Thinc Design had an opportunity to collaborate with digital media partners Vision 3 and Conservation International on a singular project: an installation to house Drop In The Ocean, a fully immersive, interactive virtual reality experience. The VR experience creates an underwater world where participants shrink down to about two inches tall—smaller than the size of plankton—and hitch a ride on the back of a jellyfish to discover the depths of the ocean and the challenges it faces.
Thinc designed a walk-through installation shaped like an oversized jellyfish. The jelly's body creates a dome above the VR arena and long tentacle-forms sweep around to create an external armature. Sound, lighting, and imagery combine to produce an ambient, immersive environment that hints at the content of the virtual experience. An off-boarding area provides an opportunity for people to decompress, reflect on their experience and, if they choose, transform their responses into active participation in the movement for ocean health.
Designing a flexible, lightweight physical structure for a virtual experience meant we could be experimental with materiality, and create something that would both enclose and signal the experience. At the Tribeca Virtual Reality Arcade, our installation stood out in scale, lighting and overall design impact. It also created a memorable vision for participants and one that will remind of them of the experience and its message. A pulsating, purple jelly is hard to forget!
Above all, this exhibition can inspire many participants to express a meaningful response to what they have just experienced. This could be an act of pledging to some action or joining up with Conservation International. It could be as simple as a conversation and as profound as a commitment to reduce their use of plastics, for example. With VR experiences like this still in their infancy, Drop in the Ocean will add to a growing body of knowledge about how truly immersive, virtual storytelling can transform the way people understand and respond to the very real world around them.