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Lauren Connell-Whitney

Telling Stories in the Dark

Research Creation, Virtual Reality, Storytelling

This project was an exploration of how VR might enable a space of quiet and darkness, that could give way for women to find a voice, or tell a story. It is a two part work that includes both a research paper and a VR space.

Stories assist us in how we travel through the world. Storytelling is a form of generative knowledge sharing that we all understand deep in our bones. This piece explores the virtual reality to share these stories, with conversations about the creation of new spaces in the digital commons.

image of a starry sky with the words "storytelling", "feminism", "reflection", and "the rhizome"

The Paper

This project evolved through much research and iteration, but when the content really started to show itself was in writing stories about my life, using the metaphor of the rhizome as the guiding force behind moving the work forward.

I use stories from my life to make connections between feminism, learning and business to understand how cultivating one’s voice through self inquiry and shared inquiry might lead people of every gender to engage in more complex conversations about power and equality. 

Iterations of the paper! Many, many iterations.
Building VR is such a strange place, because you are constantly flipping between a headset and the flat computer screen.

The VR Space

The VR space, called Aspasias  was created as a place in the dark to experience the storytelling and research in a place of quiet. As a place where one might use a divergent path to explore ideas in the dark. The name Aspasias is after Aspasia of Miletus, born around 470-460 BCE, an educated woman who some say was the true force behind the creation of the Socratic circle. She is also said to have opened a school for girls to learn, unheard of in Greece at the time.

This space was created using AFrame and Glitch as a way to explore the possibilities for future VR creations that are available to makers of all skill levels. 

Video Walkthrough