The BBC has helped to create quite a number of different virtual reality (VR) experiences over the past year, from wartime epic 1943 Berlin Blitz to exploring the ocean’s ecosystems in BBC Earth: Live in VR, its content library stretches far and wide. The latest project to be released by the broadcaster is Make Noise, which uses voice technology to put viewers in the shoes of the suffragettes.
Produced by BBC VR Hub and created by Anagram, Make Noise focuses on the suffragette movement which fought for women’s right to vote. Featuring a series of colourful and abstract worlds, the experience includes audio clips of real-life suffragettes, taken from the BBC Archive, as they explain how they found and used their voices to enact change.
This is carried over into the VR experience directly, with viewers encouraged to use their own voices, whether that’s just talking, humming, singing or shouting, any noise created will then change the virtual world around them.
Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, saw the experience at Havering literary festival earlier this year and said: “Fabulous! You’re really brought into the story. You’re asked not just to look but to use your mind and your voice. I think that focus on the voice and your own engagement with it is incredible.”
“We wanted to find a way to really connect the stories of the suffragettes to our lives – we didn’t want the aesthetics of Victorian England to get in the way of the fact that standing up for something when people are trying to shut you down is something we all can relate to,” said May Abdalla, co-founder and director of Anagram, who directed Make Noise. “By using bold abstracts shapes to make playful worlds that mess with scale, each chapter represents the emotional journey of their path to victory; from frustration though finding solidarity and resistance. In these strange visual universes the punk attitude of these inspirational women really stands out.”
Make Noise is available to download for free from the Oculus Store, compatible with Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR. UK residents will also be able to view Make Noise at a selection of libraries across the country, including Taunton Library, Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre, Skipton Library, Brecon Library, Longton Library, Salisbury Library, Crownhill Library, The Library at the Curve, Slough, Beckton Globe library in Newham and Southport Community Centre.
As the BBC continues to make more immersive content, VRFocus will keep you updated.