Experience Reality is a speculative design proposal for media sources to integrate onto their app platforms. Based on the popular "360 view" that has overtaken the advertising industry, this asset would allow media outlets to provide viewers with an option to "experience" the news reported in their own environment, using AR (augmented reality) technology to shift and manipulate the surroundings.
Today, many people suffer from "compassion fatigue," a phenomenon defined as the indifference to charitable appeals on behalf of those who are suffering, experienced as a result of the frequency or number of such appeals. In short, it is the gradual lessening of empathy. This is often accelerated by the ease and speed of news reports today, as we are constantly inundated with tragedies, crises, and other conflicts. People tend to only have the capacity to care for issues that directly affect them, which leads to social division and selective empathy. In an effort to bring global or national issues "closer to home," this design concept attempts to translate more abstract concerns to be more visually apparent and concrete.
Designed for Visiting Designers, under the guidance of Keira Alexandra
RISD Spring 2017
Rather than displaying images of war-torn Syria and famine-struck Africa, what would happen if people were able to “see” these crises in their own surroundings? If it’s difficult to imagine bombings in the Middle-East, then AR could bring these “distanced scenarios” closer to the viewers. An embedded AR supplement to news media would allow readers to take their smartphones, and view their current surroundings as the area of crisis itself. As such, one can “experience reality.”
For example, viewers would be able to take their phones and see what their meals would look like if they were suffering during a famine as well. In seeing the shocking contrast between the two realities, perhaps people would realize that the comfort that lies in distance does not warrant complacency and indifference.