Using VR, the work depicts an absurd moment of disbelief and fear experienced by refugees and immigrants who had to leave their homes due to wars, economic situations, or climate changes. The protagonist, wandering through a beach in Greece, the Texas desert, and a Slovenian forest, hides in a gloomy space, trying to escape from someone. The memories of his lost home in his mind slowly decay. In the forest, an eerily moving figure suddenly appears and threateningly confronts the protagonist. The work examines and offers a visual depiction of the internal processes of a person forced into extreme circumstances where they had to leave their home and fight for their life in an unknown land they arrive in. The viewers enter the minds of refugees and experience their feelings, the memories of homes they had to leave behind, as well as fear and desperation when faced with hostility and uncertainty in a new environment.
In Japan, the issues surrounding refugees and immigrants tend to be seen as events in distant countries, but there are many people in Japan who were forced to relocate to survive. It is just that many of us do not pay attention to these cases. It is easy to imagine this work generates a criticism that argues the relevance of social issues as a theme of artwork and that a documentary film is the best way to portray it. Yet, I find an opportunity for learning in entertainment, which may trigger the interest of those who do not watch documentary films. VR can take us to another world instantly. We encounter a mysterious person in a forest where the person’s face is obscured. This VR work instigates such eeriness and lets us feel the anxiety refugees and immigrants experience, although it may be minute in comparison. I find the dark atmosphere seen in VR games often tedious, yet this work incorporated the dark undertone into the overall concept well. (HASEGAWA Ai)
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