see that being the case, until you get to, until you00:32:54,960 00:32:54,960solve the question of hardware. It almost seems that you kind of experienced that, that change firsthand from this aesthetic flattening where00:33:04,680 00:33:04,680you are an observer, and a very much an other, in a space that has solved for these issues of deep, deep, like depersonalization or00:33:14,430 00:33:14,430alienation, and you've actually kind of managed to, to find this creative space, both firstly, as someone who is whose, whose, whose humanity00:33:26,760 00:33:26,760has been flattened or been compressed by the keyboard and mouse.00:33:31,050

00:33:33,030Joe Hunting: I've never00:33:33,900

00:33:33,990Cade Diehm: Was that question confusing or does that make sence?00:33:35,730

00:33:35,730Joe Hunting: No, it makes sense. That makes sense. I think I've never analyzed so deeply into the experience of change. I think it, I00:33:44,610 00:33:44,610think it was as, as drastic that- that was a good shot. That was a good shot. You can finish it off good lineup. I think it is a drastic00:33:56,940 00:33:56,940change. Yeah.00:33:58,350

00:33:58,000Cade Diehm: Check that shot out!00:34:00,220

00:33:58,000Joe Hunting: Yeah. Amazing shot, well done! Almost as good as my point blank putt-putt. laughs. Yeah, I think what you're saying is00:34:09,580 00:34:09,580very true in this situation of going from desktop into VR. When I left desktop and came into VR, I spent a lot of time just trying to00:34:21,970 00:34:22,030find myself in the space all over again. But coming into VR, you're not talking to people from your own body, you look down and you're not00:34:31,900 00:34:31,900in your own body. I was aware of it and desktop, but I'm more socially present and aware of my body when I'm in VR and I think that changed the00:34:41,410 00:34:41,410way that I spoke to people. Th- there's something really beautiful in this world, which we haven't pointed out yet, which is something00:34:53,830 00:34:53,830that you can kind of interact with if you're in VR, and it's the lights, the light coming through the trees. There's these beautiful god00:35:01,510 00:35:01,510rays that come down through the trees, you can just see them up here on my camera. And if you're in VR, you can put your hands through00:35:13,810 00:35:13,810them, and it will move around. And that's just something that, you know, it's a beautiful interaction that this world offers outside of00:35:26,440 00:35:26,440the golf.00:35:27,250

00:35:59,250Cade Diehm: We've kind of hinted at this for a while now you have a new film coming that delves a little bit deeper into virtual reality and VR00:36:07,860 00:36:07,860chat.00:36:08,220

00:36:09,330Joe Hunting: Yeah, the film is called, We Met in Virtual Reality, and it is a very poetically led documentary that has been on my mind since00:36:19,710 00:36:19,710making A Wider Screen. And really, since coming into the space, it's the film I've been really dying to make.00:36:25,080

00:36:25,380Cade Diehm: I get the sense from the trailer, and from your work, that it's a further exploration of the journeys of self that people00:36:35,190 00:36:35,190have when they discover virtual reality, and move into the space and embrace it.00:36:42,480

00:36:42,990Joe Hunting: Yeah, absolutely. So, there are a lot of moments, or a lot of the cast, I should say, are people who are learning about00:36:54,840 00:36:54,840themselves and going through kind of moments of transition. And that can be in regards to their gender, their sexuality, the relationship that00:37:03,540 00:37:03,540they found themself, selves in, or in a less emotional sense, the film follows a lot of dancers, 'cause dance is very popular in VR, and00:37:13,920 00:37:14,490you know, how they've learned to dance and how they found a new form of expression to, to help give themselves and help find themselves with.00:37:24,750 00:37:25,170Not how this technology is in a technological way, but how this technology is affecting the way we interact and learn about ourselves and00:37:38,220 00:37:38,250other people.00:37:38,880

00:37:40,050Cade Diehm: On the one hand, we've talked about the sense of being on desktop disconnects you from these spaces, it's only once you enter with00:37:49,920 00:37:49,920the hardware that you become much more in tune with it, or it becomes much more real in a sense. But then, between the social norms that00:38:01,020 00:38:01,020are reintroduced, the idea of the re-, like, seeing the understanding that there's a person there, and that it's no longer just how you00:38:08,280 00:38:08,280present but also how people perceive you, all of these are true, and yet somehow what's captured in your work is how all of that can be true, and00:38:18,210 00:38:18,210the stakes are lower, to then explore really transformative stuff for people. What are you most hopeful for as we come out of this00:38:33,030 00:38:33,060immediate time that we're in right now?00:38:35,580

00:38:38,160Joe Hunting: I think coming out of the situation we've been in in real life, and a very intense production, in, in film, I think I hope that00:38:52,350 00:38:52,380there is more acceptance in the future. That we just accept each other more. Here, everyone is accepted for who they present and what they00:39:03,480 00:39:03,480present and I'd like to see that in real life.00:39:08,250

00:39:08,280Cade Diehm: What is something that you, some of the things that you fear about these spaces in which you've found yourself creatively and00:39:16,800 00:39:16,830personally, so involved in?00:39:18,480

00:39:18,480Joe Hunting: I think that my only fear is that the communities that currently exist in VR, the ones that are driven by people who are00:39:29,580 00:39:29,580completely passionate and very driven about what they're doing and there's no monetary reward for what they're doing, it is for people, that they00:39:40,140 00:39:40,290will get trod on by people who do want to make money off the system and create an economy. I want just want the communities, like: Prefabs,00:39:51,090 00:39:51,090the world com- the world building community; like Helping Hands, the sign language school in VR; there are so many I could mention; all the00:39:58,320 00:39:58,320dance clubs. I want them to be running the economies that grow here. I think that's my fear.00:40:06,690

00:40:06,930Cade Diehm: Would you say that the fear is that the economies become more like the real world economies?00:40:14,970

00:40:15,330Joe Hunting: Yeah. That is the fear00:40:17,190

00:40:23,760Cade Diehm: I feel like I've been on a really long road trip with you. It's so amazing to talk to you for so long. I really appreciate it.00:40:31,590

00:40:32,160Joe Hunting: Yeah, thank you for, for having me.00:40:34,260

00:40:34,500Cade Diehm: What's your what's your Twitter, or your website?00:40:36,390

00:40:36,720Joe Hunting: Oh, my website is And Twitter is @Joeahunting.00:40:44,280

00:40:45,090Cade Diehm: Thank you. This has been an amazing discussion.00:40:47,940

00:40:48,300Joe Hunting: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.00:40:50,130

00:40:50,130Cade Diehm: Thank you, Lightli!00:40:50,790

00:40:51,270Joe Hunting: Thank you, camera.00:40:52,260

00:40:52,350Cade Diehm: Thank you for being an excellent cam operator!00:40:55,770