PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) isn’t exactly known for using subtle techniques when it comes to getting its message across about animal cruelty. It’s latest endeavour is a new virtual reality (VR) experience called Eye to Eye in which users can talk to animals.
Created by PETA Germany in partnership with creative agency Kolle Rebbe and digital agency Demodern, Eye to Eye is about bringing humans and animals close together. “What if we could have a conversation with an animal? What if the animal would ask us why we lock him or her up, why we eat them or turn them into clothing? For the first time, humans and animals meet on equal terms to have a conversation that will open people’s eyes and hearts”, says the animal rights organization’s co-founder and president Ingrid Newkirk.
Mixing VR and live-action motion capture viewers will meet a rabbit who stands up for animal rights in a snappy but friendly way. While the rabbit maybe CGI what viewers might not realise is that behind this virtual animal advocate is an actor who brings the character to life in real-time rather than using AI. So viewers can actually converse with the rabbit whilst the actor’s voice and facial expressions bring the virtual character to life.
Hendrik Thiele, PETA’s Head of Creation and Major Projects, said: “We’re living in a tech-loving world. Virtual reality gives us the chance to reach out to people who’ve never thought about animal rights before, or only briefly.”
Depending on how the discussion progresses between a person and the rabbit, the animal will guide the visitors to virtual places to talk to them about freedom, the value of life, but also slaughter houses and animal testing.
Check out the video below to see what Eye to Eye is all about. The experience made its public debut during Re: Publica 2018 this month in Berlin, Germany, with more dates due to be announced. For further VR projects from organisations like PETA, keep reading VRFocus.